Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Neighbors and Wise Men

"Stand at the crossroads and look,
and ask for ancient paths where the good way lies;
and walk in it, and find rest for your souls."
Jeremiah 6:16

     In G.K. Chesterton's classic The Everlasting Man, Chesterton writes-

"There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there. The other is to walk round the whole world till we come back to the same place..."

Early Christians were known as followers of the Way. Anyone who has ever followed Christ must agree with Bilbo Baggins when he said to Frodo, "It's dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door." Paradoxically, it is a business for the faint of heart. There will come moments in the journey when you long for home, when comfort seems far way. Along the path you will encounter paens and threnodies, songs of praise and cries of lament, and you will participate... with your voice or with your silence. And sometimes you will wonder why.

     Tony Kriz introduces his latest book, Neighbors and Wise Men with these words,


Tony Kriz walked 'round the whole world' to come home. If you've read Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz you know Tony as "Tony the Beat Poet." In Tony's words, "I am not a beat-poet. I am not even a normal poet." 

     Neighbors and Wise Men is the story of Tony Kriz's journey, from home to Albania to Reed College to home again. And, along the way, he wondered why. This is a book that will challenge the Religious Camp's ideology, and that is a good thing. Here is an excerpt:

"In time, over a thousand conversations about faith with Muslim people, I learned an unexpected idea. When I stated a fact about faith, it led to a spiritual debate. The argument was often enjoyable, but there was an undeniable sense that the relational separation was growing. However, when I shared a story about how I came to believe what I believe, the relational distance closed like the bellows of an accordion. My unexpected discovery was this: facts are the language of the head; story is the language of the heart. The language of the head encourages debate. The language of the heart encourages friendship."

     As I read Tony's book I realised that my journey is similar to his. I realised that God has consistently surprised me- in pubs and other unexpected places. Tony Kriz reminds us that God delights in revealing Himself to us, especially in unexpected places. 

     I disagree, however, with Tony on one point. He is a poet.

     Thank you, Tony, for Neighbors and Wise Men.


No comments:

Post a Comment