Monday, February 16, 2015

The Ancient Path

The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today

I requested this book for review based on the title- The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today.

For some reason, the name John Michael Talbot seemed slightly familiar. A quick Youtube search resolved my questions.
This song-writer and recording artist wrote he lyrics to "Be Not Afraid" which I knew from my grandmother's funeral this past May.
Knowing that connection, I wanted this book even more.

Over 202 pages, John Michael and his co-author Mike Aquilina lead us along a pathway that they themselves strive to walk faithfully.
It's an ancient path indeed, one carved for us in the first few centuries after Christ's resurrection, when the church was just being established.
It's the path of the Church Fathers. If you're not Catholic, you'll know these fellows still.
Origen, Irenaeus, Polycarp, Tertullian, and Athanasius.

If you're like me, you'll know them by their quotes, not their whole bodies of work.
As a young musician seeking God in the 60's and 70's, John Michael Talbot dug deep into the original texts these men left behind.
The purity of the Gospel they proclaimed, their single-minded devotion to Christ, they all impressed him so deeply that his entire adult life has been guided by their insights. And now he's sharing them with the world.

With his personal story as the framework and background, we look into several core truths that the Church Fathers owned and elucidated for us.

Prefer Nothing to Christ~
St. Cyprian explains why: "Because He preferred nothing to us, and on our account preferred hard things to ease, poverty to riches, servitude to rule, and death to immortality."
This is the heart of all the Church Father's work and their teaching.
"The work of all these men was nothing more than a amen to Jesus..."- The Ancient Path

The Jesus Prayer~ There is an old saying- to sing is to pray twice. I love that, don't you?
This chapter is devoted to a single prayer, one that is "hard as a diamond and rises lightly as breath."
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Charity~ Here the authors discuss the difference between philanthropy and charity, and describe how the latter marked early Christians like a brand on their bodies. In the early Church, charity was seen as extending the very friendship of Christ.
"Let the widow and orphan be as revered as the altar..."

They also talk about Living Tradition, Fatherhood, Liturgy, and Community.

At the end of this book, the authors say this of the Church Fathers: "They shook up the old world and made it into a New City. May they shake up our world. And may they shake up you and yours..."

If reading The Ancient Path reminds you what a heritage we have as Christians, and inspires you to enflesh the same truth and take it to the world, then the authors have done their job.

Thank you to Image publishing for my review copy through Blogging for Books.

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