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Renewal in the Wilderness

A Spiritual Guide to Connecting with God in the Natural World

John Lionberger

6 x 9, 176 pp, Quality PB
978-1-59473-219-5

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God Is Waiting for You in the Wilderness
How can I say I see divinity in the wilderness? How can I say I feel God’s presence in a chorus of loons, in the throaty chuffing of a family of otter, in the primal call-and-response howling of wolves, in the splendor of a bald eagle, in a gibbous moon’s shimmering wash of orange light on dark moving water, in the healing silence of wild places or in a day when my soul has known the amazing grace of utter peace for six straight hours? How can I say I see God in those things? But how can I say that I don’t?
—from Chapter 1
You don’t need to spend forty years—or even forty days—in the wilderness to encounter God. This practical guide reveals the power of experiencing God’s presence in many variations of the natural world—from a backpacking trip in a truly remote wilderness to an afternoon spent in a nearby park to a single moment savored in your own backyard.
While exploring wilderness wisdom from several faith traditions—Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and more—you will discover how the universal experience of being present in nature can lead to startling discoveries both about God and about yourself. Drawing from his own significant moments in the wilderness and stories from the many people who have accompanied him on wilderness treks, John Lionberger asks probing questions and offers inspiring suggestions that will spur you to look at all aspects of the world around you from a new point of view.
“If you’ve been wondering how to find God, here’s a topo map.”
Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature  and other books
“Reminds us that wilderness offers us rapture, grace and, ultimately, transcendence. May help lead us to places of holy encounter—and to a deeper commitment to preserving those wild spaces.”
Sy Montgomery, author of The Wild Out Your Window
“Reading this book made my fingers tingle and the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. The physical experience of wilderness strips us down to the basic elements of body and soul. And when our spiritual nerve endings are exposed, we find ... God. Start this journey today.”
Rev. Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite, president and professor, Chicago Theological Seminary
“These musings evince a passion for fierce landscapes, drawing on a wide range of religious and spiritual traditions. It makes you want to shoulder a pack and head for the mountains.”
Belden C. Lane, professor of theological studies, Saint Louis University;
author of
Landscapes of the Sacred
“Documents and advocates for the power of the raw, close communication with the divine that is frequently fostered far from the madding crowds. Lionberger has an encompassing reach, giving voice to atheists, agnostics and the simply soul-weary, as well as believers from many of the world’s great faith traditions…. Probing and provocative questions at the end of each chapter clear paths to self-discovery.”
Catholic Library World
“Introduces us to the wilderness experience with a modern twist.... Shows how being in the wilderness gives us the place and time to reflect on our faith and personal relationship with God.”
Publishers Weekly
“Compelling.”
Chicago Tribune
“Draws widely on many faith traditions ... to show how the wild takes us beyond our comfort and expectations into God’s presence and the transcendent.”
Publishers Weekly
John Lionberger, MDiv, a former agnostic whose first real encounter with God was in the wilderness, is founder of Renewal in the Wilderness, an interfaith wilderness ministry  (www.renewalinthewilderness.org). He is also head chaplain at Three Crowns Park, a retirement community in Evanston, Illinois.
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