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Carrying only basic camping equipment and a collection of the worlds great spiritual writings, Belden C. Lane embarks on solitary spiritual treks through the Ozarks and across the American Southwest. For companions, he has only such teachers as Rumi, John of the Cross, Hildegard of Bingen, Dag Hammarskjöld, and Thomas Merton, and as he walks, he engages their writings with the natural wonders he encounters--Bell Mountain Wilderness with Søren Kierkegaard, Moonshine Hollow with Thich Nhat Hanh--demonstrating how being alone in the wild opens a rare view onto ones interior landscape, and how the saints writings reveal the divine in nature. The discipline of backpacking, Lane shows, is a metaphor for a spiritual journey. Just as the wilderness offered revelations to the early Desert Christians, backpacking hones crucial spiritual skills paying attention, traveling light, practicing silence, and exercising wonder.

About the Author

Belden C. Lane

Belden C. Lane is a Presbyterian theologian who teaches on a Jesuit faculty at Saint Louis University. His interests include the relationship between geography and faith, wilderness backpacking in the Ozarks, the magic of storytelling, desert spirituality, exposing students to urban poverty through the Catholic Worker community, and the poetry of Rumi. He also works with men, helping to lead initiation rites through Richard Rohr's program for Men as Learners and Elders in Albuquerque. Some time ago he found himself delightfully introduced as a Presbyterian minister teaching at a Roman Catholic university telling Jewish stories at the Vedanta Society.

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