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Taking my God for a Walk

Tony Collins, Taking My God for a Walk (Monarch 2016, £8.99)

Although we all do it. walking’s not everyone’s bag – especially on Tony Collins’ scale. With some time off work, he decided to walk from the south-west of France across to the north-west of Spain. This is an old pilgrimage route called The Camino, which ends at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, traditional burial place of St James (brother of John), and a distance of around 500 miles.

Tony’s well-known as a Christian publisher; and so he ought to know how to write an interesting book. And it is an easy read, taking us along the route stage by stage, relating the different people whom he met or with whom he walked. He’s honest about the personal spiritual and emotional baggage with which he starts out. Part of his hope seems to have been that he’d be able to face them and find some peace along the way. At one level, this book is a very readable travelogue. At a deeper level, it’s a sort of spiritual journal.

Like all pilgrimages, I suppose, the most satisfying part of the book came at the end. A lifelong and committed evangelical, Tony visits the underground tomb of St James, where he experiences the unmistakable presence of the Holy Spirit and feels as though he has “been mugged by the Almighty”. It’s something which his beliefs cannot explain but a reality which he can’t deny. It leaves him as a pilgrim for life.

I won’t describe his exact experience. He does that very vividly. But I do recommend the book as a humane and honest story of one Christian’s journey towards God.

Michael Wenham

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Sep 14, 2023

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