“Sacred Pathways”—Book review

What’s your path?
Sacred Pathways by Gary ThomasGary Thomas lays out 9 sacred pathways commonly found among Christians in his book Sacred Pathways.

By examining each path, or spiritual temperament, you not only identify your own style with its strengths and temptations, but are also encouraged to experiment with other styles to enhance your spiritual growth.

  1. Naturalists: Loving God out of doors
  2. Sensates: Loving God with the senses
  3. Traditionalists: Loving God through ritual and symbol
  4. Ascetics: Loving God in solitude and simplicity
  5. Activists: Loving God through confrontation
  6. Caregivers: Loving God by loving others
  7. Enthusiasts: Loving God with mystery and celebration
  8. Contemplatives: Loving God through adoration
  9. Intellectuals: Loving God with the mind

What I liked
I was naturally drawn to the chapters that I already identified with—contemplatives, sensates, ascetics—because they were affirming.

But I probably benefited more by reading about the temperaments that I’m not inclined to—like, activists. To be more well-rounded in my love for God with heart, soul, strength, and mind, I need to actively nurture a variety of routes.

A great study guide to accompany the book is available on-line as a free download. It provides more suggestions on how to actively practice each temperament, and could be used for a group study.

What I didn’t like
I didn’t learn many new things. Richard Foster’s books and Renovare material provide somewhat similar themes in outlining six spiritual traditions and practical applications for spiritual formation.

Should you read it?
Read it if you need some fresh ideas in your spiritual walk. Gary Thomas is easy to follow, and he shares enough from his personal life to make his texts realistic, but not so much as to become self-indulgent. I like his more recent books Sacred Marriage and Sacred Influence much better than this one, but all are excellent and are founded on biblical principles.     

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