You may have heard the line from J.R. Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring that says “Not all those who wander are lost.” I was in a Sportsman’s Warehouse lately, and all the wandering men in there were clearly not lost, but in some form of camo heaven. I’m not sure that’s what Tolkien meant, but wandering isn’t always a directionless and purposeless. In fact, for the children of God, wandering is part of what we are born to do.
That is what author Michelle Van Loon wants us to discover, in Born to Wander: Recovering the Value of Our Pilgrim Identity. Her premise is that we are all traveling toward something and the journey has its purposes and also its pitfalls. Weaving part of her own story with the biblical narrative of Israel’s, Van Loon seeks to remind us that we are on a pilgrimage, through this life with its tests, trials and discontentment’s and every closer to our final destination, with God in eternity.
The style of the book is one heavy on narrative, the story telling is the main vehicle for each point in the journey. I don’t love this style when it leaves a conclusion or application undefined. That was the case with much of this book for me, I kept finishing chapters and having one word come to mind-vague. The format of the book seemed to, for lack of a better word, wander as well. The shift to the author’s personal experiences with and opinions of certain aspects of Christianity and its followers took center stage in some chapters, as is her prerogative as the writer but seemed to deviate from the earlier chapter’s objectives.
If you are expecting clearly defined topics, Biblical exposition and practical application, this book may not be for you. The take-aways from the book come when the author relates the process of discovery about herself and you may find a way to relate to her journey. Some of her insights were gold nuggets, and each chapter ends with reflection questions that bring some real value to the book. I did appreciate the different aspects of Israel’s journey and how it corresponds to their (and our) heart condition in the earliest chapters. But I began to feel lost along the way, and that could be because like camouflage material, this style of material isn’t my favorite style. But it might be yours, and there are worthy truths to be mined in Born to Wander.
Read well, friends.
Thank you to Moody Publishers for providing threeladiesoflit.com with a complimentary copy for review