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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2015
People often imagine that the Church Fathers looked like their icons and smelled of incense, heroic figures wrapped in fine liturgical vestments of silk and lace, engulfed in billows of smoke from their golden censers. Yet, truth be told, even in their writings they resemble more the tattered cloak of Jesus or the dusty sweat-soaked habits of the early Desert Fathers and Mothers. Theirs is an utterly incarnational spirituality. It is heaven-sent, but it moves forward with both feet on the ground of the earth.
In this powerful work, John Michael Talbot tells the story of how these men deeply influenced his spiritual, professional and personal life. Coming to the Christian faith as a young man during the turbulent 1960s, he soon grew a fond of the Church Fathers, including St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine and Gregory the Great and found guidance, reassurance and wisdom on his path to Jesus.
"The First Epistle of Saint Peter," writes Talbot, "tells us that we are a spiritual temple built of living stones. The early Church Fathers represent the first rows built upon the foundation of the Apostles. And that sacred building project continues throughout history to our time today. But it rests on the Fathers. It depends on them."
From the Hardcover edition.
"John Michael Talbot has done us all a great favor by opening up the great gift of the Fathers. In his own unique style he has produced a splen­did window looking out on the wisdom and the world of the Fathers. This work is a true blessing." Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C.
"The so-called Church Fathers are not some theologians as we know them nowadays. They were close to the teaching of the Apostles conveying the teaching of those who were close to Jesus. Their theology and wisdom is close to everyday life. We have to thank John Michael Talbot that he has been able to unearth the treasures of those times. This was only possible because he himself in his community experiences the Gospel lived out in our times." Notker Wolf OSB, Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Order
"John Michael Talbot has provided an excellent, readable and creative book that introduces the Fathers to the ordinary reader. He does so by letting us know what the Fathers taught concerning the mysteries of Jesus who Jesus is, how he saved us, the sacraments he instituted. He also familiarizes us with the life of the early church how she was structured, prayed, lived and worked. Highly recommended for personal reading, Catholic young adult and adult education, and Christian reading groups." Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap. Member of the Vaticans International Theological Commission
"Besides being the story of John Michael Talbot's personal faith journey, this is an easy introduction to the teachings of the Church Fathers, the great preachers and leaders of the early Christian Church. His story shows how the ancient documents are not dead letters but living guides for our own time. Hopefully his very readable account will inspire others to search the treasures of the Christian legacy for inspirtational guidance in their own lives." -Abbot Jerome Kodell, O.S.B., Subiaco Abbey
"I loved this book. John Michael Talbot seamlessly weaves his own journey with that of the fathers of the Church, to help the reader apply time-tested wisdom to the realities of life in the twenty-first century. This is John Michael Talbot's best book yet. And the collaboration with Mike Aquilina is a partnership made in heaven. Their love for the tradition and those who passed it on is evident on every page." Jim Papandrea, co-author of Seven Revolutions
From the Hardcover edition.
Scotty2 Stars Out Of 5Not what I thought it would be ...May 22, 2015ScottyQuality: 2Value: 2Meets Expectations: 1John Michael Talbot writing about the church fathers?
How could I pass up a book like that?
After all, I enjoy reading the works of the early church fathers, and Talbot, a pioneer in contemporary Christian music, might bring some interesting perspective to their writings.
Unfortunately, his latest book, "The Ancient Path" (with Mike Aquilina, published by Image), wasn't what I thought it would be. As it turns out, this book is all about the influence the church fathers had on Talbot's life as he journeyed from his early Christian experience into Catholicism.
Talbot's writing is thick with a Catholic view of the church fathers, which tends to be more elevated than that held by Protestants. There are numerous mentions of the various church fathers, but not a diving into their writings or any plumbing of their teachings. Instead, most of the mention of the church fathers was incorporated in a nearly chronological telling of Talbot's life. While I appreciate that his study of the church fathers had a positive impact on his life, and especially influenced him toward a desire for a more monastic lifestyle, I found the content of the book to actually become fairly boring less than midway through my reading.
If you're a Catholic who is a Talbot fan, you may enjoy this book; if you aren't, I haven't found any other value in it to be able to recommend it.
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
ldesherl4 Stars Out Of 5The Ancient Path by John Michael TalbotApril 21, 2015ldesherlQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4This book is co-written by John Michael Talbot and Mike Aquilina. John Michael Talbot is the best-selling author of THE LESSONS OF ST. FRANCIS, a spiritual classic. Talbot is one of the contemporary Christian music artists who founded this form of music. He has sold millions of copies of his records and has won Dove and Grammy Awards. He often tours. He has founded the Brothers and Sisters of Charity, a monastic community. His co-author, Mike Aquilina, appears often on EWTN and has written books such as ANGELS OF GOD and THE FATHERS OF THE CHURCH. THE ANCIENT PATH begins with a foreword about the purpose of this book, which is written through Image, a Roman Catholic publishing company, written by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington. The authors begin this book with a preface. Most of the chapters discuss the Roman Catholic Church Fathers and include stories of how they have, from Talbot's childhood to present, affected his Catholic faith journey. He also includes principles from Catholic teachings. The final chapter focuses on the Virgin Mary and is short, like the foreword and preface are. The authors end with a timeline of events deemed significant in Roman Catholic history. This book ends with notes from each chapter that involve outside research.
I thought that this book's author would discuss Church Fathers such as Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, Dwight Moody, and others. Yes, Augustine is mentioned. The authors discuss the Catholic Church Fathers, most who I am not familiar with as I'm not from a Catholic background. I had once been a fan of early contemporary Christian music and I often heard John Michael Talbot's songs on the air. He had been called a "troubadour for Christ." I have not heard his songs in for many years but I remember that these songs were thoughtful and reverent. I was surprised that he had once been in the "Jesus Movement" and had left it to join the Roman Catholic Church. This book is easy to read and understand, even if you are not a Roman Catholic, which I'm not. But Roman Catholics seem to be his target readership. From a literary standpoint, the primary author, Talbot, does a great job of merging the effect of the Catholic Church Fathers on Talbot with stories of his own faith story, both as a member of the Jesus Movement and then as a Roman Catholic. But not being Catholic, I have a very different understanding of what the Eucharist means from what it means to Talbot, the primary author. It is clear that he does read Scripture and quotes from it in this book. Also, he affirms Jesus' Deity and humanity. So he seems to remain influenced by sound teaching handed down to him in the Jesus Movement that concern Who Jesus is. Talbot spoke of his devotion to the "ascetic life" and to a life of charity. In my opinion, the author is an example of how individual Roman Catholics can stay in a legalistic religion and trust in Christ alone for their salvation. As a non-Catholic, I read all the Catholic principles and teachings with respect and understanding, even without a mental "Amen!" to them.
I recommend this book to those who are fans of John Michael Talbot, his writings or his music. I recommend this book to anyone who is curious about what Roman Catholics believe and what motivates them. I recommend this book to those who are interested in the Roman Catholic Church Fathers. But I'm aware that many people may find this book, being a Roman Catholic book, as triggering. This book is obviously not for those who have been abused by priests or nuns as children. I recommend this book to any Christian, as long as they check its Roman Catholic teachings and principles with that of Scripture.
I received this book free of charge from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review of this book.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: female3 Stars Out Of 5How Fathers shaped Talbot's Catholic life and beliefMarch 22, 2015bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 2This book is not what I expected. Cardinal Wuerl, in his introduction to the book, says, It is directed primarily at adults today who would enjoy a popular narrative of the life and teachings of the early Fathers of the Church. I expected, as he also wrote, that a church father would be highlighted and then Talbot would help us understand why his message is for today.
So I expected vignettes of early Church Fathers and their message. What the book is actually about is how Talbot came to be Catholic and how his reading of the early church Fathers verified what the Catholic Church teaches and practices. One could say the book is about how the writers of the first millennium shaped Talbot's life and work.
Even though I am Protestant, I am still glad I read the book. I have read some about the Catholic faith and this book added to my understanding.
Talbot writes about how he founded their community at Little Portion and how it is patterned after the experiences of early Christians. He gives a little of his personal history and then explains the importance of the term Father. He highlights the use of tradition in the Catholic Church. He also writes about the monastic and cenobitic lifestyles, the Jesus Prayer, charity, and Mary. He also takes readers through the liturgy and shows the basis of practices from the Fathers. He has a good section on transubstantiation.
He promotes the Catholic view that the authority of the Bible is rooted in the earthly authority [that] preceded, produced, confirmed, conserved and canonized the books of the Bible. He also advocates that, The ordinary means of salvation are the Church itself and the sacraments that Jesus has entrusted to the Church.
Even though I am not Catholic, I appreciated the book. It really helped me understand why the Catholics do what they do. I also learned a bit more about Talbot, who is now traveling and speaking. Their community had a major fire in 2008 and he is working to fund rebuilding that the insurance did not cover.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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