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Letters from an Extreme Pilgrim: Reflections on Life, Love and the Soul Hardcover – 4 Feb 2010

23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Rider; 1st edition (4 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846041333
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846041334
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 1.8 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 214,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Who's the bravest vicar in Britain? My money's on Peter Owen Jones ... a man living with his soul" (Times)

Book Description

A thought-provoking memoir from one of TV's leading presenters on spirituality

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Simon Small on 23 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a devastatingly honest book.

To encounter raw honesty can be a disturbing yet liberating experience

It is disturbing because it holds a mirror before our own untruths. The illusions we hold so dear about our past and about who we want to believe we are.

It is liberating because it seems to give a strange permission to be equally honest. To lay down the great burden of self-deception that we have been carrying around for so long. And a part of this laying-down is to share the fruits of this new found honesty with others, especially those who have been intimately involved in our story.

"Letters from an Extreme Pilgrim" is an exercise in such honesty. In the course of making a television series for the BBC, Peter Owen Jones (an Anglican priest) spent time living alone in a small cave in the mountains above St Anthony's Monastery in the Sinai Desert in Egypt. The book is a collection of letters he wrote during this period to people who have, or who are shaping his life. The list of recipients includes family members, friends, God, Jesus, Satan, Osama Bin Laden, the Prime Minister and others. If he follows-up these letters in the festive season, it may potentially constitute the most eclectic Christmas card list in history.

The letters carry a deceptive power. At one level it is an easy book to read. The letters are written in a straightforward style and, inevitably, draw-in the reader with their very human content. Yet for days afterwards I found particular passages coming to mind as events or memories in my own life suddenly connected with something I had read. I discovered that elements of my story were being reflected back.

It is the desert and the isolation that produces such honesty and power.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Eleanor Stoneham on 13 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is based on a disarmingly simple idea: to write letters to those who have played an important part in the author's life, whilst exploring and reflecting on the spiritual nature of those relationships and what they have meant to him.
But do not be deceived. On one level certainly the book may be undemanding. But it is also on another level spiritually challenging and in today's fractured world we need to accept that challenge and be receptive to the new era of spirituality and consciousness that we now enter. We need to rediscover our spirit and our soul, and the author will help us do this.
The author is honest, open and courageous as he bares his own uncertainties and vulnerabilities to reflect on love, beauty, the soul, and the nature of God. There is a certain poignancy to some of his letters, for example the story of the lost love of the Girl in the Field. Here he sensitively explores the different types of relationship between man and woman, the different experiences of enchantment, intimacy, desire, and he certainly helped me understand a little more about my own relationships. And by way of contrast he is not afraid to tackle religious fundamentalism head on with his letter to Osama, which must surely make us all examine our own position on love and faith and respect of our fellow beings.

I like The Times description of the author as "the bravest vicar in Britain...a man living with his soul." The book is unusual and refreshing for that. I can recommend this little volume - it will help us all make more sense of this world, help us understand a little more of who we are and I hope will help us reconnect with our own souls for a better world, something dear to my own heart as readers of my own book, Healing This Wounded Earth, will know.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rev. Richard F. Boeke on 19 May 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This letter to Peter Owen Jones is my review.

Dear Peter:
Thanks for giving us a wonderful afternoon at Worth Abbey.
Yesterday was the birthday of my son-in-law, a Coptic Christian, born in Egypt. He now lives in Maryland with our daughter. As birthday present I sent him a copy of your book, LETTERS FROM AN EXTREME PILGRIM.

I wrote him that you had written the book, a letter a day while in a cave outside the monastery of St. Anthony in Eastern Egypt.. He replied that St. Anthony is his patron saint, and that he had visited the cave.

I also gave a copy to his Uncle and Aunt who happen to live in Horsham. His aunt is a retired Psychiatrist. She wrote me,

"About the book of Peter Owen Jones ... I found it interesting and profound. Those letters to God and to the devil, to Obama and to Osama, One gets to know the man s life story though his letters to various people in his life: An orphan whose kind adopted father dies when he is so young, that's two fathers lost. He later seeks God, perhaps he is looking for a father that does not die, may be may be something else. I think I will read some chapters again. God's peace be with you always."

The book is not published in America as yet. I hope it will be soon. It cost me as much as the book to send it to the USA.

I included a little of it in my Father's Day Sermon.
Perhaps you can enjoy the sermon, when you put up your feet and have a glass of cold white wine.

Love and blessings, Richard
Richard Boeke
Horsham, West Sussex, UK
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