Your faith is not just a matter of heaven and hell–it is a matter of joy.
There are people who describe eternal life as a ticket to heaven–like a bond you cash in when you die. They preach that we are all just here waiting for the perfect end. And we wait–gathering dust and baggage–isolating ourselves.
If we’re honest about our lives, it seems we all reside in some type of confinement–some form of prison cell. We are interred by our desire to possess, to protect what is ours: our image, our religion, and our reputations. And, of course, there are the even darker cells: loss, pain, addiction, jealousy, and prejudice. Joy seems in short supply.
There must be another way of living: a holy invitation to take the first step from your cell.
What if we were meant to be nomads? What if there is an ever-present holy invitation to emerge? What if we were made to journey with a God who is always on the move?
From Abraham to Jesus, the essence of faith is discovered in the idea that we are traveling forward together, changing, emerging from our cells, progressing as a people on the road toward the kingdom of God. Life to the fullest is the sacrifice, the work, the journey with the Holy Nomad.
This book is an invitation to discover the rugged road to joy.
When I received this book, I was excited. The title of the book along with the wording on the back cover that your faith is not a matter of heaven or hell- its a matter of joy! had me pretty excited to dig into this book. However, as I began to read through the book, I began to disengage- not because Matt was saying anything wrong or even that it was poorly written, because it wasn't. My issue was that Litton wasn't saying anything all that profound. Nothing very unique or new. This book has all the wrappings of a progressivey book of the struggle of the Christian life and turns out to be a book about the basic struggles of being a disciple of Jesus. Discipleship. Not my favorite topic, admittedly, mainly because most books all say the same basic things that really don't transform anyone into a disciple. But this isn't a place for a rant. Even though I began to disengage with the book, I was drawn back in by Littons very real-to-life story telling about his struggles on the nomadic journey towards finding joy in Jesus.
The book is divided into seven movements which are series of short chapters/reflections on different aspects of discipleship like trust, doubt, community, serving, enviornmentalism, peace, sin, forgiveness, joy, and hope. Each movement contains stories and very practical instructions and applications that I think will be very beneficial to the new believer reading this book. As I completed my reading of this book I felt as if I had been refreshed in my faith but not necessarily taught anything profound. The Holy Nomad, I think, is a great book for new believers in progressive, evangelical churches. Ltton has covers a lot of areas of discipleship that most conservative book leave out such as peace, environment, and justice, while still maintaining a robust commitment to following Jesus Christ practically as the spring from which we can draw our joy.
My only real criticism for this book is that it does miss some of the important practical/spiritual aspects of the Christian life which is often the progressive mistake and focuses more on the outward faith than the inward journey of following Christ in our private lives. Littons writing style is easy to follow and his stories and applications are just practical enough to be relevant to the aspects of discipleship he hits on in the book. I also appreciate the various quotes he uses throughout the book- everyone from Mumford and Sons to Ghandi to Ruth Graham- that really help broadly mesh together the movements and provide a broader perspective on the topics Litton is addressing.
The Holy Nomad: The Rugged Road to Joy by Matt Litton is a great tool for discipleship of new believers and is a great refresher and primer for those who may have been walking the nomadic road of discipleship for many years.
So with that said...
I give Holy Nomad by Matt Litton a 3.5 out of 5 Stars.
The Holy Nomad is published by Abingdon Press and is available in a bookstore near you.
Review for the Patheos Book Club Roundtable Discussion
For more information about the Patheos Book Club, click here.