Travel is such a key part of our lives now, whether for work, mission or pleasure, so I was eager to see how Peter Grier explored what, if any, theology we should have behind it. He offers a wide set of valuable insights, drawn from his own experiences and the Biblical narratives. After all, travel is nothing new for God’s people!
Peter Grier clearly thinks a lot about his love of travelling, and how it fits into his love of God. The book is in many ways a love-letter to God’s creation and the people He made to dwell in it, and it asks many important and thought-provoking questions.In particular, I was struck by Peter’s openheartedness towards strangers, a characteristic developed by meeting so many. This is a close reflection of Jesus’ own attitude, and one we should all seek to emulate.
For all that, I have to confess that the book left me frustrated. After almost every chapter, I wanted more – more detail, more Bible, and more theology. This isn’t entirely a bad thing, as Peter’s writing is very readable. But the book itself reads like a series of bitesize snippets rather than a coherent narrative. So many topics are covered briefly in each chapter that I sometimes found it hard to keep up. Every point he made was worth unpacking in more depth, but the structure instead was designed to bounce on to the next observation.
If you have never thought about travel having ‘a theology’, then this book may suit you very well as an introduction. For me, however, it wasn’t enough. It may well be authorial choice, and it might be simply individual taste. Personally, I would have preferred this to be the first of several books, each of which took some of the ideas out of this book and slowly unpacked them in more detail. An idea for the future, perhaps?
One more caveat (sorry!). Given the ubiquity of environmental awareness nowadays, I felt sure that this book would have to tackle the topic. Whether by unfortunate timing or deliberate choice, it doesn’t (except for a couple of paragraphs towards the end). This may date what is an otherwise interesting book.
This book is available to purchase from the Evangelical Bookshop.
Miriam Montgomery, Free Church Books