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Sacred Encounters from Rome to Jerusalem [Paperback]

By Tamara Park (Author)
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Item Number 212892  
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Item description for Sacred Encounters from Rome to Jerusalem by Tamara Park...

Tamara Park and a couple of friends flew to Rome and from there followed the footsteps of Helena, mother of the first Christian emperor of ancient Rome, on a meandering path to Jerusalem. Along the way, she sat on all sorts of benches and talked with all sorts of people about how they thought of God. This book is that story.

Publishers Description
Tamara Park wanted to test her beliefs about God outside the cloistered corner of her American upbringing. So she and a couple of friends flew to Rome and from there followed the footsteps of Helena, mother of the first Christian emperor of ancient Rome, on a meandering path to Jerusalem. Along the way, she sat on all sorts of benches and talked with all sorts of people about how they thought of God. As she conversed with nuns, spies and backpackers throughout the Balkans and Middle East, she discovered understandings of the sacred in the most unexpected of encounters. In her book you'll meet Muslims, Jews, Christians and agnostics in lands that have witnessed near-endless war, tumultuous political crises, economic stagnation and religious strife. You'll see God through the eyes of people whose lived experience is profoundly different yet surprisingly common. You'll see the world through the eyes of three pilgrims and get to know God--and yourself--a little better.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Sacred Encounters from Rome to Jerusalem by Tamara Park has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Christian Century - 01/27/2009 page 43
  • CBA Retailers - 01/01/2009 page 38

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Intervarsity Press
Pages   334
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.24" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.94"
Weight:   1.03 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2009
Publisher   IVP Books
ISBN  0830836233  
ISBN13  9780830836239  

Availability  0 units.

More About Tamara Park

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Holidays > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Inspiration > Motivation > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Sacred Encounters from Rome to Jerusalem?

Enjoyable, Enriching  Aug 5, 2009
It's an intriguing concept: pack your bags and take a journey from Rome to Jerusalem, dialoguing with people of all walks of life and jotting down their descriptions of God. In less confident hands, it could have been bobbled, turned into a mushy mess or a preachy tome. Instead, Tamara Park lends it an air of humility and honesty as she seeks to deal with her own frustrations and questions--despite her extensive education in theology.

Park loosely follows in the steps of Saint Helena, Constantine's mother, tracking the influence and history of religion between two renowned holy cities. She not only gives readers interesting details about the various countries she visits, she introduces us to Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, and atheists. I've traveled in many of the same countries, and learned new things myself while reading. She peels back the facades of politics and strife, hoping to find something deeper, more peaceful, more like the teachings of Jesus himself. In so doing, we get glimpses at various societies and religions. We have our own stereotypes challenged, as we meet others on their own pilgrimages through life.

In many ways, Park lends this a deeply personal aspect, through her own struggles with being single, with embarrassing intestinal issues, and with knowing God. In other ways, I felt distant from her relationships with her travel companions and the grittier side of all that goes on in a forty-day journey with others. Overall, though, "Sacred Encounters" is an enjoyable and enriching journey, one I'd recommend to all who hunger spiritually.
Now I know a lot about Turkey  Apr 18, 2009
Tamara Park's book is more than just a journal of her amazing trek from Italy to Israel - it's a look inside the author's heart as she wrestles with her own understanding of who God is, what prayer is, where to find moments of the sacred, how to accept hospitality, generosity, struggles and constipation. Yes, you heard me... constipation. This book is viscerally real - and surprisingly educational. With each visit you not only get Tamara's blow by blow, but she also drops educational factoids on you about the local governments, recent skirmishes, what various people groups think about Americans, and what mayonnaise does to your intestines. I hope the many pictures and sketches that were taken get compiled into a companion book one day. Great read! Great stories!
Travel with delightful humor, heart & rich history!!  Mar 24, 2009
Tamara Park takes us on an absorbing pilgrimage without having to leave our favorite reading chair. The chapters are conveniently titled with the names of the city/country throughout her 40 day trek with two friends. Most of us will not have an opportunity to make this daunting journey and even if we do, we're not likely to engage with the locals to hear their thoughts on God, religion, politics or first-hand account of war. Park takes us into various glimpses of their world (often not seen as a tourist) starting with the stirring question of "Who is God?" and undoubtedly raises our own personal questions and descriptions of God.

The book is chock-full of quirky observations, humor and enriching history. It's rare to find a travel narrative that is funny (the amoeba adventure cracked me up!), heart-tugging and generously sprinkled with refreshing historical context. It's written in a well-paced style that's easy and enjoyable to read.

Park has embolden me to not only explore more in depth the history of the city, country or "must-see" thing on my next overseas trip but also genuinely engage with the local people. Hopefully, I can glean something more than just photos of me in front of a nice fountain...

I recommend this book for anyone interested in travel and would serve as a good primer for an individual, small group or reading club to initiate discussion on "Who/What is God to you?"
A Real Spiritual Journey  Mar 3, 2009
Sacred Encounters is a travel narrative, but like any good travel narrative the physical journey is mirrored by an equally fascinating spiritual journey. The book recounts Tamara's adventures as she follows the traditional pilgrims path from Rome to Jerusalem. This sort of pilgrimage generally is used as a means to encounter the divine along the way. But beyond expecting to catch glimpses of God in traditional holy sites, Tamara structured her journey to encounter the sacred in others. So along the journey one reads of her seeking out strangers on benches and asking them to describe God. The result is a spiritual exploration that reflects the diversity of ways to encounter God. As she travels amidst Jews, Muslims, Christians, and agnostics she attempts to understand her own faith and define what she is looking for on the journey. What she discovers are not exactly answers, but a global faith community that speaks the same language despite differences.

What I enjoyed most about the book was how raw and real it was. It wasn't some highly structured narrative that merely instructs the reader on religious dogmas and historical events. It was the honest spiritual quest of a woman who wasn't afraid to face her fears or acknowledge the reality of a situation. She doesn't overspiritualize anything and we get the gritty details of her journey alongside the spiritual insights. I like reading when she's just too tired to visit one more church, or too sick to care. I liked how she wasn't afraid to acknowledge her prejudices and admit when she didn't understand something. It made the book real and more accessible.

So if you'd like to discover more about pilgrimage holy sites or simply want to understand what an open-minded spiritual quest looks like, I recommend checking out Sacred Encounters.

Funny, inspiring, informative!  Feb 10, 2009
Reading "Sacred Encounters" is truly a sacred experience. You'll laugh; you'll cry; you will learn as well as yearn for the places Park describes so vividly. I especially like how Park ties in a historical perspective to the places she visits. As an open and inquisitive traveller, Park enables readers to delve deeper into places and culture as she steps up to strangers and asks them the deepest possible questions. Her boldness makes my heart stronger and makes me want to go deeper in my own conversations with people I know. She gives us a glimpse into the hopes and struggles of people who have been scarred by violence and all sorts of conflict while preserving a sense of hope and future. This book would be a wonderful encounter for a book group or for your daily devotional reading. It would also make a great gift. Highly Recommended!

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