I'm constantly struck by how each book about the Camino brings a unique lens to bear. How many variations can there be when describing a demanding trek of many days? It's a classic play, the walker as the hero, with a flaw of physical frailty and self-doubt, with the adversary being the distance and the climate. With the help of the ally - the support of strangers, and for some, faith - the walker triumphs; or there is failure and the play is a tragedy.
Arthur Boers gives us another one of these unique views. His is the insight of a Mennonite pastor and teacher, walking the walk, and analyzing the experience in terms of his faith and his occupation. Of Dutch background, he speaks Dutch, French, English and Spanish, along with a little German.
The thread of the book is of course, the journey. The reader will be mentally tracking him across Spain, sharing the experiences, but what I found the most instructive was listening to this man of God share his daily thoughts.
As the author encounters the situations of daily walking, he finds correlations and metaphors in scripture. Just some of his daily thoughts: Feet get a lot of attention in scripture, and are an important part of the biblical experience. Walking can be a spiritual process. In current times, walking is an act of protest. What if everyone walked to church? Churchgoers attend for a variety of reasons, not always spiritual, so why be surprised to find walkers on pilgrimage for a variety of reasons?
The book has several appendices on practical matters, but one I mentally filed away for the future. That appendix listed a number of obscure pilgrimage routes. We all are familiar with the big three of Santiago, Rome and Jerusalem, but have you heard of Asperen, South Holland, Netherlands, or Croagh Patrick, County Mayo, Ireland, or Holy Island, Lindisfarne, England? To name a few.
I recommend this book particularly for those making a faith-based journey. The only other Camino book I can think of that is clearly faith based is Walk in a Relaxed Manner: Life Lessons from the Camino.