Pilgrims' Progress

Ted Olsen's April cover story, "He Talked to Us on the Road," reminded me of a pilgrimage of sorts from a few years ago. In planning a New England vacation, I included a trip to Williams College in western Massachusetts in search of the Haystack Prayer Meeting monument. While visiting this now-obscure memorial overshadowed by ancient pines, I felt somehow connected to the four young men who were inflamed with a passion for foreign missions, particularly to Southeast Asia and India, and launched a worldwide movement thereafter.

My brief time at that quiet monument wasn't necessarily a holy moment, but it connected me to a powerful work of God in history, a work that spanned the globe and touched my life. It was a pilgrimage I'll never forget.

Kevin Wheeler
Bossier City, Louisiana

I was delighted to see Ted Olsen's story on Christian pilgrimage. As a professor at John Brown University, I take students and staff on such adventures quite often, always with the purpose of using the trips as tools for spiritual formation.

I was surprised, though, that Olsen did not mention some of the most fascinating pilgrims of Christian history, the Celtic peregrini of the early Irish monastic era.Their determination to "seek the place of their resurrection" is a worthy model: that as we leave behind what's familiar, something new and living can perhaps emerge.

Tracy Balzer
Siloam Springs, Arkansas

As a retired minister living on a subsistence income, I have never been to the Holy Land, Taizé, Mount Sinai, Geneva, Rome, or Luther's Germany; even a "pilgrimage" to my alma mater, Wheaton College, is out of sight. Yet I agree with your insight that all Christians need pilgrimages in order to experience ecstasy (ekstasis, literally, ...

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