The Soul’s Journey

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                                THE SOULS JOURNEY

Author ALAN JONES

Publisher COWLEY PUBLICATIONS

ISBN 1-56101-192-4

I think I came across this book in the theological section of a second hand book store.  Its title was what attracted  me to reach for it and have an initial look.  It was written by the dean of the Episcopal Cathedral in San Franciso, a man who has written several books on similar themes.  It was first published in 1995 and then again in 2001.  Cowley Publications is the publishing arm of The Society of St.John the Evangelist, and specifically committed to making available books of theological and devotional reflection.  In this one the author explores the three universal spiritual passages of human life and takes for his basis the famous medieval writing of Dante known as The Divine Comedy.  Those who have some knowledge of this amazing poem will know that it is divided up into three parts, the Inferno (hell), purgatory, and paradise.  Dante, whilst alive is taken on a journey and so much of the Comedia is filled with references that the readers of his time would have understood but need interpretation for us twenty-first century readers.  What a book it is, regarded by some as one of the greatest ever written.  Alan Jones, although he does refer to Dante quite a bit, runs very loose to it.  There is no way that this could be described as a commentary on Dante.  There is a thorough going mixture of psychology, philosophy, spiritual direction and theology in the way the author walks us through and all the while the main framework is the idea of a journey through from lostness (hell) to homecoming(paradise) and that through repentance(purgatory).  There are multiplied insights found all through for those who will patiently walk through with Alan Jones.  The framework is Hell, Finding oneself in Hell, the loss of the sense of self.  Losing touch with others and the broken community.  Losing touch with God: love rejected and Betrayed.  In part two, Purgatory, the titles of each section are Conversion, Recovering the path to ones true self, Recovering the path of Mutuality, and Recovering the Vision of God.  Finally, the third part on heaven has sections on the freedom to come home to oneself, coming home to others in a shared story and coming home to God, the end that has no ending.  From these sections you can trace the general thrust of the author and there is a measure of help to be found and a widening of the understanding of Gods ways with our lives.  This is not a book for those looking for plain evangelical exposition of Bible truth.  Both Dante and Alan Jones will take a lot of digesting.  

Last modified: April 28, 2016

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