The Dusty Ones
Why Wandering Deepens Your Faith
For the follower of Jesus, the question is not whether you will wander but when.
So why not learn to wander well?
Through every turn of the biblical story, God's people are a wandering people. Examining the theme of wandering in the Bible and in his own life, A. J. Swoboda shows that some of God's most important truths are revealed to those whose feet are dusty from the road. Cultivating the art of wandering, Swoboda suggests, is not only a good idea for Christian faith and practice; it is a holy discipline that can revolutionize a person's experience of God.
If you're restless, doubtful, or questioning, you will emerge from this journey with the assurance that not all who wander are lost. There's hope and peace for all those who travel the winding path seeking to experience God in all his glory.
"A unique, well-rooted, and spiritually nourishing work. If you've experienced your own desert seasons or periods of wandering, this book is Swoboda's gift to you."--Seth Haines, author of Coming Clean: A Story of Faith
"Reading The Dusty Ones is like talking to a friend who's wandering alongside us on this road of truth, which is 'always bumpy, but always worthwhile.'"--Cornelia Becker Seigneur, author of WriterMom Tales; founding director of Faith & Culture Writers Conference
"A. J.'s words are like water in our own wilderness, reminding us that God is forging a deep work in our desert spaces. May we all have the courage to live as one of the dusty ones."--Jo Saxton, chair of the board of 3D Movements; speaker and author
A. J. Swoboda (PhD, University of Birmingham) pastors Theophilus Church in Portland, Oregon, and teaches biblical studies, theology, and church history at George Fox Evangelical Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary, among others. He is the author of A Glorious Dark and coauthor of Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology.
"A. J. Swoboda is the kind of pastor, writer, and theologian today's church desperately needs. Capable and engaging, he has a bent toward vulnerability that is simply honest and beautifully human. And it's this human touch that makes The Dusty Ones a unique, well-rooted, and spiritually nourishing work. If you've experienced your own desert seasons or periods of wandering, this book is Swoboda's gift to you."
Seth Haines, author of Coming Clean: A Story of Faith
"A. J. Swoboda is one of the most authentic, profound, and kind people I know. In The Dusty Ones, this pastor-theologian-friend tackles the topic of wandering, reminding us, for example, of the mistakes Israel made while journeying to the promised land. Yet, the wandering in The Dusty Ones is about more than physical years in the desert; it's about the wilderness and yearning of the heart. Reading The Dusty Ones is like talking to a friend who's wandering alongside us on this road of truth, which is 'always bumpy, but always worthwhile.' A. J. draws from St. Augustine, noting how we were made for God and that our hearts are restless until they find rest in him. And that's okay. After all, on the road of life, you will get dusty."
Cornelia Becker Seigneur, author of WriterMom Tales and West Linn (Images of America series); founding director of Faith & Culture Writers Conference
"At a time when the Christian faith is all too easily reduced to a neatly designed journey to a glorious destination, A. J. Swoboda brings us back to the ancient theme of wandering. Drawing on the stories of biblical characters and historical figures, Swoboda reminds us that God has always walked alongside his people, even through life's more arduous terrain: God walks with wanderers and speaks to wandering hearts. A. J.'s words are like water in our own wilderness, reminding us that God is forging a deep work in our desert spaces. May we all have the courage to live as one of the dusty ones."
Jo Saxton, chair of the board of 3D Movements; speaker and author
"In The Dusty Ones, pastor and seminary professor A. J. Swoboda wrestles with the paradox of faith: on the road toward perfection in Christ, we can only move forward by acknowledging how far we have to go. This book is a must read for anyone concerned by how far our personal and cultural wanderings have separated us from God. Kudos to Swoboda for addressing a difficult issue with honesty and grace."
Matthew Sleeth, director of Blessed Earth; author of 24/6
"A. J. is one of those writers you discover as if he were a new indie band that you can't shut up about. That's how I feel after reading his work. I connect with both his writing style and his message. And I want to tell everyone about it, and especially about The Dusty Ones. This notion of wandering has given words and hope to my own struggle as a 'professional pastor,' where it sometimes seems dangerous to not know where I'm at or where I'm going. Read this book on your journey toward Christ, and be encouraged that we're all just broken wanderers in search of Jesus."
David Lomas, pastor of Reality San Francisco; author of The Truest Thing about You
"My favorite line in the whole hymnal comes from that old standard 'Come Thou Fount': 'Prone to wander, Lord I feel it.' And oh, do I feel it, and so does my friend A. J. Swoboda. In The Dusty Ones, A. J. explores that inclination and, with his characteristic wit, charm, and insight, takes the reader through a personal journey of wandering along the pilgrim way of those who follow after Christ."
R. Anderson Campbell, assistant professor of Christian studies at George Fox University
"A. J. Swoboda uses timely illustrations to discuss a timeless biblical trope: wandering. Using topics ranging from Freud to farming, he tackles the richness and agony of the twenty-first-century Christian journey with refreshing transparency. Along the way, he invites followers of Jesus to join in the grand pilgrimage and reminds us of Tolkien's great truth that 'not all those who wander are lost.'"
Leah Payne, professor of theology and cultural studies at George Fox Evangelical Seminary
"I know A. J. Swoboda well. I know that his theology is historically grounded and profoundly biblical. I also know that, because of his gifts as a preacher, he has a rare ability to communicate that theology creatively and comprehensibly. This book is about the spiritual discipline of wandering, that mysterious counterpoint to the discipline of rootedness. As the evangelical community leans into a blossoming array of spiritual practices, it will look to books like this one."
Dan Brunner, professor of church history at George Fox Evangelical Seminary; coauthor of Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology
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