2009 Catholic Press Association Award Winner!
To read the Gospel of Mark is to embark on a journey, one that begins in a desert and ends with a boulder rolled away from the tomb. In between, Jesus teaches his disciples, calls them to journey and learn what it means to follow him, and guides them to Jerusalem, the scene of the Passion.
In The Spiritual Landscape of Mark, Bonnie Thurston has adapted a retreat that she gave to the Society of the Sacred Cross at Tymawr Convent in Wales, thereby inviting all of us to embark on this spiritual journey. Marks gospel is full of places, desert, house, sea, valley, mountain, city, cross, garden, and the winding roads between them. Thurstons prose invites us to go away to a quiet place and reflect awhile on what it means to be Jesus disciple, to follow him across the hard landscape. Along the way there will be glimpses of his glory, when he stills the storm and is transfigured on the mountain, when he heals the sick and feeds the hungry. Still, the primary lesson is the difficult way to which we are called, along with the great joy of knowing that Jesus has initiated the journey and leads us exactly where we need to go.
Bonnie B. Thurston, PhD, lives in West Virginia in solitude. She is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the author of several books, including Philippians in the Sacra Pagina series and Religious Vows, the Sermon on the Mount, and Christian Living (Liturgical Press), and Preaching Mark (Fortress Press).
The importance of this book is . . . that Thurston is able to draw fresh insights from thinking spatially, propelling the reader into engagement with the Gospel text and with the compelling person of Jesus. . . . Thurston speaks from a place where scholarship and prayer intersect. Her prose reflects a deeply internalized reading of Marks Gospel. This is not an erudite study, but rather an imaginative enlivening of the Gospel.
- National Catholic Reporter
"Bonnie Thurston has more than done her homework on the Gospel of St. Mark. In this book she narrates insight from her lectio. Christians are never done with the Gospels and it is imperative that we each have our own direct access to that precious text, but sometimes theres commentary from the person on the path ahead of you. With this book we are invited to that retreat once upon a time in Wales."
- Meg Funk, MegFunk.com, Our Lady of Grace Monastery, Beech Grove, Indiana
"This timely work (as we enter a new lectionary cycle) will bless my preaching without question. In this accessible piece Jesus comes close to us. Not only was my mind fed, but this book spoke to me intimately. The painful places in my life became comforted. The uncertain became a welcomed friend, and a holy place. This will likely become required reading for those seeking standing in our tradition. . . . This book is simply a gift. I receive it as grace, Good News!"
- The Reverend Thaddaeus Burwell Allen, Regional Minister, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Parkersburg, West Virginia
"In recent decades the panorama of Markan studies has been dotted with many studies of the geography and topical references in Mark, and of their theological importance. Thurstons work truly breaks new ground by sounding the depths of settings such as the desert, valleys, journeys and the mountains. By combining the skill of an exegete, the imagination of a poet, and the religious sensitivity of a wise woman, Thurston, in good company with the first commentary on Mark, has brought from her storehouse things old and things new (Matt 13:52)."
- John R. Donahue, SJ, Research Professor in Theology, Loyola College in Maryland
"Bonnie Thurston invites us to join her on a journey that begins in the wilderness and ends in a garden. On the way she opens our eyes to the significance of the details in St. Marks story that we so easily miss, details about where events take place, not just in the wilderness and the garden, but in the house and by the sea, on the mountain and in the city. For Mark, however, the garden of the resurrection is not, after all, the end of the story, but the setting for an invitation to continue the journey into unknown territory. In this book, spirituality is based on sound scholarship. To read St Marks story through Bonnie Thurstons eyes is, as she herself puts it, to make the Gospel dance."
- Morna D. Hooker, Lady Margarets Professor Emerita, University of Cambridge