The spirituality and lives of the desert fathers and mothers are often seen as the beginning and end of Christian monastic life. Their stories and messages inspire not only the most devout Christians but also the "nones" and the "dones." In Desert Dangers and Delights John Michael Talbot reflects on his experience as a spiritual father and a popularizer of Catholic Christian spirituality through his music and teaching. He uses his own stories, Scripture, and the stories and sayings of the desert fathers and mothers to show a radically alternative way of living and thinking in Christ. With questions for reflection at the end of each chapter, this book will aid all readers, from experienced monastics to those just beginning a spiritual journey with Christ.
John Michael Talbot is the founder and spiritual father of the Catholic-based community the Brothers and Sisters of Charity. He leads an active ministry from Little Portion Hermitage and Monastery in Arkansas and St. Clare Monastery in Texas. He is also a Grammy and Dove award-winning, multiplatinum selling, contemporary Christian music pioneer and a best-selling author of over thirty books.
"There has never been a more crucial time to listen to the past. And who better to listen to than the desert fathers, who left everything to embrace a life of simple listening to God in the wilderness. My brother John has done much the same with his life; he has spent a lifetime listening to the fathers and has gifted the church with this remarkable digest of their wisdom."
Michael Card, faith-based musician and author
"The spiritual life, in Scripture and in church history, is shaped by the garden and the desert. John Michael Talbot, whose fruitful ministry spans fifty years, guides us from that garden to the contemplative life of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. In this new book, he shares the treasures to be found in a place of dangers and delights. Highly recommended."
Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD, author of The Early Episcopal Career of Athanasius of Alexandria
"In this book, John Michael Talbot draws from the rich treasure of the wisdom of the desert fathers. With them begins the story of a radical life according to the Gospel, in the midst of a society that resembles the deserts of nature, then as now. John Michael Talbot knows about the distractions of this world and gives practical suggestions to rediscover the dignity of man and himself in God's ray of light. The book is a testimony to decades of wisdom. Simple and impressive are the examples from everyday life, unsurpassed are the quotations of the desert fathers, which are still so relevant today. The book provides orientation for searching people in a time of disorientation."
Notker Wolf, OSB, Abbot Primate Emeritus
"What a pleasure for me to read John Michael's new book on desert spirituality. It is a beautiful spiritual offering from a great musician who has become a very special author as well. Desert Dangers and Delights addresses a hunger for a faith that can be experienced in the here and now."
Tom Booth, Composer/Retreat Leader/Spiritual Director
"In this interesting and inspiring book, Catholic monastic pioneer John Michael Talbot introduces the spiritual life and teaching of the Egyptian desert fathers and mothers. The wisdom and example of these ancient spiritual guides has clearly informed his own spiritual journey. Describing his own personal experiences, Talbot allows the desert spirituality to constructively criticize the Catholic context in which he lives out the Christian life. He encourages his audience, which should certainly extend beyond Catholicism, to find a deeper and richer experience of God by the Holy Spirit, in embracing aspects of the monastic desert spirituality for themselves. He allows the desert fathers and mothers to speak for themselves, without simply providing another collection of sayings and quotations. Rather, he shows in an engaging manner, how this transforming spirituality has been fruitful in his own life, and has the potential to produce spiritual fruit in the lives of all those who embrace it, making Christ the focus of our life, in the power of the Holy Spirit."
Father Peter Farrington, priest of the Coptic Orthodox Church, UK
"John Michael Talbot is the real deal—a true holy man and spiritual father. This book is a booster shot of grace that will reinvigorate your spiritual life—it is both encouraging and challenging. It's not a how-to, if that means a set formula that is supposed to work for everyone, rather it is a way of empowering the reader to find his or her own way through the desert. From time to time we all need to strip away the barnacles of the distracted life and get back to what is essential. With this book, you can immerse yourself in a world without the annoying distractions of modern technology, then really begin with yourself and go deeper than perhaps you ever have before."
Jim L. Papandrea, Professor of Church History and Historical Theology, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
"Every generation seems to discover the Desert Fathers as something new, surprising, strange, and radical. Opening heaven's door, we never find what we had expected. This book will be the Desert's doorway for a new generation."
Mike Aquilina, author of The Fathers of the Church