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Cover for Falling Through the Ice

Falling Through the Ice

The Path of a Zen Methodist

J. D. Hiestand


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Why a journey from Zen to Methodism? Two friends embark on a dual path of discovery while driving from Portland to Denver. The miles take them through the beautiful scenery of the Pacific Northwest as their souls traverse the spiritual landscapes of a lifetime. The journey begins in the San Francisco Bay Area of the 1960s with the nascent American Zen movement led by Shunryu Suzuki. From there it winds through the years, passing through Christianity and pop culture, John Cage and avant-garde music, the haunting beauty of Taize worship, Celtic Christianity, spiritual naturalism, the painful failures of the modern church, and the promise the church may still hold. The barren landscape of southern Wyoming becomes a fitting backdrop for one friend's growing skepticism as the spiritual past seems more and more disconnected from the present uncertainty. Unexpectedly, the practical theology of eighteenth-century theologian John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, offers the possibility of merging these disparate spiritual experiences together into a single pathway. Transformation, however, inevitably involves loss when the friends find their roads diverging as the destination approaches: one branching towards hope, and the other towards despair. ""Falling Through the Ice is a page turner and a beautifully crafted autobiographical story that pulls one into mysteries of choice, and chance, and grace. . . . This life-journey, told as a road trip, deftly explores key features of the expansive and down to earth contemplative traditions taught by Shunryu Suzuki-roshi and Shalem Institute's Gerald May. Along the way, the precise account of Methodist Christianity's emphases makes clear that the subtitle 'Zen Methodist' is an expression of profound faithfulness. The end of the journey is clearly signaled from the beginning, and yet it contains both surprise and puzzle, neither of which will be soon forgotten."" --Catherine L. Kelsey, Dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Formation, The Iliff School of Theology, Denver, CO ""Falling Through the Ice is a captivating narrative of journey and self-discovery located in both geography and metaphor. It traverses the western landscape of the United States and the interior recesses of the soul. The story takes one from Portland to Denver, from Zen to United Methodism, from the teachings Shunryu Suzuki to John Wesley. The book unfolds through a series of dialogues between two friends revealing foundational questions and struggles innate to the human condition and spiritual identity. It will cause the reader to think and laugh."" --Steven Lewis, Educational and Ecclesiastical Consultant, Gresham, OR ""This is an engaging and deeply personal account of Hiestand's spiritual journey with and through Methodism and Zen Buddhism. He winds in and out of these two traditions, negotiating an authentic dual identity that is increasingly the norm in American religiosity. His honesty and humanity are evident on every page, and anyone also traveling such a journey will find in this book a warm and inspiring companion."" --Jacob N. Kinnard, Professor of Comparative Religions, Iliff School of Theology, Denver, CO J. D. Hiestand was ordained a United Methodist elder in 2013. He received a Master of Arts in Music in 1980, and a Master of Divinity in 2011. In between, he worked as a computer programmer and music director in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. His wife Vivian is also an ordained elder. They live in Colorado and have two sons, two grandchildren, and a Bichon-Frise.

Resource Publications (CA), 9781498200165, 173pp.

Publication Date: September 12, 2014