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Cover for Falling Through the Ice

Falling Through the Ice

The Path of a Zen Methodist

John 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.

Resource Publications (CA), 9781498200165, 182pp.

Publication Date: September 12, 2014

About the Author

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.