For many years I've remembered Ancient-Future Faith as a turning point book in my spiritual development. But my memory of its content has been a bit cloudy. I could picture a page where Webber tells students that when life is hard and their faith is insecure to get to the eucharist as quickly as they could because God would meet them there. A story I treasured, but that was about it.
I do remember carrying this book in my backpack as I traveled with a music group through Greece as a junior in college. I remember poring over it while the tour bus passed the endless olive groves along the Aegean. I remember returning to it after our guide led us through the history and the archaeological sites of Corinth and Philippi.
I've mentioned this experience before: At a gig in Thessaloniki, between sets I found myself in the middle of a passionate discussion with a young Orthodox seminarian. While I asked about the personal quality of his relation to the divine, he urged me to return to the Fathers. Later, I remember, I got lost in the majesty of St. Dimitrios and the mystery of its catacombs, in the sacred continuity of the community of the faithful I found in a monastery at Meteora.
I came back from Greece changed, and I remember Robert Webber's Ancient-Future Faith being a catalyst for that change.
Returning to the text, I've been amazed at how much this book presaged the trajectory my faith development has taken. I look here, and I find the roots of my understanding of atonement, the outline of my commitments in ministry, a picture of the way I've come--via circuitous routes--to understand the church. Not a perfect type, mind you, but a quality sketch.
Friends, Ancient-Future Faith, despite the fixation with postmodernity of its historical moment, is excellent book to welcome into the conversation of your growing faith. College-aged friends, especially, check this book out. Find a used copy. Interlibrary loan it (I think that was how the copy in Greece came to me). Drive to the far north and borrow it from my shelf. See where it might take you. Read it.