The book hasn’t even been shipped yet, but the first review of Backpacking through the Anglican Communion: A Search for Unity is hot off the press—or “press,” I should say, since it’s online, though none the less thorough, thoughtful, and complete for that.
You can read it online at the Episcopal Digital Network, but here are a few excerpts:
Zink is a great storyteller. His writing is clear, engaging and accessible, and you are drawn into the lives of the people he met – from huge, wealthy, almost-mega-churches in Nigeria to a tiny church in the Andes of Ecuador and a diocesan cathedral in Sudan made of cinder block with three plastic chairs, total, in the nave….
The book is an excellent means, especially for Anglicans from the wealthy part of the world, to understand the very difficult economic and social contexts of global Anglicanism – especially in Africa. We learn about the challenges posed by Pentecostalism, along with the way poverty and war shapes the issues that a church finds important. This book would be excellent in a study group on global Anglicanism. Indeed, each chapter can stand alone, and the book could be used in a variety of Christian education contexts….
The last chapter is Zink’s moving, eloquent and theologically grounded plea for Anglican unity. He doesn’t have a lot of optimism, and I’d have to agree that our track record of late hasn’t been good. Nonetheless, his case for finding a way to be together and do God’s work in spite of differences of opinion is desperately needed, and I agree with his assessment that Anglicans, of all people, should be able to do this.
I don’t know about optimism, but I definitely have hope for the future of the Anglican Communion—it is hope that is at the core of this book.