Augsburg Fortress

Without Oars: Casting Off into a Life of Pilgrimage

Without Oars: Casting Off into a Life of Pilgrimage

The way of the pilgrim begins with what we leave behind--not so much a journey to a holy place, but a holy practice of leaving the comforts of the familiar for a radical vulnerability, letting the very breath of God direct us on the unknown, stripped-down path of trust.

In Without Oars, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson blends history, storytelling, biblical insights, personal reflections, and spiritual formation in an inviting call to discover pilgrimage as a way of life. This book offers a unique perspective on the faith journey as an embodied practice of heading into the unknown and unknowable--with all the excitement, risk, and rewards that come with letting go.

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Available November 17, 2020

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • ISBN 9781506464343
  • Age/Grade Range Adult
  • Format Paperback
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 194
  • Publication Date November 17, 2020

Table of Contents

Prologue: In a Boat without Oars
1 The Restless Soul
Leaving behind the habits of predictable but discontented lives.
Freeing ourselves from captivity to efficient routines of normalcy. 
First pilgrim steps interrupt regularity into uncharted land.
2 Real Presence
Leaving behind the frenzy of our addictions to screens.
Freedom from promoting a false virtual presence of the self.
Opening unexplored interior space in one’s outward journey.
3 Persistent Patience
The relief of giving up instant gratification.
Focusing only on the next step in long faithfulness.
350,000 steps that were never imagined. 
4 Strength to Let Go
Learning to surrender what weighs us down in the pilgrim journey.
The lightness of being relinquishes the ego’s false identities.
Shedding the formerly necessary psychic securities that shaped our early life.
5 Walking into Faith
Leaving disembodied systems of belief rooted primarily in the head.
Recovering paths of embodied faith centered in practices.
Expressing faith by where we walk, not what creed we sign.
6 Reckless Spirituality
Leaving behind predictable piety that preserves our inner comfort.
Freeing the Spirit from the bondage of our expectations.
On the wind of the Spirit: a radical abandonment to following the Way
7 Unpredictable Grace
Leaving planned outcomes in favor of spiritual preparedness for daily grace.
The futility of strategic planning, the promise of pilgrimage.
Journeying on paths far less predictable than we imagine.
8 A Re-enchanted World
Recovering the spirituality of material, ordinary things. 
What the belief of pilgrims in “living bones” means for us.
Embracing sacred mysteries sacramentally embedded along our paths.
9 Leaving the Empire Behind
Historic journeys away from Constantine’s imperial clutches.
Walking free from centers and systems of control today.
Pilgrim pathways through the public square with new vision.
10 Life as We Know It
The final pilgrimage, for us all, leaves life behind.
Dying before we die to taste the presence of enduring life.
Letting go, always living on the brink of the next unknown.
Appendix: Suggested resources; author’s guide to a variety of ways readers can consider practicing rituals of pilgrimage.