In God Walk: Moving at the Speed of Your Soul, author Mark Buchanan asserts that Christianity is a religion lacking a corresponding physical discipline. “Hinduism has yoga. Taoism has tai chi. Shintoism has karate. Buddhism has kung fu. Confucianism has hapkido. Sikhism has gatka. Christianity has nothing.”
He writes this book as an argument that at one time, Christianity actually did have a physical discipline, something concrete and tied to the body in a way that honored and shaped the practices of the faith. Walking, the most pedestrian and universal form of transport, is the method Buchanan asserts has brought spiritual formation and discipline to God’s people since the beginning.
“Walking is medicine, therapy, and workout all bundled together.” But it takes intention to achieve this triple benefit. Rarely is the walking I do as purposeful as the pilgrim’s trek to some holy site. I walk mostly as mode and not means, bustling myself here and there between destinations. Several times a week I purpose to walk for exercise, and Buchanan prompts me to remember that my step count is not as important as walking at God speed—the not-so-metaphorical rate of the soul in step with God.
In June I walked the rolling hills around Flathead Lake in Montana, at the base of the gargantuan Mission Mt. Range. We had a small window of time between school and summer jobs when at least two of our children could make the trip, so Tim and I took our boys to see my dad and his wife in their brand new home. The six of us, accompanied by Dad’s three small dogs, walked the mowed, green trails through wildflowers and tall grasses, Dad telling me how much stronger he’d gotten on the hills since moving there in January. We ambled slowly, but the last 10 years have been rough for his health so it was a grace to even do that. A doe bounded the fence line to stand in the middle of acres of wheat, watching us without fear. Birds uplifted and dove quickly into birdhouses lining the walk. “It’s too bad you live in such an ugly place,” I said to Dad, in the sarcastic vernacular of my family.
Please visit The Cultivating Project to finish reading this post and take a look around. Cultivating is a place to quiet the world and rest awhile, and couldn’t we all use some of that?
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