14 October 2011

The Imitation of Christ

Sometimes the old stuff is still the best stuff!  For over 600 years Christians have found The Imitation of Christ stirring and challenging.  Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471) is credited with writing most, if not all of this classic devotional work.  When I taught a class called "Classics of Christianity" I used this one, along with John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress and Augustine's Confessions.  Thomas was a late Medieval monk of the order of the Brothers of the Common Life.  He eventually became a priest.  Historically speaking, his life and work were by most accounts unremarkable.  He blended into his time the way most of us do in our own.  Nevertheless, he did leave behind this masterpiece of devotion.  As one would expect, aspects of Roman Catholic practice and theology are sprinkled throughout.  However, as a Baptist, hence a child of the Reformation, I have found it incredibly helpful.  I've read it more than once and am right now soaking up its pages again.  The Imitation of Christ is an easy read and short (my copy is only 160 pages).  However, it is a challenging read.  It will hit you right in the areas of pride and vanity in surprising ways.  You'll discover you never knew how much pride you possessed and how antithetical pride is to living like Christ. 

I encourage you to pick up a copy or check it out at the library.  It's a classic every Christian ought to know.  So, if you're looking for the newest devotional that is both spiritual and practical, add something new that is old-The Imitation of Christ

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