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Wisdom Chaser

Finding My Father at 14,000 Feet

by Nathan Foster

It began with a sim­ple question:

One day I found myself ask­ing my father across the chasm between us, Hey, Dad, you want to climb the high­est moun­tain in Colorado?’”

And for Nathan Fos­ter and his father Richard, that sim­ple ques­tion changed every­thing. With no hik­ing expe­ri­ence to draw on, they embarked on a jour­ney of phys­i­cal chal­lenge, dis­cov­er­ing just how far they could push them­selves. For Nathan a par­al­lel jour­ney took him inside himself.

Hav­ing grown up in the shad­ow of a famous father, Richard J. Fos­ter, author of Cel­e­bra­tion of Dis­ci­pline, Nathan had a lot of ques­tions about who his father real­ly was. Would hik­ing open the door for him to get to know this dis­tant figure?

As the one-time exper­i­ment evolved into a decade of chal­leng­ing hikes up Col­orado’s 14,000-foot peaks, the Four­teen­ers, Nathan nav­i­gat­ed his twen­ties — fin­ish­ing col­lege, choos­ing a career, a pos­si­ble cross-coun­try move, the ear­ly years of mar­riage and a major per­son­al cri­sis. Along the way he would dis­cov­er exact­ly what his father could offer him. Inter­Var­si­ty Press, soft­cov­er, 185 pages.

2010

Recommendations

In this deeply engaging, conspicuously unpolished chronicle of a decade of mountaineering adventures with his father, the son of a famous father explores not only the physical terrain of the Colorado Rockies but also the emotional and spiritual terrain of their evolving relationship as the two test themselves. An assistant professor of social work at Michigan's Spring Arbor University, the writer is the son of Richard Foster, a luminary among contemporary writers on Christian spirituality. The little I knew about my father I didn't much like, he writes near the book's beginning. An unsparing and even sometimes awkward narrative of the writer's deepening self-knowledge as he confronts the wounds of his childhood, the book also describes his deepening friendship with his father as they experience climbing success, failure, and some pretty terrifying close calls in unforgiving mountain passes. This gem of a book should appeal not only to Richard Foster fans but to a much wider pool of readers who will be grateful for its insights, humility, and tenderness.
Publishers Weekly

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