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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.

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