(For our podcast conversation with Tyler Blanski for the Fountains of Carrots podcast, click here).
Tyler Blanski is one of my favorite living writers, so his spiritual memoir An Immovable Feast: How I Gave Up Spirituality for a Life of Religious Abundance being published by Ignatius Press has been my most anticipated read of 2018. A few years back I reviewed his fantastic book When Donkeys Talk. It was so compelling and I found Tyler to be such a kindred spirit that I kept reading passages aloud to Daniel and commenting, “Don’t you wish he was Catholic?! It’s like he’s SO CLOSE.”
We struck up an online friendship with Tyler and his wife Brittany and I was thrilled every time I saw his writing pop up in magazines. Lo and behold a few years later they shared that they were discerning becoming Catholic–a decision that would require huge financial and emotional sacrifice on their part since Tyler was currently in seminary to become an Anglican priest. They’d spent years and hard work investing in what they thought would be their future, and it was all being turned upside down. But they were experiencing what Daniel and I experienced in our own spiritual journey: to whom will you go? Once you accept that the fullness of truth is present in the Catholic faith, can you be satisfied anywhere but in the Church?
An Immovable Feast is the spiritual memoir of my generation. If you grew up in Christian subculture during the 90s and early 2000s, everything will sound so familiar. I kept exclaiming, “me, too!” as I read and emailing Tyler because I read that DC Talk book about martyrs as a teenager and I listened to that Live at Luther College album over and over again. Tyler and I are about the same age and there were a million and one things that I identified with to an eerie degree in his story. I had the same questions, the same attitudes, the same longing for what I did not yet understand. He writes, “Growing up, I thought the good news was that I could have a personal relationship with Jesus—without religion. I wanted the King but not the Kingdom, the head but not the body, the vine but not the branches, a culture but not the cult.” What an apt description of mainstream Christian culture.
It is moving to see how Tyler and his wife Brittany’s desire to seek the truth leads them on a long journey that ends (or shall we say, begins?) in Rome: “The fact of the matter was that I had wanted Christianity, but I had wanted Christianity on my terms. In the process, I had diminished the Church to a picturesque ruin. And it occurred to me then that a Catholic is someone who sees the Church not as he wishes her to be, but as she is. And in spite of attempts to destroy her, refute her, revile her, she stands immovable, teaching what has always been taught, doing what she has always done. Jesus established one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church—and this was good news. This was life-changing news, the kind of news I needed to live.”
Tyler shares so vulnerably about his struggles, his spiritual confusion, his inklings of understanding. And when Brittany enters the scene, a former atheist passionately pursuing Christ, it really is a compelling love story of not only their romance but of a couple drawn to the cosmic story of God’s love and the Church He instituted. After reading the first few chapters, I could not put it down. You will be absolutely drawn in.
But I have to warn you, this story will challenge you. In fact, if you don’t want your assumptions to be called into question, if you don’t want to wrestle with the truth, don’t read it. Because it will change you. While there are many wonderful stories of conversion, this one is not merely a tale of one man’s experience. It’s truly a meticulous examination of the spiritual landscape of modern Christianity and a masterful work of Catholic apologetics.
An Immovable Feast reveals that my generation’s desire to be connected to the aesthetic beauty and ancient traditions while at the same time running from the authority and unity of the Church will leave us unsatisfied. The outward trappings are not enough. Tyler so clearly lays out why accepting the liturgy and tradition present in the Anglican church could not ultimately answer his questions and desires for the fullness of faith.
Daniel and I have often been asked, “Why did you become Catholic? It’s so much more respectable to be Anglican! And you can get all the aesthetics without having to give up so much.” It certainly would have been easier, especially since we have Anglican family members, but it was unthinkable because we believe that the fullness of truth is only found in the Catholic Church. Now I will know to lend my copy of Tyler’s book when I’m asked this question to illuminate all the reasons why we believe this. And Anglican friends, I admit this will not be an easy read for you. Tyler knows the Anglican church intimately and does not tread lightly. But I beg you to take up this challenge and confront Tyler’s story. No matter what spiritual tradition you call home, I truly believe this book will change your life.
(Links to Amazon are affiliate links.)
An Immovable Feast releases on April 5th and is already available for pre-order. In fact, it looks like Amazon had jumped the gun and you can actually order your copy already! So grab your book or leave a comment on this post and I’ll be giving away 5 copies to lucky readers!
Lindsay Schlegel says
Oh my–I can’t wait to read this! What a great review!
Kelly K says
Looks like a fascinating read! I always love convert stories. Thanks for the review, Haley! I definitely want to check this out.
Melissa H-K says
Ooh, I would love to read this! Especially because I was Episcopalian before I became Catholic!
I’d love to win a copy! My husband and I are not Catholic but are in a season of searching … sounds like this would be an excellent read for us!
Trish Wirtz says
I went to Hillsdale College with Tyler! I can’t even keep count of how many people I know or know of from Hillsdale who converted to Catholicism during college or not too long after. Many congrats to Tyler on his latest book and I will definitely be ordering this!
Margaret Berns says
Looks like a wonderful read! Thank you for putting this author on my radar—we know several Hillsdale undergrads at present and I would love to share this book with them, so count me in for the giveaway. ?
Ann-Marie Ulczynski says
I still have the DC Talk martyrs book! I love conversion stories. It so much good information, and you can learn without being preached at.
Oh, I’d love to read that!
Oh wow, this sounds like such an incredible story! Thank you so much for sharing your review.
Your review makes me really interested in reading this book.
Sounds fantastic, and so relevant to my and my husband’s “mixed marriage” household!
Ooh I’m so excited about this! Tyler’s episode of Fountains of Carrots was actually the real launching point of my conversion. I was just so drawn to the beauty and truth in the Church as he described his conversion that I walked away from that episode thinking, “I want that!”
Oh, wow… trying not to choke up at your comment, Molly. :’) How amazing! I pray that your journey into the faith is a blessed and fruitful one! ^_^
As a cradle Catholic, conversion stories always amaze me and definitely challenge me. This book looks amazing!
Maria Barontini says
Sounds like a story I’ll love. Also sounds like a book our priest would love to read too.
Helen Peyrebrune says
Me me me!!
Oooo- I have loved Tyler since I heard him speak in an early episode of Fountains. My husband is a Methodist concert and I think this would be a great read for us. Plus I’ve been looking for something challenging for my Catholic book club. Thanks for the great review!
Lisa Suit says
I would love to win this! I have been in a period of searching /praying/discerning whether I should convert to Catholicism and this sounds like it would be an excellent read!
Maggie S says
This sounds like a great read, maybe for my convert husband and I to read together. Thanks for the review!
I would love to read this.
Whitney H says
What a glowing review! Now in my TBR stack, especially as I’ve struggled with my faith over the years. Grew up Baptist, married a Catholic and that nearly tore my relationship with my family apart… 11 years and 3 (soon to be 4) kids later, I’m still trying to discern what is right for me and what role faith plays in my life.
Sounds like an amazing book and I definitely take your recommendation to heart! Thank you for the heads up!
This sounds like an incredible read–thanks so much for sharing, Haley!
Holly R. says
Wow! I’d love to read this book!
This looks like such a great read! I am a fairly recent convert (I was received into the Church at Easter Vigil 2015) and love reading about others’ conversions.
This sounds like a fascinating read!
Wow, this sounds like a powerful read. I’ve been considering Catholicism for four years now and am just never 100% sure about making the leap…
I’d love to win a copy, Tyler is an excellent writer.
Katie Knorr says
Oh my goodness, this looks wonderful! I haven’t read such a glowing review for a new book in a very long time, so I’m really looking forward to it!
Here I am. You know…
Would love to read this one.
As a life long Catholic I love to read other people’s conversion stories and see what brought them to the Faith.
I want to be in the giveaway–this looks like a great book!
I just saw this in the new Ignatius catalogue and have it earmarked! I am a former Anglican too so am very interested in what he has to say. What a wonderful review 🙂
I’d love to read a copy!
Amanda L says
I would love to read it!
Count me in! This sounds awesome.
Sue Klejeski says
What a great review! I’d love to read it.
Ohhh, I think I would love this! And I think my Methodist-turned-Episcopalian-turned-Catholic husband would really love it!
I would love to read this!
Sadie McNutt says
This sounds like an amazing read!
Megan O'Connor says
I think my book club would love this book!
Definitely looking forward to reading this book!
Sounds like a great read! Thanks for bringing it to my attention!
Added to my wish list now! This sounds like such a good read!
Sara R says
In my weaker moments I often say to myself, “If we just switch to an Anglican church then we wouldn’t have to deal with _________.” I’d love to read this book just for a good response to this complaint of mine.
This sounds like *exactly* the kind of thing we need to read as a couple at our house.
I remember when my wife listened to your conversation with him on your podcast. She took off her headphones and said, “what if Jesus IS in the Eucharist?” At the time, I wasn’t ready to hear it. But later I was, and I listened to the episode, and I felt the same. And now we are catholic! Can’t wait to read the book.
Anna lipinski says
This sounds like an interesting book that I’m looking forward to reading! I’m also a convert – and converted from the Anglican tradition. I didn’t have the theological background but something seemed missing. (as it also had in the non-denominational church of my youth. I’m curious to see the similarities and differences of our respective journeys.
I cannot WAIT to read it!!!
I’d love this!
stacy golmon says
I would love to read this!
This book sounds great! I kniw my convert husband would love it!
Can’t wait to read it!
I am putting this on my list of books to read!
As a recent convert myself (I entered the Church last Easter), this book sounds great! I’m adding it to my wishlist now 🙂
This book sounds really interesting. I’m a cradle Catholic but love reading conversion stories. Thanks for putting this out there – I’ll definitely put this on my reading list.
This sounds like a fascinating read for my maybe-revert self! Sign me up!
Sounds like a great read!
Emily Cihlar says
I would so love to read this book! What a beautiful and challenging journey.
This is going on my list!
Dave Rafajko says
As someone on at perhaps an earlier stage on a similar journey, I’m looking forward to finding out more about what lies ahead!
I am looking forward to reading this!
Stacy L says
Thank you for the review and for bringing attention to this book! I would really like to read this and learn about Tyler and Brittney’s spiritual journey!
Just added it to my “Want to Read” shelf on Goodreads. I’d love a copy!
I’m a Catholic convert and love hearing and reading of other converts’ experiences. It sound like a great read!
Sarah Laurell says
I want to hear about how the Church, with all it’s flaws, satisfies that need for permanence. I’m a convert also and I remember my family traipsing through the denominations from Orthodoxy through Anglicanism. I think I could use a little reaffirming of the Catholic Church.
Michele Boda says
I NEED to read this. I just put in a purchase request for my library!
I am also a convert from Anglicanism and would love to read this book! Thanks for this review, it’s going on my wish list right away.
Rachel Truso says
This book sounds right up my alley!
Emily Hubbell says
This sounds like just the challenge I need to grow in my faith life.
I’ll admit, I’ve been struggling quite a bit (growing up/away from my parents/familiarity and wanting to know I can maintain my faith life when I’m on my own). It sounds like a wonderful way to reinforce that which I know about God and build it further into my whole life.
Sounds awesome! Planning to read this one way or another! 🙂
Andy E says
Wow, that does sound like a great read!
Oh this book sounds wonderful! I especially am excited by this:
“An Immovable Feast reveals that my generation’s desire to be connected to the aesthetic beauty and ancient traditions while at the same time running from the authority and unity of the Church will leave us unsatisfied.”
Have never seen it put into words like that but I’ve felt that so strongly– I have a handful of friends for whom who this could be a great resource.
Katherine Grimm Bowers says
I’ve been eyeing this one. I’d like it and I think John really would, too, don’t you? We have a friend out in Texas (one of John’s college friends who lived with us in Uganda) who just became a priest in the Anglican Ordinariate. It seems like if you’re young enough when you enter the Anglican Church, you almost certainly just keep on going.
I always think it’s interesting to see the different roads people follow into the church, the different hurdles and which things were almost givens. I was raised in a Mormon household, and had spent years raising my own children as pagans. The difference between us reminds me of the difference in explanations Jesus gives Jews vs. pagans, scripture vs. nature.
Karen Gillis says
This looks terrific! As a devout Catholic family considering an Evangelical classical school (half homeschool half traditional school) this book would be a wonderful resource.
always looking for a good new read and been feeling very stagnant in my faith reading- perhaps this would be a good next book!
Oh! As someone who grew up evangelical and made my way through the Anglican church before becoming Orthodox, I’d love to read this. I’m sure I can relate! Thanks for the chance.
Davis Cutshaw says
I’m currently in an Anglican confirmation and reception class. Could be timely!
Katie Fenton says
I would love to read this book! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Emily Molitor says
I would love to read this. Thank you!
LIz Escoffery says
I’ve not read a ton of conversion stories but I recently read “A Severe Mercy” and I look forward to reading this too. Hope to win one of the free give-away copies. Thanks for your review, Haley!! It does “cost one” a lot to become Catholic but oh the gains as well!
Kate in Virginia says
I remember him on the FoC podcast! Another Anglican to Catholic convert here.
I also grew up with 90s/early 00s Evangelical culture! I spent about 7 years of my life as an atheist but, with God’s mercy, had my faith restored. I’ve been really curious about Catholic/Orthodox traditions for about 3 years now and hope to finally attend a Mass soon. I would love to read this book!
“Growing up, I thought the good news was that I could have a personal relationship with Jesus—without religion. I wanted the King but not the Kingdom, the head but not the body, the vine but not the branches, a culture but not the cult.” I’m saving this quote to share with certain Protestants I’ve come across lately. These are Christians who go out of their way to malign the Church. I’ve challenged them, asking why they would find it acceptable to be in any of the thousands of Protestant Churches, but never the Catholic Church, even though they must disagree with most of the Protestant churches’ teachings. They said that they don’t belong to any church. They are, in effect, their own church. This quote is perfect to add to the discussion. They want the Head, but not the body. I look forward to getting any of them to read this book! Thanks for the review!
Rachel Klumpp says
Sounds like a great read!
I am also a Tyler Blanski fan! I read (and loved) both of his articles on Kristin Lavransdatter; and I also loved his interview on your Fountains of Carrots podcast! Consider this my submission to this amazing giveaway! I would love to read his book as I feel like I need a boost concerning the topic he is writing on.
This is a great review! I’ve never heard of him before. I would love this book, also.
Jessica Kelso says
I am adding this to my must read list! My husband and I are Anglican and have been discerning conversion.
What a glowing review, Haley! As someone who was raised in a vaguely Catholic household and has decided to embrace the Church on my own, I absolutely love hearing stories of how converts and reverts find the beauty of our faith.
Sounds like a great book!
This sounds like an incredible story!
This sounds like a great read! My husband and I are recent converts from Baptist and some friends we grew up with are now Anglican.
I love conversion memoirs, can’t wait to read it.
Jenna Craine says
My own father will be entering the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil after decades and decades of living as an Anglican, so this is a timely read for me!
It’s on my list! Sounds fantastic and educational!!
Please imagine Hermione Granger with both hands in the air signaling to pick me, pick me!! ? I would love to be put in the running for a copy of this very awe inspiring book!
Kelsie Hartley says
Tyler’s blog post on the biblical basis of the papacy moved along my conversion process way quicker than it would have been otherwise! He will probably never know how much his writing has affected our family! We are being received on Easter (if I can get out of preterm labor in the hospital by then)!
This book currently has 0 reviews on Goodreads. You should post this there!
What an incredible review. Adding this to my reading list.
This sounds wonderful Haley!! If I don’t win i will be buying a copy for sure!
Oooh, what a great review! It’s on my list. And Kelsie, I’m praying for you and your family!
Lindsay Partridge says
This sounds so interesting! I’ve already forwarded this post to a few of my friends who are converts. 🙂
Thank you for this review…I can see I need to read this!
I would not have picked this up based on the title so I’m so glad you reviewed it. Going on my TBR right now!
I have Catholic family members and would love to read this!
I know a friend who should read this. Thanks so much for your review, Haley!
Sounds like a worthwhile read!
I definitely want to read this as the book Born Fundamentalist Born Again Catholic was crucial to my revert to the Catholic Church, but this sounds like it takes it deeper. I also know 0 about Anglicans so I’m eager to understand that more as well.
I would love to read this!
Amy F says
I know I’m late to the game, oops! But if it’s not too late, I would love to read this. I’m super interested in how to make a more meaningful religious life, as well as the importance of tradition and ritual in worship. So this sounds like a must read! Thanks for your review 🙂
Sounds excellent! I’d like to read it!
I read the first chapter available for preview at Ignatius Press and it seems like a wonderful story written Like poetry!
Isn’t Tyler the one who loves Kristin? Sold. Give me that book!
a spirit of simplicity says
This sounds like a very interesting read. I am Catholic and though my mother’s family and all of my cousins are active in their church lives my family did not go to church very often. I went to Catholic school until I was in 5th grade. I have recently started going back to the Catholic church after going to quite a few different Protestant churches over the years. I feel as if I am home again in the Catholic faith. This book sounds like something would enjoy reading.
I’m a sucker for a good conversion story and this sounds like one that my husband could also get behind.
Wow- I’m really looking forward to reading this book now!
Marie Trotter says
I would love to read this! I’m a cradle Catholic and am so inspired by reading conversion stories, especially those which help me see my faith in a new light.
Going to buy it now! My copy of “When Donkeys Talk” is falling apart so I need to give a rest, LOL!
Michael Lqncaster says
Thanks for your VERY positive review. I heard Tyler’s interview by Jennifer Fulwiler on her Xm radio show and was interested. My siblings and I grew up Catholic but have wandered from the faith. I have returned, but none of my siblings have. Do you recommend this for ex-Catholics?
Lauren J. says
I can think of SO MANY people who need or would love this book! (lol i’m one of them)
as a convert (Easter 2018!!), I definitely recognize that desire for aesthetic spirituality…in fact that’s one of the things that drew me to the Catholic Church! God draws you in from any walk of life, regardless of your motives, and by His grace, I kept feeling called deeper and deeper to know God more than just through aesthetically pleasing churches and bible studies. But it’s definitely such a struggle to completely submit to and live the full Catholic faith, in total obedience and faith. It’s so exciting to know that in spite of that struggle, the Church was literally designed especially for us.
I can’t wait to read this book.