(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!