Long Road to Heaven, The

Long Road to Heaven, The

A Lent Course Based on the Film

An imaginative, creative and enjoyable Lent course that will lead us to new life at Easter (Bishop of Salisbury)


CATEGORIZED IN

"Heaton writes beautifully...effective treatment of its great themes . What are we saved from? What are we saved for?" Church Times

"Taking part in a Lent course like this can easily become a life-changing experience." The Tablet

This second Lent resource from the author of The Naturalist and the Christ explores Christian understandings of “salvation” in a five-part study course based on the film The Way. Starring Martin Sheen as a bereaved father, this soulful and uplifting film observes a group of pilgrims walking the Way of St James to Santiago de Compostela. As it follows their journey of inner transformation, the course examines biblical accounts and images of salvation – past, present and future – and addresses the questions: What are we saved from? What are we saved for? Who can be saved? What do we have to do to be saved? How are we saved?

REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

The practical advice to Lent course leaders is excellent for confidence-building. The film repays watching several times, as it is richly multi-layered and refreshingly non-pious. It follows four (initially solitary) pilgrims who journey to Compostela for untraditional reasons- each in response to a different personal crisis. On the 'Way' they find that 'heaven' can begin even now, during the journey- it isn't confined to a far-off destination, a surprising discovery that readers of this book can share, if they are alert and willing. ~ Anne Bayley, Reflections, Diocese of Hereford

Another Lent course based around the film – and that’s no bad thing at all. In fact, in these days of media attraction, it’s a positive boon in encouraging some to attend. This time the film is one directed by Emilio Estevez, starring Martin Sheen. It’s about a journey through bereavement and along the pilgrimage route of the Way of St James. It is a brilliant and emotional film and this book makes a good, well considered, use of it to open up discussion on the issue of starvation. In many ways the book, through brilliantly set up and appropriate for Lent, would work at any time for an in-depth group study. The course is set out with real weight to it; the sessions are well timed and contain intelligent discussion questions along with good endings in a series of reflections and contemplations, gently rounding off each one. - Review by Melanie Carroll ~ Melanie Carroll, Together-Issue 6. Mar / Apr 2014

Another Lent course based around a film, in many ways the book, though brilliantly set up and appropriate for Lent, would work at any time for an in-depth group study. The course is set out with real weight to it; the sessions are well timed and contain intelligent discussion questions along with good endings in a series of reflections and contemplations, gently rounding off each one. ~ Melanie Carroll, Together

This Lent, consider making a journey of faith on the route to Santiago de Compostela. Without leaving home, you can walk with others, join with them in prayer, and share bread and Rioja wine, guided by the narrative of an extraordinary movie. Pilgrimages can take you far away, but there is one pilgrimage you are invited to do in the comfort of your armchair. By using a powerful combination of Bible insights rooted in the film "The Way", and a book called "The Long Road to Heaven" by Tim Heaton, your Christian way of life will be challenged and nourished by the wisdom of the centuries. Taking part in a Lent course like this can easily become a life-changing experience. ~ Tom Grufferty, The Tablet

[Recent new] Lent courses have one great feature in common: the written word on its own is not enough. Tim Heaton's course requires participants to watch the film "The Way", which stars Martin Sheen as a bereaved father who makes the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela with an extemporary group of travellers. None of them initially is undertaking the Camino for religious reasons, although all are seeking release from pain, anger, disappointment, or bitterness. Their journey, movingly depicted in the film, becomes, in the hands of a skilful devotional writer, a powerful exposition of the Christian salvation story. "The Long Road to Heaven" will probably appeal to thoughtful participants who are prepared to wrestle with some fairly challenging material. Heaton writes beautifully - indeed Chapter Four, "A Love Story", could stand alone as a powerful and moving allegory of salvation. The book is as effective a treatment of its great themes as I have read. What are we saved from? What are we saved for? Who can be saved, and how? Given the right group of people, I would love to be a fly on the wall as they tackle those disarmingly simple questions under Heaton's persuasive probing. The main problem facing those who are planning a church-based Lent course is getting the right kind of material for the likely participants, rather like choosing a supermarket for your shopping. I suggest that Tim Heaton's is Waitrose. ~ David Winter, Church Times

I really enjoyed Tim Heaton's second book, "The Long Road to Heaven". It's another Lent course based on a film, this time "The Way", about a group of pilgrims (Martin Sheen among them) walking the Way of St James to Santiago de Compostela. The film has lots of themes within it, which Tim allows us to explore gently in five well structured sessions. The guidance is clear (including to take the cinematic complexity of film as seriously as its narrative), and the sessions allow contributors to think for themselves. The film material is, again, underpinned by solid theological reflection on the theme of "salvation" (past, present and future), but don't be intimidated! All Tim's quoted material is well selected and accessible and, because he sometimes gives us his personal take on it, also feels quite intimate at times. I'll be recommending Tim's course for Lent this year, but I'll also be recommending it as something that can be done at other times - it would be a shame if it wasn't used more widely. ~ Karenza Passmore, Religious Resources Centre

Following the success of his first Lent study book, The Naturalist and the Christ, Tim Heaton has recently published a second, The Long Road to Heaven. As with the first book, Tim uses a film as the basis for the study material. As a medium, film has a particular capacity to engage us and draw us into the lives of the characters and the issues they face. The film chosen, The Way, certainly does just that. It illustrates how journeys can be more than just the movement from one place to another, and shows how journeys have the capacity to take people from their pain to a place of healing, and from loss and regret to a state of acceptance and fulfilment. It's essentially a film about finding salvation, which is exactly the theme of this study course. This excellent course, providing a rich mix of clips from the film, Bible study, reflection and prayer, gives us the opportunity of also going on a journey. In this Lenten journey, Tim invites us to address five key questions: What are we saved from? What are we saved for? Who can be saved? What do we have to do to be saved? How are we saved? These questions are carefully teased out through the interweaving of Jesus' journey to the cross with the journeys of the characters in the film. The course is extremely well constructed and imaginatively presented, and goes right to the heart of what it means to be a Christian disciple. ~ Book of the Month: January 2014, Sarum College Bookshop

Another Lent course based around a film - and that's no bad thing at all - in fact in these days of media attraction it's a positive boon in encouraging some to attend. This time the film is one directed by Emilio Estevez, that stars Martin Sheen and is about a journey through bereavement and along the pilgrimage route of the Way of St James. It is a brilliant and emotional film and this book makes a good, well considered use of it to open up discussion on the issue of salvation. In many ways the book, though brilliantly set up and appropriate for Lent, would work at any time for an in-depth group study. The course is set out with real weight to it, the sessions well timed, and containing intelligent discussion questions along with good endings in a series of reflections and contemplations that gently round off each one. A very welcome addition to the Lent courses out there. ~ Melanie Carroll, The Good Bookstall

The purpose of this concise book lies wholly in its sub-title A Lent course based on the fi lm ‘ e Way’. It highlights the topic of Lenten reflection in one’s personal pilgrimage towards the Promised Land and attempts this by mirroring the ever-popular pilgrims’ walk to the shrine of Saint James the apostle at Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.  The book divides into four main parts which explain how to organise and structure a Lent course, a section of historical reflection on Saint James the Great and the legend at Compostela, a five-part study course examining the concept of salvation based on the film  The Way observing a group of pilgrims walking the way of Saint James. The author provides interesting biblical commentary relevant to each study week. The book will relate to everyone in their daily journey through life with its hardships suffered as we seek to grasp a vision of personal salvation. The work is commended as a study resource. ~ S. JOHN HAZEL, http://www.readers.cofe.anglican.org/u_d_lib_pub/m1114.pdf

A pilgrimage in good company whilst reading the Scriptures prayerfully will be familiar to many groups of Christians in Lent. In this course about salvation, we are also invited to watch a film as attentively as we might look at a painting. Characters who are not knowingly on a journey to find God are found by God in a life-changing encounter. They are what salvation looks like in this imaginative, creative and enjoyable Lent course that will lead us to new life at Easter. ~ The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury

Kierkegaard quipped that God did not become man to make small talk. He would have enjoyed Tim Heaton’s "The Long Road to Heaven", which skilfully and accessibly introduces big talk on several levels. It proves a bracing mix of Bible study and wide-ranging theological insight, all rooted in reflection on the film "The Way" and nicely seasoned with Bonhoeffer’s "Prayers for Fellow-Prisoners". Substantial reflection on the Way of St James to Santiago de Compostela prompts a moving pilgrimage from one’s personal Good Friday through to Easter Day, the quintessence of a salvation which proves challenging, affirming and surprising. ~ The Rt Revd David Wilbourne, Assistant Bishop of Llandaff

On the pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela we meet Tom and a small group of misfits, each broken and looking for meaning in their lives. At the same time, travelling with Jesus on the road to Jerusalem we meet on the way people transformed by the encounter. A wonderful treasure trove of nuggets drawn from a rich heritage of Christian wisdom through the centuries nourishes us as we explore the many facets of salvation. Over five sessions we are challenged to see salvation lived out in the stories of others and to reflect how God’s salvation is woven into our own lives. ~ The Rt Revd John Wraw, Bishop of Bradwell

Tim Heaton’s intriguing new Lent Course takes the theme of pilgrimage, winding word and prayer around the pictures of the film "The Way". In the film, four pilgrims join their different lives as they walk to Santiago de Compostela. St Paul wrote, in Philippians, that he was pressing on in order to know Christ and the power of his resurrection: pressing on because he had not “already reached the goal”. In our Lenten pilgrimage we seek to know more of Christ Jesus, as he already knows us. This course will help us all. And when you have finished the course perhaps you may be inspired to put on your walking boots, lock the front door, and set off for Santiago yourself. ~ The Rt Revd Dr Edward Condry, Bishop of Ramsbury

Salvation is all about journeying or, as it is often named, pilgrimage. Using the brilliant film "The Way", Tim Heaton helps us understand that finding heaven is as much about the journey as it is about the arriving. Through careful interweaving of Jesus’ journey to the cross with the journeys of the characters in the film, the course reminds us that we are all somewhere on a journey and on that journey we have the possibility, through the grace of God, of finding salvation. This is an outstanding and exciting course that I strongly recommend. It is extremely well constructed, imaginatively presented and well written, and goes right to the heart of what it means to be a Christian disciple. ~ The Venerable Paul Taylor, Archdeacon of Sherborne

Pilgrimage defines both the form and content of this Lent Course: it is designed to move us on in every way, in mind, spirit and body. It does so very effectively, by imaginatively weaving together a film about a journey and Christian understandings of the journey of salvation. The course draws on wide-ranging and serious theological resources, but also retains a sufficiently light touch to keep the pilgrim moving whenever the going might seem tough. The material is thoughtful and engaging, the format attractive, and the overall experience for participants should be very stimulating. ~ The Revd Canon Professor Vernon White, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey and Visiting Professor in Theology at King's College, London

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Heaton
Tim Heaton The Reverend Tim Heaton is in parish ministry in the Diocese of Salisbury. He was ordained as a Deacon in 2008 and Priest in 2010, at the ag...
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