Land of My Sojourn: The Landscape of a Faith Lost and Found – Mike Cosper

Land of My Sojourn: The Landscape of a Faith Lost and Found by Mike Cosper
Also by this author: Land of My Sojourn: The Landscape of a Faith Lost and Found
Published by IVP on February 27, 2024
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Leadership, Memoir
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"In the years since leaving local church ministry, I've devoted an enormous amount of time and resources to examining the church's often troubled witness, its ongoing crisis of leadership, and the epidemic of narcissism, abuse, and cover-up that has continued to emerge year after year. This book is about my journey both before and undergirding that work―the shattering of dreams and the grace that restored a broken faith in the aftermath. It's a story about grace leading me home when I thought all was lost.

Taken together, my encounters with Peter, Elijah, and Jesus connected to indelible images from my time in Israel and formed a new spiritual landscape in my mind, one with enough gravity to draw my feet back to solid ground. My hope is that as I tell this story you might find echoes of your own. I pray if you're in the wilderness, you might find that though the territory is a mystery, you are far from alone. Most of all, I pray that you rediscover that Jesus is chasing you like a lover . . . right through heaven's gates."

In this spiritual memoir, Mike Cosper reflects on key experiences and turning points in his life that took him to thrilling highs and crushing lows. Over recent years, Cosper has spoken and written a great deal about abuse, cover-ups, and other leadership crises in the church at large, and he shares his personal story here, intertwining it with the apostle Peter’s spiritual journey as shown in the gospels. Cosper draws parallels between his own and Peter’s experiences, exploring their spiritual highs, eventual losses and disillusionment, and choice to keep following Jesus anyway.

Cosper digs deeply into some of Peter’s possible thoughts and motivations, pushing back against simple and easy explanations that people typically throw around to explain some of Peter’s moments of weakness. He explores some of the deeper issues at play, such as the natural desire to stay in moments of spiritual splendor, wanting to set camp where everything feels wonderful instead of having to journey through the harder times as well. Cosper writes about his experiences helping found a unique and groundbreaking church, and he writes about how hard it has become to strike the right balance between acknowledging all of the good that he was involved with and all of the hardships that came later.

That church went through went through a long, tumultuous period of crisis that Cosper now looks back upon with new eyes, better understanding the dynamics at play. He writes about the immense burdens that he, his wife, and other ministry families carried at that time, and about the cold, unfeeling way that higher-ranking leaders pushed him out of vocational ministry. As he explores his feelings of disillusionment and grief, he reflects on how complicated his memories are now, with both sacred moments and emotional minefields folding in on each other. His heartfelt reflections will be relatable to others who have experienced similar traumas and losses, and I appreciate his careful efforts to be fully genuine without sharing too many details about other people.

Land of My Sojourn: The Landscape of a Faith Lost and Found is a unique book with many different themes and elements surrounding faith, disillusionment, and perseverance. I have only scratched the surface here, drawing out the elements that made the biggest impression on me, and other people may have different primary takeaways. This is a rather unusual book, since it isn’t a Christian living guide, a work of theology, or a standard memoir, but its many combined elements are heartfelt and honest, and can greatly encourage people going through similar losses and struggles.