Most spirituality writing finds the Holy in green pastures or beside still waters.
But most people live in cities.
What might an intentionally urban spirituality look like?
“Holy Spokes: The Search for Urban Spirituality on Two Wheels” is my attempt to articulate how cities shape us as spiritual people.
After my car died, I learned to ride a bicycle as my primary mode of transit. Little did I know that riding my bicycle everyday through Boston’s intense seasons would teach me to see all of my city. It turns out its much easier to “love thy neighbor” when you actually see your neighbor. By bike, I became a Bostonian.
I have three deep desires with this book. First, I hope the diverse, joyful, defiant cycling community I’ve come to love and respect sees their thick spiritual life in the pages of this book. Cyclists are a hearty bunch. They ride in rain and snow and sun. They ride because they have to and they ride because they want to. They ride in hostile spaces and claim their dignity. They ride because its more fun to take a bike than sit in traffic. These people have a discipline to ride that is religious in their devotion.
Second, I hope traditionally religious folks can see the deep spiritual and religious lives of people outside our doors and beyond the usual religious communities. It’s super-easy to disparage the spiritually curious as indecisive or non-committal. What I’ve found instead is a robust spirituality. Maybe we religious people have something we could learn from the discipline of practical cyclists.
Finally, this book is a hymn of praise to cities. I’m convinced God has a preferential option for the urban. In cities, we learn to live together. And for those of us who claim the name of Christians, our story starts in a garden, but ends in a city.
The book is structured around the parts of the bicycle, a chapter on each. Each chapter also explores a distinctly urban spiritual discipline. I promise, you don’t have to be a spandex-clad roadie to read this book. In fact, it’s not written for that audience at all, but for those of us practical cyclists who bike to get around and those who are thinking maybe they could.
Holy Spokes is published by Eerdman’s Publishing, in print in April 2017. You can pre-order it here and here with Amazon. And for extra-credit, you can purchase it through my neighborhood bookstore, Papercuts.
Check out this brief preview with Publisher’s Weekly.