About the Book and Author

Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
By Jim Burklo

About the Book

While on a hike near his deep southwestern home one morning, a quirky teenager named Joshua T. Stoneburner experiences an apparition in a cholla cactus. Inspired, disturbed, and curious, Joshua goes on a quest to visit every religious community he can find to try to uncover the meaning of his vision. Did he see the mother of God in that cactus? Something else? Joshua isn't giving up till he finds out, even if it turns his teenage years upside-down.

Joshua's search for clues leads him into an array of spiritual experiences, each one packed with characters as enlightening and exasperating as they are entertaining. Along his way, Josh meets stranded Mexican immigrants, a tormented church janitor, a café waitress and her young fraternal twins, and a Native American scout for drug smugglers. As he learns compassion, he teaches his own fumbling father how to love.

In "Souljourn," Joshua Stoneburner is a "coyote" spiriting us across the border of laughter and tears and calling us into a newfound appreciation of this country's remarkable religious diversity.

"Souljourn" is a novel with a mission: to inspire readers to explore the world's religions, in their own "back yards." "Souljourn" moves people to learn more about their own faiths by engaging personally with religious communities other than their own. It also inspires people to put their faith to work for the common good. The book is a conversation-starter—in living rooms, coffee shops, college dorms, and faith communities everywhere.

About the Author

Reverend Jim Burklo is the Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California.

Reverend Burklo received his B.S. in Social Relations from UC Riverside, his M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and his ministerial ordination from the United Church of Christ. He teaches a course in Public Policy at USC's School of Social Work and he is a faculty mentor for the Professionalism course at the Keck School of Medicine. For eight years, he served as the ecumenical Protestant minister for the United Campus Christian Ministry at Stanford University, where he supervised student projects, retreats, and internships related to spirituality and social justice. Reverend Burklo serves on the board of directors of Progressive Christians Uniting and is the author of four books - "Open Christianity: Home by Another Road" (2000), "Birdlike and Barnless: Meditations, Prayers, Poems, and Songs for Progressive Christians" (2008), "Hitchhiking to Alaska: The Way of Soulful Service" (2013), and a novel, "Souljourn" (2013).

While at Stanford University, Reverend Burklo served as the vice-chair of the Community Working Group-Opportunity Center, which built a $24 million housing complex for Palo Alto's homeless residents. Reverend Burklo previously served as the Executive Director of the Urban Ministry of Palo Alto (now part of InnVision Shelter Network, Inc), an interfaith non-profit cooperation serving thousands of homeless people annually. He was also the Associate Director of the Ecumenical Hunger Program, an interfaith hunger relief agency based in East Palo Alto. Reverend Burklo is the former pastor of Sausalito Presbyterian Church, a church characterized by its progressive theology and creative liturgy. He is also the former pastor of College Heights Church, a church distinguished by its commitment to spiritual growth through interfaith exploration.

6/15/2015 4:00:00 AM
  • Book Club
  • Books
  • About