I never read Pilgrim’s Progress. I think it may have been in a box of Classics at home and I have a vague recollection that I once started it, but soon abandoned it. I may have been about 14 at this time and frankly Daphne du Maurier was much more luring then.
However, I have just finished Pippa’s Progress by Simon Parke (the columnist in the Church Times and good egg, by the sounds of it). The blurb says:
Times have changed since John Bunyan wrote his classic Pilgrim’s Progress, telling of Pilgrim’s journey up the Hill of Difficulty and through the Slough of Despond to the Celestial City. Yet people in their millions still seek meaning in their lives and speak of journeying towards a goal. Everyone on earth seeks a heaven. This is the story of the journey of Pippa, a 21st-century Pilgrim. Simon Parke’s witty and insightful modern-day re-telling of Pilgrim’s Progress follows the original’s premise of a pilgrim’s journey to heaven, but this time through the trials and temptations of our secularised, postmodern culture. With plenty of advice and direction, not all of it helpful, from the likes of Glossy Mags, Shaw Thynge and Dee Straction, Pippa’s epic journey along the Path of Yortether includes stops at Headspin’s Hallucinatory Mental Circus, the Rock of Hidden Self, the city of Socialmeja and the village of Lower Bile.
I loved this book and fairly romped through it. However, it is one of those books that requires a more thorough study or you are in danger of missing some real gems among its pages. At some time I think I need to go through it again with a pencil this time, underlining and marking passages of note. I’m sure there’s plenty sermon material in here too. And lots of ‘Aha’ moments too.
If you are a reader of Parke’s column you will also know he has a delicious sense of humour which is also evident in Pippa’s Progress. I think this would also make a good Confirmation present – or adapted as a course perhaps?