Driven: A Field Guide to the Wilderness chronicles Bill Ireland's journey out of a difficult pastorate and his search for a way to redirect his calling during four years of vocational, spiritual, and physical upheaval. Alluding to the Gospel story of Jesus being driven into the wilderness, Driven is a candid description of Ireland's sojourn and his efforts to make senes of his life. It will speak to anyone experiencing a loss of vocation, identity, or purpose and offers a hopeful way through those difficult times.
In Driven, Bill Ireland has given anyone struggling in a challenging situation, wondering where God is and whether anything makes sense anymore, a great gift. In prose that’s clear and compelling, Bill shares what he learned in the wilderness: that, there, faith is challenged, prayer is transformed, and all the old religious clichés crack under pressure. By pulling back the curtain on his own struggles following a painful job loss, Bill shows us that, even when the way forward seems murky at best, God can still be trusted—though learning to trust will take all we’ve got. And it’s worth it.
—L. Roger Owens
Professor of Christian Spirituality and Ministry
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Call it “wilderness” or “the dark night of the soul.” Call it “forty days of desert” or “pregnant pause” or “threshold.” Whatever the name, this is tough stuff. Most of us hit these walls and hold a public face—a thin facade of “everything is great.” Sometimes, however, we are gifted with “honor, hope and generosity” when honesty wins and the authentic self shows up without any makeup.
Ireland, shed of the external armor of thin success and upward professional ascendancy, shows us the anatomy of these moments—up close. And we are gifted with his honest testimony of integrity and grit, of sorrow and disappointment and his gifted way of writing about them. He is real. And in reading this, we too can become real.
—Linda McKinnish Bridges
Former Founding Faculty and President
Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond
All of us will find ourselves in the wilderness at one time or another and Bill Ireland’s Driven is indispensable for those times. Drawing from his own experience, Bill reminds us that we have reliable guides such as Scripture, spiritual practices, and friendships that will sustain us in those barren, difficult places that are part of life’s journey.
St. David’s Episcopal Church
Contributing editor of The Queer Bible Commentary
Although Dr. Ireland’s wilderness sojourn is personal and therefore unique, he touches on common themes we all confront—to lose and search, to find and renew. His transparency is refreshing and therefore his encouragement to the reader is authentic. By engaging biblical texts as well as including poems and reflections from other writers and thinkers, Ireland helpfully reminds us that there are other guides along the wilderness journey. With pastoral sensitivity and scholarly pragmatism, Ireland offers hope that there is peace on the other side of the wilderness.
—C. Gregory DeLoach
Dean, McAfee School of Theology