Dr. Kelly Pigott takes readers on a spiritual journey in new book

January 25, 2019 Ashlyn Schulle, Staff Writer

Dr. Kelly Pigott, Associate Professor of Church History here at Hardin-Simmons University, recently published a book focused on finding and deepening one’s faith, titled From Eden to Heaven: Spiritual Formation for the Adventurous. The book takes the reader on a journey through the stages of finding their own faith: Departure, Initiation, Transubstantiation, Struggle, Victory, and Return.

A startling statistic and a desire to find some way to help was part of the inspiration for the book. “87 percent of youth that grow up in the Baptist church drop out by the age of 30,” said Pigott. John Hunt, Instructor of Ministry at Hardin-Simmons, had the idea to take a pilgrimage to Ireland, with the goal of providing an experience that would deepen the faith of the people on the journey. In the same way, Pigott wanted to guide people to different places and stages of faith through this book, which he refers to as a “hero’s journey.”

The book’s title refers to the two endpoints of life, Eden and Heaven. “We start out in Eden, but we get that pebble in the shoe feeling, and we have to venture,” said Pigott. This is the start of the journey, which eventually ends with the final place, Heaven. Between these two points, Pigott urges the reader to find their “resurrection place,” or where a person is called to “come alive.”

Pigott uses peregrinatio, the concept of a faith journey taken “for the love of God,” as an outline for the book.

“Salvation is not a status…faith is an ongoing process,” said Pigott. “Each day of your life you have to wake up and ask, ‘what must I do to be saved today?’” His goal for the book is that it be “a tool to help equip people to make faith their own and to do their own homework,” because “until you do your own homework you don’t have your own faith.”

This book is special to Pigott because it is deeply personal to him. When he found himself in a dark place after completing school, he realized that no one had ever talked about being a believer and going through dark times in life. “No one told me [doubt] was necessary…it was always, ‘if you doubt, you lack faith,’” said Pigott. He believes it is important, even crucial, to have doubts and ask hard questions while trying to navigate through one’s faith walk, and made it a priority to make that point in the book.

“[The book] was born out of a deep and personal struggle,” said Pigott. It is the book he wishes he could have had going through school and being in a tough place in his journey.

Another aspect of the book is journaling, which readers are encouraged to do as they read. “You really have to journal through this book,” said Pigott. “Journaling is a spiritual formation discipline…it forces you to wrestle with the hard questions.”

On his website, spilledcoffeeonancientscrolls.com, there are journal prompts for readers that choose to take Pigott’s advice and journal through the book.

From Eden to Heaven: Spiritual Formation for the Adventurous was published in December 2018 and will be implemented in some of Pigott’s theology classes starting this semester.