I was 46, still finding my way back into a Christianity I’d abandoned more than 20 years before. A hunger for the felt presence of God burned within me, but two decades of academic life had turned me into an entrenched skeptic. So I applied for a research grant, took a leave from my teaching job, and set off around the world alone, hoping to meet the living God in cultures not my own. I did, but in ways so overpowering that my intractable skepticism was forced into overdrive and I came home in greater turmoil than ever.

It was then that I found Morton Kelsey’s Companions on the Inner Way. Published in 1983, it posits that the reigning materialist worldview makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Western Christians to accept the existence of a viable spiritual realm. Worse, this physicalist bias has led to our abandoning centuries of acquired wisdom about how to live an intimate life with God. Kelsey showed me that my dilemma was real and that I was under a spell that needed to be broken. Then—mirabile dictu—he taught me how to break it.