In this book, Aaron Simmons takes us on a trip to the mountains to reflect on the
meaning of life. In a world too often defined by a quest for “success” that leaves us
empty, alone, and anxious, Simmons seeks “faithfulness“ outdoors with thinkers
and artists from Aristotle to Kierkegaard, Sartre to Anne Lamott, and Kendrick
Lamar to Donovan Woods. Simmons invites us to rethink what it means to make
choices, take risks, be alone and silent while cultivating friendships, and to find our
calling by facing our vulnerability. In the end, Simmons shows that faithfulness is
more than a religious concept. It is about living a life of risk with direction.
"Time with Simmons is well-spent. We see plainly what Kierkegaard taught us: how to take our lives seriously."
"Bringing together personal stories, reflections from Kierkegaard and other philosophers, and occasional references to popular culture, Aaron Simmons asks what it is to live a faithful (although not necessarily religious) life. Inviting us along as he camps, bikes, and hikes, the answers he provides on this journey—at once open and urgent—prompt us to consider our own lives with the seriousness they deserve."
"This Thoreau-like reflection could be called "Mountain Biking with Kierkegaard." If you take the ride and you should, you will imbibe lessons like the connection between avoiding trees on your mountain bike and avoiding becoming a crowd person. Some of the deepest philosophical probes are on humility, hospitality, and gratitude, but all the philosophical points are artfully connected with embodied experience."
"Aaron Simmons treats his readers to a lively discussion of philosophical heavyweights, contemporary music, personal recollections and hard-won wisdom, all the while guiding and goading us to think about how we live our lives. Quick-witted, endlessly inventive and invigorating, Simmons sets a brisk pace in a text that is at once an excellent introduction to philosophical discourse, a free-wheeling chronicle of a scholar's life, and a model of effective teaching, with fresh takes on the contributions of thinkers from Aristotle to Nietzsche, from Judith Butler to Jean Chrétien. Most remarkable, perhaps, is Simmons's disarming gift for alternating between light-hearted banter, pointed social critique and earnest Kierkegaardian exhortation. A trip to the mountains imminently worth taking."
"What is worthy of my finitude? There's a term mountain bikers use: dropping in. It means you're entering a steep, technical trail. It's time to trust your training, conditioning, and preparation. Everything contracts to muscle memory, instinct, and awareness—pure presence in the moment. But only if you commit, really commit. J. Aaron Simmons calls us to live like that. Do the work of inquiry and examination, ask the hard questions, but not as an intellectual exercise or as careerists. Instead, he would have us undertake the care of the self in order to commit and be present in our finitude: to know the love of family and friends, the beauty of nature, and the presence of the transcendent. The mountains are calling and I must go, runs the saying. Well, your life is calling and you must go. Take this book with you for the journey."
"Simmons claims that he "marks his life by rivers." As an angler, I do as well. Simmons's book, Camping with Kierkegaard, shows that faith and hope may be best found on a trout stream (or a mountain bike trail or hiking path) and are the pact every angler signs when they step into the water. Faith and hope exist in the next cast, the changing of a fly pattern, and the unknown of what's beyond that bend of the river up ahead. They are found in the simple act of becoming the thing you already are."