The Year of the Book

It has been quite a year for Agile Arts and the Ratliff family. We feel very blessed to have the opportunity to tell some previously untold stories, and learn a few new ones as well.

Pilgrims on the Silk Road was officially released on January 1st (with a few early-bird copies sneaking out before then). From the halls of Harvard to London’s Oxford Circus to the Colorado Rockies, we’ve made many new friends this year as we spread the word about Pilgrims and our other projects.

On the family side, Tricia has been on a roll with her art career, along with balancing a great IT consulting opportunity and motherhood. Several new galleries are carrying her work, and she had a number of successful shows throughout the year. To catch up on the latest with Tricia, check out her blog here.

Our son, Ari, turns four in a couple of weeks. He did a lot of growing in 2010. What a great little guy he is becoming! Our family is growing too – we have another boy due in March.

Below are the book and documentary highlights from the year. I would love to hear from you. You can drop us a note at the email address below.


London Presentation: The Apocalypse and Its Discontents

Two weeks ago, Walter chaired a panel on global perspectives regarding “the apocalypse” in religion and literature. He also presented a paper at the University of Westminster conference on a key theme of Pilgrims on the Silk Road. The presentation was called The Mennonite Trek to Central Asia: Apocalyptic Debacle or Christian-Muslim Paradigm? (Click here to see the slides and read the transcript.)

Relaunch of

In November, we relaunched the book’s website. This involved discarding the old format in favor of a full-blown WordPress-powered news site. Check it out – and let us know what you think!

Heavens Book Cover

New release – Heavens: Scripture Illuminated by Astronomy

In October, we released a revised and expanded edition of The Heavens: Scripture Illuminated by Astronomy. The new edition features passages about stars, constellations and “the heavens” found in the King James Bible coupled with stunning images from the Hubble space telescope. It also features a new section describing each of the stellar objects featured in the book. This has been a popular gift.

Trek Documentary Wins an Emmy

In July, We traveled to Denver for the Heartland regional Emmy awards ceremony. We bit our nails through most of the show, wondering if Through the Desert Goes Our Journey would win in the music category. The competition was very good, but TTD won the trophy for the title track. (Click here to listen to a sample of the winning music and see images from the documentary.)

Conference Presentation: Mennonites and Modernity

Walter was able to present some of his original research on the trek to Central Asia and the community of Ak Metchet at a conference called “Marginal or Mainstream? Anabaptists, Mennonites and Modernity in European Society.” The presentation at Bethel College (KS) revealed the previously-unknown level of influence Mennonites had in the Silk Road kingdom of Khiva, and the implications the story has for Muslim-Christian relations today. (Click here to see the slides from the presentation and read a transcript.)

Harvard Divinity School Screening

On April 6, we packed up the family and headed for Cambridge, Mass. to show Through the Desert Goes Our Journey at Harvard Divinity School’s Center for the Study of World Religions. Dr. Charles Stang, who teaches a course on Christianity on the Silk Road, made the event possible. We had a great discussion after the film with students and faculty.

Thank you for your interest and support this year. We hope to hear from you soon. Until then, we hope you have a great holiday season and a wonderful new year.


Walter Ratliff
Agile Arts Enterprises