Forgiveness Remembers

Forgiveness Remembers

Authors Paul Farren & Robert Miller
Publisher Instant Apostle £6.99
Format pbk
ISBN 978190928677

This small book with forewords by Bishop Richard Chartres and the late Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, is packed with insights into the human heart in situations which require understanding and forgiveness. As Catholic and Anglican priests working on opposite sides of the road in Northern Ireland the authors set an example of what a desire for peace can achieve in a society wracked with conflict. The ‘spiralling up to the light of peace from the darkness of hatred’ is explored in many contexts. Illustrations are drawn from the lives of Christians from diverse backgrounds, St Thérèse of Lisieux and Fr Maximilian Kolbe being two examples alongside others less well-known. The authors offer us a challenge to work at forgiving others as well as ourselves, by facing up to the source of our pain, hence the title. This would be a good book to take to a quiet day or retreat and provides useful illustrations for sermons on the theme of reconciliation.

LAURA HILLMAN

Spirituality, Ecumenism

 

God’s Belongers

God’s Belongers

Author David Walker
Publisher BRF £7.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780857464675

This is an important research based examination of how people belong to church. Based on two surveys taken in 2007 and 2009 in the Dioceses of Worcester and Lichfield, Walker outlines four ways – through people, places, one-off events and regular activities – that people belong to the Church. The samples were taken at rural harvest services and Christmas carol services and show information about the attitudes to faith of people who come to church at these times. The findings challenge attitudes of regular churchgoers to those who attend occasionally. Walker argues that people who attend occasionally through people, places or one-off events are co-workers with regular attendees and not objects of mission. He also asks whether it is possible to be a good Christian and not go to church very often. God’s Belongers is full of important questions and issues for PCCs, ministry teams and others to consider. It challenges stereotypes of the ‘not-often-there’ church attendees and deserves wide and careful consideration.

JANICE PRICE

Pastoral, Mission

 

Christianity at the Crossroads

Christianity at the Crossroads

Author Michael Kruger
Publisher SPCK £19.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780281071319

Kruger’s absorbing study shows how the future of the worldwide Christian Church was shaped during the turbulent second century, when all those who had met Jesus were dead. Christians faced enormous challenges. Having emerged from the legal umbrella of Judaism, the early Church learned resilience in the face of frequent, severe persecution from the Roman authorities, and gradually developed leadership structures involving local bishops and presbyters. Kruger shows how the intellectual strength of Christianity was invigorated through significant new writings, and the polemical arguments – culminating in the works of Irenaeus – that were needed to combat the heresies that sprang up throughout the Mediterranean regions. He demonstrates that the New Testament scriptural canon, apart from some brief letters, was essentially in place by mid-century, and suggests that modern Christianity can learn from the prophetic voice of these times. This is a worthy and accessible academic history, with an excellent bibliography.

PETER CLOUGH

History, Patristics

 

Walking with Biblical Women of Courage

Walking with Biblical Women of Courage

Author Fiona Stratta
Publisher BRF  £7.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780857465337

Subtitled ‘Imaginative Studies for Bible Mediation’, this book is really lectio divina for those who might be put off by the term. For each of seventeen characters (or in one case a group) there are biblical passages to read followed by a reflection in the first person as if written by the character herself. Some of these are more convincing than others, and the author admits to a certain amount of licence with facts. A series of questions then prompt further reflection or conversation if used with a group. Footnotes in each chapter helpfully tell you ‘what happens in the end’ or clarify points of cultural context. This is an excellent way to meet lesser-known characters from scripture and the hidden yet pivotal role of some of these women. It is not a feminist critique, although it might provoke some wrestling with difficult contemporary issues and the courage required in our own age. Selecting a handful of characters could make up a study course. This is a useful tool to encourage us to engage with scripture in a less familiar way, and for personal study in a lighter vein.

SUSANNE MITCHELL

Biblical Analysis

 

Mystical Theologian

Mystical Theologian

Author Aidan Nichols
Publisher Gracewing  £14.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780852449042

This is a review and appraisal of the work of Vladimir Lossky, a giant of Orthodox theology in the 20th century. Nichols makes laudatory reference to Archbishop Rowan Williams and his D. Phil. thesis which focussed on Lossky’s work in the world of patristic scholarship and Russian religious thought. This study, by a leading Dominican scholar, highlights its spiritual approach and content. Lossky’s work is reviewed under a series of topic headings, including apophaticism, Meister Eckhart, fundamental theology, Trinity and Creation and Christology. Within each, Lossky’s writings are examined to understand the origins of the thinking and analysed with reference to the writings of the Fathers and other authorities. The comments are detailed and often technical. Though Orthodox theology and tradition have much to contribute to our understanding and practice of Christian life, this book is written by an academic primarily for other specialists. To appreciate and benefit from it fully readers may need a good familiarity with Lossky’s work, that of the early Fathers and of St. Thomas Aquinas.

JOHN NICHOLLS

Trinity, Eastern Orthodox

 

Why Interfaith?

Why Interfaith?

Authors Andrew Wingate and Pernilla Myrelid
Publisher DLT  £12.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780232532340  2016

For anyone who is interested, or already involved in, interfaith encounters, or who feel they should be, this book is an immense treasure trove of people’s stories, experiments, thoughts, triumphs and failures from all around Northern Europe. The editors – Andrew Wingate, Canon Theologian of Leicester Cathedral and Honorary Interfaith Advisor in the Diocese of Chichester, and Pernilla Myrelid, a parish priest and Interfaith Co-ordinator in the Diocese of Linköping, Sweden – believe that interfaith relations are a crucial topic for our time. Patterns of enforced migration and resettlement are in an unprecedented state of change in Northern Europe, leading to new encounters with people of other faiths, a phenomenon which is forcing Christians to rethink their theology and practice. These 40 short and easily accessible essays cover an amazing range of starting points and journeys of individuals and communities as they struggle with these issues. This book is a great starting point for Readers wanting to explore this subject.

CLAIRE DISBREY

Interfaith