Review: The Shadow Doctor by Adrian Plass via @Hodderfaith

Adrian Plass writes at the beginning of his book:

This book, probably the most difficult I have ever written, is dedicated to my friends.

I can see why it was so hard to write. It is a beautiful, painful and deeply honest book about how hard life can be, how we think it should be and how it actually is.

It could only be have written by someone who understands suffering and it’s challenge to faith first hand.
I thought reading the blurb it might be one of those books where the protagonist offers beauty and light in a dark world and you go away feeling warm and fuzzy.

It wasn’t. It was so much better than that.

I don’t really want to recount any of the story but instead to encourage you to read it yourself.

Adrian Plass communicates truths through his rich and vivid story telling style which I don’t think I would have been able to receive through a sermon. 

The Shadow Doctor allows you to travel with its characters as they search for answers to faith and suffering. So much better than being “taught at” if you see what I mean.

I read this book with an ache in my heart but I finished it with such hope for the journey. I am profoundly grateful for the sacrifice Plass obviously made in writing this book.

I hope you will read it… Preferably more than once.

Book review: Finding God In The Waves by @mikemchargue via @hodderfaith

I’m not a fan of every book I review (although I always try to be respectful) but in this case, I am an all out fan. 

Mike’s book is honest, thought provoking and deeply encouraging. And besides, any book that provokes this many book marks has to be worth a read:

Mike takes us through the journey of his faith, doubt, loss of faith and return to a new deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. He also offers a way forward for anyone who is interested in faith but doesn’t want to compromise their integrity by pretending science doesn’t matter.

Although I found many of the difficulties Mike has faced didn’t apply to me, I still found all he had to say a trigger to exploring my own faith more deeply. And for anyone who has come or is coming from the same place as Mike, the book will be a God send.

While I found most of Mike’s axioms not enough – he states that each is at least– I found his Bible one to be what I have always believed and was taught at home:

THE BIBLE is at least a collection of books and writings assembled by the Church that chronicles a people’s experiences with, and understanding of, God over more than a thousand years. Even if  that is a comprehensive definition of the Bible, study of Scripture is warranted to understand our culture and the way in which many, many people come to know God.

I would add that it is also a way in which God speaks to me today.

Perhaps that is why I have never seen an argument between science and faith in my own life.

I do see it in people all around me though, especially amongst the young people I work with and Mike’s book is invaluable to me as a window into that perspective and a help in it.

Mike also has much to say about how the church treats other views to its own and how it deals with doubt and I found myself cheering him on as I read. We all need to learn that being a bully (ie stamping on someone else to make yourself feel better) never did win converts or keep people faithful.

Finally, I found myself deeply encouraged by Mike’s attitude and obvious, overflowing love for people and God. I finished the book truly blessed and I think you will too.

You can buy it here: Amazon

And here: Eden

You can also find Science Mike’s weekly podcast on iTunes and podbean.

Beautiful new #EnidBlyton books from @hodderfaith

If you are looking for a nostalgic present for an adult or a nice gift for a tween, take a look at these lovely Enid Blyton books:

I’m going to use them as prizes in my younger youth group and in church… There is nothing like a free book to bring joy. In the meantime if you want to buy them on Amazon:

Noah and other Old Testament stories
The first Christmas and other New Testament stories 
The land of far beyond

#Bookreview Rob Bell’s #novel Millones Cajones

So I just finished reading Rob Bell’s novel Millones Cajones and oh my goodness it’s beautiful. And clever. And free…
You can get it here:
http://robbell.com/portfolio/millones-cajones/

It has also been a timely read for me, but then I suspect it’s theme is one an awful lot of people need to think about.

As ever Rob Bell is clever, deep and interesting. His book is one I will have to read more than once as I percolate its meaning to me…

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have.

#Bookreview “colourless Tsukuru Tazaki” by #Murakami

I have been meaning to read a book by Haruki Murakami ever since “what I talk about when I talk about running” came out. I have yet to read that, but having read this novel, I intend to read everything he has written.

image

This book really is, as the Literary Review puts it “surprisingly painful and poignant”.

It is not a happy book, but it is deeply beautiful. There are some strong sexual descriptions at one point, and if that sort of thing puts you off, I wouldn’t read this book, but having said that, it isn’t gratuitous and is in context.

What I found especially powerful, is how well Murakami draws the reader into the world of Tazaki. It is like we have a little space in his heart and soul from which we can observe his life.

Particularly as a woman I was interested in the maleness of this book, it was a window into the way this man saw his life and himself, so familiar and yet so alien.

All in all, if you want a sunshine book, this isn’t it, but if you want to take a meaningful journey, to pilgrimage with colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and find your mind richer for it, this is the book for you.

#nanowrimo or not

You know you are sunk when you get to 28,000 words and realise you just don’t want to be writing the story you are. So although practically I could finish nanowrimo this year, I won’t.

Life is too short to be writing stuff you are not interested in. However I will keep on writing.

I have been reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird  and she talks about writing because you want to write, not because you want to get published. That, is a very liberating thing, because it means you can write what you feel drawn to, not what you feel you “should” be.

And nobody likes shoulds.

So today I will write… Something. And when it isn’t an awful first draft, I shall post it ❤