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.

Something new, something old and preferably nothing blue.

So apparently the meaning of my life starts today, as I turn 42 😊

And I am planning to take hold of this coming year with both hands.

I saw a @tearfundlife  article recently on how our lives can be a place:

where the outsider is brought close, the excluded are ushered in and the down-trodden are given refuge.


This matters a great deal to me and I want my life to be:

  a roaring fireplace of safety and warmth, rather than a mat that tells you to wipe the dirt from your feet before entering.

So figuring out what that looks like this year is my top priority.

I have other priorities, never stop learning, keep on being creative, find wonder wherever I can and stay well.

So my something new is going to be joining a flower arranging club in January.

My something old will be continuing the diploma I have been doing… well forever really. And the future learn courses I have on the go, and maybe one or two more.
Finally I intend to keep in top of my health, so no blue for me hopefully,  just the gym, proper sleep, lots of prayer and healthy food.

I wonder, what would your old, new and not blue things be?

A fresh start or, the #meaningoflife is #42

It has been a truly horrible autumn. R and I have unexpectedly and at great speed lost an immediate member of R’s family. Separately I have had to face the fact that instead of fully living the life i have, I’ve been desperately clinging to the hope that I might still have a child.
The grief of both these things has floored us. But in spite of all the darkness, Christ’s goodness has shone though. Our church has been deeply compassionate towards us, demonstrating what it really means to be God’s people, in their love for us.

I have handled a lot of all our circumstances really badly and I am grateful for a forgiving husband and a forgiving God. But now it’s time to start again, to set out  on the road once more. We will both journey with grief a good while longer, but I know that the Father has our back.

The broken pieces of our lives will be mended with the gold of Christ’s compassion and we will be called beautiful because of it.

I turn 42 on Thursday and as anyone aquainted with the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy will know, 42 is the answer to  the meaning of life…
I intend to make 42 a year of entering into  the life I have and celebrating all that God has given R and I by living in the hope that Christ has set before me. 

That, in him I can be a force for good. That through him, I can create joy, love and worship for his glory.

May the meaning of 42 be as my dad taught me years ago:

Ours the task

Others the benefit

To God the glory.

The importance of investing in the #small

Democracy is overrated. Or at least ours is. True democracy is of course, priceless, but when you have to put up with a government you didn’t vote for and more to the point, you couldn’t even vote for the party you wanted to it doesn’t look so rosy.

And then there are multinational corporations. You know, the people who have more power than the government. The organisations which really run our lives. Just look at the climate change issue. Or fair trade. Or the living wage.

It makes you wonder what an average Joe could do.

Small actions when lots of people do them add up to world changing big actions, but what if you look around you and you feel like the only one taking any action?

But wait. Your action might not change the world, but it does change you. And lets face it, regardless of what happens in the world, you are still going to have to live your life, and those around you are still going to have to live with you.

If it is right to take care of the planet, it is, regardless of whether anyone else is or not.

For your soul’s sake, invest in the small.

Besides, some people do end up as world changers and they all had to start somewhere, so never despise the small.

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In the end, the colour of your soul is not changed by the number of online petitions you sign, especially if you have slid into slackivism.

But it is changed by the grace of God as you take each small choice, each action and offer it up to him as worship. As we do things because the are right and good, regardless of whether or not they change the world, we find that instead, we are changed and the potential that others around us will be changed appears.

All it takes is one small flame to burst the dark.