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Category: Book Reviews

‘Its not about me’ : Reading Cottrell On Priesthood over a lockdown weekend

‘Its not about me’ : Reading Cottrell On Priesthood over a lockdown weekend

I wonder what you are finding absorbs your time and attention during these strange hours and days? My table at home is gathering some small (and neatly organised) piles of books. Some associated with work and lectures to prepare. Some for pleasure and others  (I hope) for self-improvement !  Stephen Cottrell’s book (On Priesthood : Hodder and Stoughton 2020) arrived last week. I read its 176 pages over two days. It has a deceptive lightness of touch but do not be…

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Take this Journey with Rohr

Take this Journey with Rohr

Richard Rohr The Universal Christ SPCK 2019 ( £9.99) It is an often stated conviction expressed by a wide variety of individuals and groups that the Church, Organised Religion and (important for us here at Sarum College) Theology are in decline. The statistics certainly bears this assertion out. However this should not be our final word that may spread gloom and despondency as we human beings are often drawn into the inhabiting such negativity as life, places and institutions change….

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Back to my Roots? The legacy of Brooke Foss Westcott

Back to my Roots? The legacy of Brooke Foss Westcott

I finished reading Isabel Hardman on turned to thoroughly researched life of Westcott. There were many resonances and connections. As the son of a miner the title was arresting. Ordained in Durham after theological studies at Westcott House Cambridge there were further connections. I have a copy of his commentaries on Hebrews and St Johns Gospel and am in awe of this great mans scholarship, though his style of prose makes its demand on the reader !   Graham Patricks attention to…

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Christmas Reading – what kind of politicians do we have or need?

Christmas Reading – what kind of politicians do we have or need?

I wonder what you will dip into over this holiday season by way of escape or relaxation? I took a risk with this book. The title was arresting and the author the recognisable voice of BBC Radio 4s Westminster  Hour. Of course we live in a complex and contested world and one where the quality of public narrative is inevitably variable but what are we to make of modern politics and those who choose this profession? Hardman is a skilled…

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A Shaking Reality – a new book for Advent from Peter Price

A Shaking Reality – a new book for Advent from Peter Price

A Shaking Reality : Daily Reflections for Advent Peter B Price DLT 2018      Sometimes even the the most faithful of hearts might wonder how our religious words, images and  metaphors make a difference. How do they shape our understanding of the world, God and the practice of believing ? If we desire God to shake and change us then we need to pause and resolve to open ourselves up to the Gospel. On this lifelong journey of transformation we shall need wisdom that often…

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Spirituality in Hospice Care

Spirituality in Hospice Care

Spirituality in Hospice Care How Staff and Volunteers Can Support the Dying and Their Families Edited by Andrew Goodhead and Nigel Hartley Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2017, 240pp (pbk) ISBN: 9781785921025 £19.99   The concepts of spirituality and spiritual care are complex. This book makes a distinctive and important contribution to the growing literature in this area. It is well organised and carefully written. The chapters narrate the experience of engaging in the support of those dying and others who accompany…

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In a Glass Darkly: The Bible, Refection and Everyday Life

In a Glass Darkly: The Bible, Refection and Everyday Life

In a Glass Darkly: The Bible, Reflection and Everyday Life Zoe Bennett, Christopher Rowland   SCM Press £25 (978-0-334-05422-1)   Moments of honesty and candour can be both refreshing and threatening in equal measure. I recently heard an intelligent and energetic parish priest make a passionate plea for Christians to be more honest about change and decline in organised religious life. The question and challenge was put so positively it was difficult to hear the plea as anything else but creative….

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Still Growing : The Creative Self in Older Age

Still Growing : The Creative Self in Older Age

Still Growing The Creative Self in Older Adulthood Donald Capps The Lutterworth press 2015, PB 208pp, 9780718893910, £16.50.   This is the most delightful of books in its thoroughness, scholarship and creativity. It has all the potential to transform the readers understanding of the nature of age. In our functional and reductionist world that over values youth, strength and output these seven chapters challenge much negativity around the shape of older age.   Carefully organised into three parts Capps explores…

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Not for Profit – what kind of education will equip us for the future ?

Not for Profit – what kind of education will equip us for the future ?

Looking backwards and wondering ‘what if’ is an exercise that requires care and some measure of wisdom. However, we need to engage in the ‘what if’ questions to nurture reflexivity and so challenge ourselves to be energised by the possibilities of change. So here is a question – if you could turn the clock back what would you change about the way you were educated? What have the processes of formal or informal learning given you for life? Where are…

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Holiday reading (1) Gordon Brown My life, Our Times Bodley Head 2017.

Holiday reading (1) Gordon Brown My life, Our Times Bodley Head 2017.

            Having  successfully downsized my living and therefore ‘storage’ arrangements I  think twice about buying a book! I was, however,  immediately drawn to this political autobiography, not least because on the two occasions I met Gordon Brown I found him humane, reflective and generous. Retired politicians, we are told, are generally more attractive than practising ones because possibly they can no longer do any harm. This is a life meticulously well written with a careful attention to detail. There…

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Bradbury on Practical theology and Pierre-Andre Liege : Book Review

Bradbury on Practical theology and Pierre-Andre Liege : Book Review

Practical theology and Pierre-Andre Liege : Radical Dominican and Vatican II Pioneer Nicholas Bradbury AshGate 2015 £65.00 ISBN 9781472418708   This is giant of a text from the priest with long experience of ministry, learning, leadership and reflective practice. The coherence and authority of this experience and skill as a reflective practitioner is demonstrated through the ten chapters that explore the life and work of Pierre-Andre Liege. One of the foremost French theologians of the 20th century, Liege influenced John…

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Conundrums in Practical Theology : Book Review

Conundrums in Practical Theology : Book Review

  Conundrums in Practical Theology. By Joyce Ann Mercer and Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, Boston: Brill, 2016. 320 pages. $76. (PBK). ISBN 978-90-04-32423-7. Reviewed by: James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College, Salisbury and Visiting Professor of Theology, the University Winchester UK   All those engaged in learning and teaching will have a system for organising books and resources of information. They may be, inevitably, a number of systems that may range from ad-hoc freedom through to absolute order. I have never…

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Visiting the Memory Café ; Embracing better Dementia Care

Visiting the Memory Café ; Embracing better Dementia Care

Visiting the Memory Café and other Dementia Care Activities       Evidence-based Interventions for Care Homes Edited by Caroline Baker and Jason Corrigan-Charlesworth. Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2017, ISBN: 9781785922527 £16.99 They can be few families who are not affected by an individual who is engaging with some degree of significant memory loss. For some the prospect of old age is rather haunted by the possibility of having to embrace dementia. Understandably we fear the loss of our memory and its instrumental part…

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The Moral Heart of Public Service

The Moral Heart of Public Service

The Moral Heart of Public Service – Edited by Claire Foster Gilbert Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2017) ISBN 9781785922558  £18.99 Westminster Abbey takes its location to serve our national life with utmost seriousness. As well as attracting visitors from across the world the Abbey also seeks to engage with a range of major institutions and public figures, not least the British Parliament. The Westminster Abbey Institute was founded in 2013 to build and develop mutual concern about the world we live…

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Confused Angry Anxious? Why working with older people in care can be really difficult and what to do about it Bo Hejlskov Elven, Charlotte Agger and Iben Ljungmann Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2017 192pp ISBN: 9781785922152 Positive Communication Activities to reduce isolation and improve the well-being of older adults Robin Dynes Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2017 200pp ISBN: 9781785921810     A part of each one of us fears getting older because we see some of the consequences of age in our…

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God Curious & the Importance of Theology

God Curious & the Importance of Theology

God Curious: Exploring Eternal Questions Stephen Cherry JKP 2017   Over 30 years ago I trained for Ministry alongside Stephen at Westcott House in Cambridge. There were three particular things that I remember about Stephen. The first was his reflective intelligence. The second was his readiness always to look beyond the immediate into a broader and wider horizon. The third was his ability as a wordsmith and poet.   Now the Dean of King’s College Cambridge he brings these gifts…

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A Cry of Absence ?

A Cry of Absence ?

  A Cry of Absence Reflections for the winter of the Heart Martin E. Marty W IPF 1983   This narrative emerges out of a particular experience, that of the death of the author’s wife, Elsa, from cancer. Marty narrates the life changing trauma at the opening of the book in the preface and then allows this sad music to shape a reading of Scripture which is searching, searing and strong.   A leading US academic, Marty is widely regarded…

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Embracing our Mortality ?

Embracing our Mortality ?

  Marion Carter Helping children and adolescents think about death, dying and bereavement Jessica Kingsley publishers 2016 £16.99 ISBN 9781785920110   Carlo Leget Art of Living, Art of Dying Jessica Kingsley publishers 2017 £14.99 ISBN   9781785922114   In the UK in recent weeks there has been a great deal of discussion about the ‘British stiff upper lip’ partly enabled by Prince William and Prince Harry talking openly about their struggles following Princess Diana’s death some 20 years ago. Their honesty…

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Understanding the Spiritual Shape of Older Age

Understanding the Spiritual Shape of Older Age

  The Spiritual Dimension of Ageing  Elizabeth MacKinlay Jessica Kingsley Publishers  2017  £19.99 With a background in nursing and specialisation in gerontological nursing much of McKinley’s focus over the past years has been on age and spirituality. Her preparation for Ministry nurtured priest and nurse in a commitment to deepening our understanding of the ageing process, its physical and psychosocial needs, and the common disease conditions of older adults. Her body of research work and books have been a fundamental …

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Relationship-Based Research in Social Work

Relationship-Based Research in Social Work

Relationship-Based Research in Social Work : Understanding Practice Research Edited by Gillian Ruch and Ilse Julkunen Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016, I write this short notice after a brief look over the Sunday newspapers. Misunderstanding, disconnection, prejudice and sometimes sheer blindness seem to characterise our human relationships. The information technology revolution does not seem to have enabled us to deepen our understanding of making human relationships work. Although this book, technical in its scope, will be used mainly by social work…

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