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Category: Book Reviews

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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Positive Psychology Approaches to Dementia

Positive Psychology Approaches to Dementia

Positive Psychology Approaches to Dementia Edited by Chris Clarke and Emma Wolverson. Paperback 2016, 288pp ISBN: 978-1-84905-610-6 £24.99 This is a surprising book in so far as it, at first glance, appears to be a technical collection of essays written by experts in the field of dementia and psychology. It makes a distinctive contribution to the literature and is carefully edited and well organised. However it is also attractive in so far as it gives expression to a deep commitment…

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Sarum Centre for Formation in Ministry (Reviewing Becoming a Reverend)

Sarum Centre for Formation in Ministry (Reviewing Becoming a Reverend)

There persists a certain curiosity about clergy with some fixed stereotypes about what kind of people we are or should be. The language, structure and culture of ‘Church’ remains persistently inaccessible and sometimes just incomprehensible. Matt Woodcock is a wise, honest, amusing and candid writer who puts all of his journalistic experience to work in this readable and grounded book. At Sarum College where we have the privilege of forming a new generation of women and men for ministry we…

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Bishop Michael Perham

Bishop Michael Perham

It will be a great privilege to welcome guests to the  Sarum College Bookshop for the launch of Michael Perham’s latest book, The Way of Christ-Likeness. This practical and theological companion to Lent, Holy Week and Easter offers advice on creatively using the church’s most dramatic and transformative liturgies. It explores how commemorating Jesus’ death and resurrection is more than a reminder of the essentials of our faith, but also enables us to enter the familiar stories and discover their…

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Better Disagreement? Public Debate and Dialogue

Better Disagreement? Public Debate and Dialogue

Towards Better Disagreement: Religion and Atheism Paul Hedges JKP 2016 I happen just to have returned from the Swindon office of BBC Wiltshire where I was tasked to review the Sunday papers. I turn now to catching up on some pieces of writing but especially book reviews that have been sat on my desk for too long. Reading the Sunday newspapers reminds me that we live in a complex world struggling to make sense of itself and easily distracted by…

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Understanding Dementia (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)

Understanding Dementia (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)

I am gathering together a small collection of books all published by Jessica Kingsley who is certainly one of the most innovative and ground-breaking publishers working in this field. Their list covering a range of books on dementia is well worth examining. These first two books handle at first hand the experience of living with dementia. People with Dementia Speak Out Lucy Whitman  2015 JKP 304 pages £14.99 Whatever the hell happened to my brain? Living beyond dementia Kate Swaffer…

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Amazing Love : Theology for understanding Discipleship, Sexuality and Mission

Amazing Love : Theology for understanding Discipleship, Sexuality and Mission

Amazing Love: Theology for understanding Discipleship, Sexuality and Mission Andrew Davison, DLT 2016, 114pp pbk This book has been with me over the past few weeks and my reading of it has been shaped by a number of events and experiences. First I attended a celebration of 35 years of a LGBTI support group that had been running in Southampton. It was a rich mixture of looking backwards and forwards in relation to inclusivity and equality. It was particularly important…

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Blessed are the Poor? By Laurie Green

Blessed are the Poor? By Laurie Green

It has taken me some time to digest this book and so commend it to others for both reflection and action. Laurie Green has established a well-deserved reputation for his ministry amongst the poor and voiceless but also for his ability to think theologically. The book took me backwards into my story but also catapulted me forwards ainto imagining what kind of society we are building. Within the tension between history and the future lies the key element in Greens…

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Vulnerability and Care: Christian Reflections on the Philosophy of Medicine

Vulnerability and Care: Christian Reflections on the Philosophy of Medicine

Vulnerability and Care: Christian Reflections on the Philosophy of Medicine Andrew Sloane, T and T Clark, 2016, 211pp, hbk, £84.99 I have recently seen at close hand the work a busy acute hospital having to deal with an older person suffering multiple challenges to well-being caused in the main by intense confusion as a result of the Alzheimer’s disease. The result was shocking and frustrating. Although, of course, a one-off situation which was intensified by my own sense of powerlessness…

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Understanding Spiritual Accompaniment

Understanding Spiritual Accompaniment

Spiritual Accompaniment and Counselling: Journeying with psyche and soul Edited by Peter Masden Gubi Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2015  paperback 192 pages  £16.99 Here at Sarum College (www.sarum.ac.uk)  our two year certificate in spiritual direction is very popular to a wide variety of individuals who wish to build upon, reflect and improve their practice. In a world dominated by individualism, consumerism and materialism all of us need places and people we can draw upon for support, friendship and direction. This is particularly the…

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Loving Later Life An Ethics of Ageing

Loving Later Life An Ethics of Ageing

Loving Later Life An Ethics of Ageing Frits de Lange Eerdmans, 2015, 169 pages, pbk, £12.99 If asked to name one of the urgent ethical priorities for academics and practioners working across a number of sectors it would be to deal with this question ‘what are older people for?’ We are all familiar with the demography – over the past decades we can all expect to live longer and the impact of this is a steady increase in the number of…

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Andrew Walker, Notes From A Wayward Son: A Miscellany

Andrew Walker, Notes From A Wayward Son: A Miscellany

Andrew Walker, Notes From A Wayward Son: A Miscellany, ed. by Andrew D. Kinsey (Cascade, 2015) This is an intriguing, stimulating and rewarding book that offers a space within which Andrew Walkers rather original and distinctive voice can be heard. Some will know Walker through his groundbreaking study of the 1970s and 80s house church movement Restoring the Kingdom (Guildford Eagle, 1998). Others will have been influenced by him through his teaching and oversight of the Centre for Theology, Religion and…

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How Do We Access the Spiritual?

How Do We Access the Spiritual?

How Do We Access The Spiritual Edited by Jonathan Pye, Peter Sedgwick and Andrew Todd, Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2015; 280 pages; £19.99 I review this book (the second week of July 2016) when two particular conversations were at the forefront of my mind. The first was the smooth transition between Cameron and May into 10 Downing Street and the office of Prime Minister. What followed was much speculation about who would hold some of the key offices of state including…

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Performing Pastoral Care

Performing Pastoral Care

Making the case for the relevance of pastoral care today, this book explores the role of pastoral care through the prism of music. Using musical analogies, the author provides a new way of understanding and practising pastoral care, grounded in practical theology. Challenging overemphasis on mission, he shows that pastoral care remains essential to the life of the church, especially when engaging with extreme situations such as dying, suffering or war, and considers the role of pastoral carers in the…

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Good Disagreement? Grace and Truth in a Divided Church

Good Disagreement? Grace and Truth in a Divided Church

Good Disagreement? Grace and Truth in a Divided Church Andrew Atherstone and Andrew Goddard (Editors) Lion Hudson 2015 There is a little bit of the playground and its visceral realities still in all of us. We prefer to get our own way and sometimes go to some lengths to achieve that. We easily dismiss, obstruct, even ostracise those who do not  suit our world view. Indeed if no one is looking any one of us have it within us to inflict…

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Chaplaincy Ministry and the Mission of the Church

Chaplaincy Ministry and the Mission of the Church

Chaplaincy Ministry and the Mission of the Church Victoria Slater, SCM Press 2015, 160 pages, pbk There are three distinctive and attractive characteristics of this book. The first is the authors’ skilful ability to open up her research in an accessible and stimulating way. The second is the quality of theological reflection based, thirdly, in the reflective practice of her experience as a healthcare chaplain. Six chapters work together towards a conclusion in responding two questions: ‘What is chaplaincy?’ and…

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Writing Methods in Theological Reflection

Writing Methods in Theological Reflection

Writing Methods in Theological Reflection Heather Walton, London: SCM Press, 2014 Most readers of this journal will be book collectors. They are necessary tools of our trade as teachers, seekers after wisdom, researchers and writers. Having recently moved house the task of downsizing a library is certainly a demanding judgement. For example it was relatively easy to let go some of my cookery books. With very few exceptions most of these books were simply not useful. Some of the recipes…

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Between Dark and Daylight by Joan Chittister

Between Dark and Daylight by Joan Chittister

Between Dark and Daylight by Joan Chittister I am busy at the moment embarking upon a major exercise of downsizing in preparation for my move to Sarum. This must include books! The process is illuminating. What do we attach ourselves to? All this ‘stuff’ faces me with the paradoxes and contradictions of living and even confronts me with some quite disturbing questions about attachment, loss and the inevitability of change. This is the context within which I read this book….

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What shapes us for happiness?

What shapes us for happiness?

These bricks form part of the place where I live – well over 300 years old – and in need of some repair – history is fascinating. Imagine what life and change they have experienced! Andrew Marr has turned his pen to writing history A History of Modern Britain ( Macmillan 2007). The pages are easy to turn – all 630 of them – as Marr energetically moves the reader through the decades since 1945. Marr is clever – a…

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Wise Politicians?

Wise Politicians?

( ) Most biography falls into the danger of self justification as we attempt to explain, defend or excuse ourselves. Only the very honest or deluded dare to tell it as it is! An official biography must attempt some balance and objectivity and that can be a problem when the subjest is still alive! Kenneth Morgan brings all his skill as a historian to bear upon Foot and the result is impressive – an evaluation of a man who made…

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