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Category: Books

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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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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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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Reminiscence Work with Older Adults

Reminiscence Work with Older Adults

The Multi-Sensory Reminiscence Activity Book 52 Weekly Group Session Plans for Working with Older Adults Sophie Jopling and Sarah Mousley Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2017 ISBN: 9781785922398   There are few of us in early middle age who do not know someone who is living with some of the opportunities and challenges of growing older. Sadly for some of our loved ones this includes a significant amount of confusion and memory loss caused by dementia -related illness. Jessica Kingsley continues its…

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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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Waiting and Wondering

Waiting and Wondering

I find myself along with others caught up in quite absurd activity as ‘ the Christmas rush’ bears down. I discover that in this maddness I have no evenings free before Christmas and wonder how much of this is of my own making! An early flurry of sleet and the promise of snow for some tomorrow  took me back to my childhood and our open fire – filled with coal not wood as in this image. The heat and warmth and…

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Lent Books 2017

Lent Books 2017

Here is my wander through a number of Lent books offering you a little glimpse into some of what is available. Justin Welby, Dethroning Mammon. This short book well organised into six chapters and offers the possibility of a basis for lent study on the challenging question of what might a Christian make money and materialism. It is focused and grounded in Scripture and asks persistent and searching questions of the reader. How do we handle the power of money?…

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Vulnerability and Care: Christian Reflections on the Philosophy of Medicine by Andrew Sloane

Vulnerability and Care: Christian Reflections on the Philosophy of Medicine by Andrew Sloane

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 and pain at the way this person was treated – I suspect that this experience may well be replicated across the…

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How do we access the spiritual?

How do we access the spiritual?

Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2015; 280 pages; £19.99 ISBN 9781849054973 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 the office of health secretary. This speculation triggered a great deal of social…

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Improving our understanding of Dementia ?

Improving our understanding of Dementia ?

  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.  ( www.jkp.com ) 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 and Whatever the hell happened to my brain?…

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Spiritual Accompaniment

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…

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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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Jim Birren

Jim Birren

REMEMBERING JIM BIRREN   One of the towering figures in gerontology has died : James E. Birren, founding Director of the Andrus Gerontology Center, at the University of Southern California, died at the age of 97.  His achievements were extraordinary   Foremost among these, is creation of the Andrus Gerontology Center at USC, as well as the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.  His books and other publications are extensive, and many distinguished gerontologists have been  nurtured by Jim Birren.  To get just a…

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What kind of Ministry? Chaplaincy as Mission

What kind of Ministry? Chaplaincy as Mission

Chaplaincy Ministry and the Mission of the Church Victoria Slater, SCM Press 2015, 160 pages, pbk, no price marked, ISBN 978 0 334 05315 6   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…

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The Quest for meaning in later life

The Quest for meaning in later life

P. G. Coleman, D. Koleva and J. Bornat, eds., Ageing, Ritual and Social Change: Comparing the Secular and Religious in Eastern and Western Europe. Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2013. Pp. xviii, 283. Pb. £19.99. ISBN 978-1-4094-5215-7. This volume is a compelling and authoritative contribution to the literature that seeks to understand our quest for meaning in later life. The twelve essays, carefully organised and edited, make a significant contribution to our understanding of the nature of ageing in…

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Sarum College Bookshop : Book of the Month

Sarum College Bookshop : Book of the Month

  ‘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…

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Writing the Self: David Lodge

Writing the Self: David Lodge

‘Quite a good time to be born’ – by David Lodge   As an avid reader of biography and autobiography it is intriguing, I think, to wonder about the criteria of choice at work in the writing of such texts. Put simply, what you put in and what you leave out? What might any of us want to do if we wrote the story of our lives? What would we want to say about ourselves? What might we want to…

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Strange Glory : A life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Strange Glory : A life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    ‘Strange Glory’ by Charles Marsh It is always extraordinary to be reminded about the gaps – and sometimes very significant indeed – in our knowledge. The life and death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of these areas. Born in 1906 and executed by the Nazi regime in 1945, this is the story, the biography of a man of enormous contradictions. A German Lutheran with a high-minded and stringent theology seeks to engage in what he believes to be…

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Understanding Age? Face the Future….

Understanding Age? Face the Future….

It has been a great pleasure to offer a Forward to this stimulating contribution the literature on old age by the delightful William Cutting Foreword – (Face the Future. Book 2. Challenges, Joy and Faith for Seniors)   Like many of you reading this book I am thankful for my satellite navigation system.  It is one of those advances in technology that has helped us all to move with confidence to our desired destinations.   However I regret the loss…

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