Paul Fiddes in conversation
Interview with John Colwell

Why Have You Forsaken Me? by John Colwell now available

John Colwell's new book Why Have You Forsaken Me? was due out last December, but got caught up in the problems Paternoster were then facing. It is now finally available. It has eight chapters reflecting both on Psalm 22 and his own struggles with manic depression.

1. Into the Darkness

2. Reflecting on the Darkness

3.Darkness and the Psalmist

4. Darkness and Israel

5. Christ's Human Darkness

6. Christ's Unique Darkness

7. Darkness and God

8. Darkness and Presence

The book is Colwell's most personal so far - the book opens with the story of his experience of manic depression whilst being a church minister and college tutor. The bulk of the book them explores how we trust God in his absence. Through the book Colwell argues for the importance of lament in worship over against worship that operates only as praise. He is critical of contemporary worship scene. In later chapters he also argues against a understanding of atonement in terms of penal substitution, the doing away with the doctrine of impassibility and a distorted gospel that sees miracles as everyday (and so not they cannot be described as 'miraculous') and healing as a right. The book is a departure from his earlier books on ethics, the sacraments and Christian doctrine. It is a 'Personal Reflection' as the subtitle indicates. Although exploring not an easy subject matter - illness and the absence of God - it is written in the usual Colwell style: the occasional anecdote, the helpful and clear engagement with theological questions (here most notably the doctrines of atonement and impassibility) and a readership that always seem to keep the pastor and interested Christian in mind (that is, the so what question is always near the surface). While there are other books that deal with the absence of God and illness (I can think of several Philip Yancey ones), John provides a theological exploration with honest reflection that I think will be helpful to many.



Terry Wright

Thanks for the heads up, Andy.

Jason Goroncy

Yeah thanks Andy. It's been added to my Wish List. Cheers.

Graeme Clark

Thanks for this Andy. Cf also Kathyrn Greene-McCreight 'Darkness is My Only Companion' which is also a personal reflection in which she confronts the issues raised by her bipolar life.

For teaching or helping others I value Marion Carsons' 'The Pastoral Care of People with Mental Health Problems'


Just begun reading this. The first two chapters are excellent reads.

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