Living Lent: 30 ways to love life and live lent
Book Review: Like the Wideness of the Sea: Women Bishops and the Church of England by Maggi Dawn (DLT, 2013)

Reading for Lent

Still time to pick up a book for Lent. Here's three recommendations - all available I think on kindle.

1. The Shape of Living by David Ford. This was the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent book way back in 1997, but has been recently reprinted by SCM with a new preface. (In the Preface, Ford says he writing a sequel of sorts called The Drama of Living). This is the book I am using for our Lent series at church. Ford explores our we cope with being overwhelmed - whether it is by people, desire, goodness, secrets, work, suffering or joy. He writes well, interacting all the way through with the poetry of his friend Michael O'Siadhail and scripture. He is trained as a theologian (Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge), but a theologian interested in how life is shaped by faith. My favourite bit in the book is his discussion of vocation - fantastic!

2. Barefoot Disciple by Stephen Cherry. This was the Archbishop of Canterbury' Lent book in 2011. These Lent books are sometimes hit and miss, but this is one of the hits. The whole book is an exploration of humility as a central virtue of the Christian life. Each chapter is shaped by narrative and reflection covering pride, grumbling, being childlike, becoming a stranger, generous living, a bodily spirituality.

3. Abiding by Ben Quash. This is this year's Archbishop of Canterbury' Lent book (the last chosen by Rowan Williams). It may not get the attention it deserves, because things like the Big Read (which are reading Rowan Williams' book on Narnia) and LoveLifeLiveLent, seem to have a higher profile. Taking the image of 'abiding' found in the Bible, and especially John's gospel, Quash, in conversation with culture (art, music, film, novel) and St. Benedict (amongst others), looks at what it means to abide in the body, in the mind, through care, in relationships, in exile, through wounds and the peace of God. It is a more demanding read than the other books above, but well worth the effort.

Of course other books would include Maggi Dawn's Giving It Up, Sam Wells, Power and Passion, and Rowan Williams' Christ on Trial.


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