RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • Suffering: if God exists, why doesn't he stop it?
    John Morris
    THE implicit answer to the question in the title of this short,
    lively, and accessible book is: “Because human suffering is an
    inevitable part of an evolving world that has the capacity to produce
    human free-will and moral virtue.”

    To get there, Dr Morris taps into those scientists, ranging from
    quantum physicists to cosmologists, who argue that evolution involves
    a tension between order and chaos to produce mutations that are
    fruitful for humankind (alongside, inevit¬ably, other mutations that
    are not). Earthquakes and tsunamis, for example, are essential to
    earth-crust formation even though on occasions they can devastate city
    populations. A God who intervened constantly in this essential process would finally not be a loving God.

    There is nothing especially new about this “resolution” of the problem
    of unwarranted suffering, but it is expressed in pithy ways by this
    Anglican priest and former teacher and tempered by his having a much
    loved but very severely incapacitated grandchild.
    This, for example, is how he ridicules the notion of an overly
    interventionist God (as religious fundamentalists and dogmatic
    atheists alike require): “Were he to do everything for us and rescue
    us from each impending disaster, we would have smaller brains and
    remain immature children. There is no way round it: a loving
    parent-Father has to restrain himself and let his ‘baby’ of virtue climb onto its own two wobbly feet!”

    This will make an excellent, thought-provoking book for a study-group.
    But it misses some points. Tom McLeish’s wonderful Faith and Wisdom in
    Science (OUP, 2014) would have helped to bolster his arguments about
    order and chaos in both science and the Bible.

    He could have explored the more novel idea that dogmatic atheists tend
    to make unscientific claims about the problem of unwarranted
    suffering. And his biblical exegesis is sometimes uncritical. Yet the
    20 famous people (no fewer) that he has persuaded to endorse his book
    are basically right: this is a good read.
    ~ Robin Gill, Editor of Theology for Church Times

  • Finding a Way Ahead!
    Angela Harper
    Synopsis: Finding a Way Ahead! is a book of devotional reflections drawing from experiences of Angela Harper's own healing from a lifelong condition. The reflections are intended to help others, showing that it is necessary to look at various aspects of ourselves in any search for divine healing and wholeness. The notes were originally written for a Time for Healing prayer group; a mix of churchgoers and those who came off the street to join in and who needed someone to talk to, pray with them, and listen. In accessible easy-to-read sections, Angela Harper encourages others to take heart, and to help them find comfort and guidance and coping strategies. Her aim is to give people tools to help turn around their experiences or to see other perspectives.

    Critique: Written by theological expert and chaplain Angela Harper, Finding A Way Ahead! Spiritual Signposts to Healing and Wholeness is a candid, kind-hearted testimony of abiding faith in God. A comforting repository of wisdom, insight, and love, Finding a Way Ahead! is highly recommended. "It's not easy for some people to love themselves. Some believe that it's narcissistic or selfish - but to love yourself means that you are more able to achieve the realistic things you want to do in life, without constantly thinking that you are not good enough; loving yourself means that you are able to comfort yourself." It should be noted for personal reading lists that Finding a Way Ahead! is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99).
    ~ Christian Studies Shelf, Midwest Book Review

  • What We're Afraid to Ask: 365 Days of Healing for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse
    Sherri L. Board
    Jon M. Fleetwood
    Anna M. Jones
    There are many questions child abuse survivors have ... any type of abuse is abuse ... one isn't better or worse than the other ... and everything leaves lasting implications. The worst is when the victim is abused by someone they trust - a parent / spouse / relative / spouse.

    Even though the victims don't ask to be abused, they're left with guilt and shame for ages and as a result, insecurity, self-loathing, self-doubt and lack of self-confidence. Often enough their self-esteem is low. This is the same for emotional, physical and sexual abuse. It is due to their abuse, their inability to defend themselves, probably lack of support in case they confided in anyone and most importantly, the abuse who is often an adult instilling that the victim asked for it!

    Every victim has problem trusting anyone, accepting anyone's help or letting anyone in ... trust me, I know .. They make changes to their life based on their past and often, end up with disruptive habits.

    This book answers several questions those survivors have well into adulthood and those answers are given from Bible or based on Bible. I like that there's a question for each day and the readers can read it as they go ... one for each day. This is a great guide for survivors, counselors, psychologists and individuals who are dealing with abused victims - friends, spouse, partners, siblings, e ~ Sherin Lloyd, GoodReads

  • My Burden is Light
    John Woolley
    This little book, My Burden is Light, read slowly and pondered, will bring peace and joy to the most pressured heart.
    ~ Sister Wendy Beckett, hermit, author and broadcaster

  • Listening to God - Fuel for Ministry?
    John Draper
    John Draper has written a book that brings together the typically monastic practice of lectio divina and the life of a parish priest and worshipping community.
    Just another book prayer? What is distinctive about John Draper's approach is that he anchors prayer in the life of the community. It is not an individual lifestyle choice that we can take or leave, but 'fuel for ministry', as the title says.
    Lectio divina or holy reading is a way of engaging with Scripture in four stages: reading, meditation, prayer, contemplation. Draper sets it in its historical, monastic context, but also stresses that its purpose is conversion of life (one of the Benedictine vows).
    He notes that many of the newer forms of Christian living, whether Fresh Expressions or 'new monasticism', place a high value on contemplative silence and the ruminative encounter with Scripture found in lectio divina and also in saying the psalms in daily prayer.
    These are communal ways of expressing the personal practice of silent meditation and thereby receiving the scriptural text, 'listening' to it, at a deep level of the heart.
    Draper argues that silence and listening to the word of God are essential for ministers of religion, both clergy and Readers, in order not to be overwhelmed by the busyness of their lives. Deep listening and attentiveness is essential to pastoral care, and is fostered through lectio divina. So, he concludes, the disciplined life of prayer and lectio which chartacterises monastic living can be transplanted to the parish community too.
    This short and well-researched introduction could with profit be read alongside the bestselling 'Contemplative Minister' by Ian Cowley.
    My only niggle is that it would have helped to spell out clearly the distinction between meditative silent prayer, when you are thinking, and contemplative silent prayer, when you can lay aside and simply wait on God.
    Otherwise, the book is an important reminder that God calls us to 'be still and know that I am god' (Psalm 46, and that this is resouces us for our active discipleship. ~ Revd Ruth Tuschling, Portsmouth Diocesan Newspaper

  • Seeing the Good in Unfamiliar Spiritualities
    Gethin Abraham-Williams
    I am currently reading (and being amazed by) your "Unfamiliar Spiritualities" book. You cover so many of the situations which I have been seeking to explore for 50 years or more. My own early Calvinistic fundamentalism was first challenged by J.B. Phillips' book "Your God is too Small". And now this eloquent 21st century, rainbow-stole-wearing Ezekiel comes into view, flourishing these insights into so many of things which I had been so clumsily trying to fathom and weave into so many vague fragments of poems! Whereas I had been opening the door of Mystery a bare half-inch or so, and peered through that small gap, you have not only opened that door wide, but you seem to have blown it off its hinges! ~ Robert Irwin, email to author

  • Miss Marple: Christian Sleuth
    Isabel Anders
    Agatha Christie is probably my favorite cozy mystery author. And Miss Marple is my favorite of her characters. I strongly identify with her (though I am married with children and grandchildren -- I am not a spinster). Miss Marple is a realist and sees this wicked world for what it is; and also she has great compassion for the human condition. She has love in her heart.

    Miss Marple said that she believes there is evil in this wicked world, she believes in eternal life, and she also believes in love. I love it! Miss Marple is a perfect example for us to follow. She has a strong sense of right and wrong and she will stand up for what is right!. She is a genuine heroine. We need her. Believing in eternal life, I want to thank you, Dame Agatha Christie for your dear Miss Marple! And thank you, Isabel Anders, for a shining your light upon “a woman for others.” I think the nonfiction book of Miss Marple Christian Sleuth is a beacon of light for Christian women and those who wish they were, just as is the fictional Miss Marple, herself. May we all learn and grow and do our best to walk in His light, to walk with our Blessed Lord Jesus, as did Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.I just stumbled upon Miss Marple: Christian Sleuth and I am so grateful I did. God love you! ~ Amazon Reviewer

  • Finding a Way Ahead!
    Angela Harper
    Angela has a desire to see all set free by Jesus and to know life to the full in Him. Reflecting on her own painful experiences of herself and others, she shares what helps her to release the past and to grow in becoming all God wants her to be. ~ Revd Steven Hembery MA.FCA., Senior Minister, Leigh Road Baptist Church

  • Finding a Way Ahead!
    Angela Harper
    We all experience difficult times in our lives and these are - for better or for worse - very formative. They can strengthen us or destroy us. Christianity, with the cross at its centre, has much to say about dark times and the hope of finding the light. Angela Harper has written an essentially practical book to help people in these difficult times. She bases much of what she writes in the personal experiences of herself and others. The practical nature of the book makes it important for those who want to know what to do rather than discuss why it is happening! I found her words on self worth and dealing with low self esteem especially helpful. ~ Revd Robin Eastoe, Team Rector of Heavitree with St. Mary Steps, Diocese of Exeter

  • Finding a Way Ahead!
    Angela Harper
    I have known Angela and her family for many years. In her book, she explores, with great empathy, the many issues around hurt, fear, suffering and the more painful challenges of life. The whole book is a letter to the reader, engaging us in a conversation drawn from her experiences and others, of suffering and recovery of health.
    Most importantly, not only does Angela emphasise the possibility and need of learning from our painful experiences, but she also reminds us again and again that the blame (against ourselves, others, or God) that so often attaches itself to suffering is a burden we need to deal with and remove on the way to wholeness.
    Angela offers devotional helps and coping strategies for us to begin to think beyond our anxiety and hurt, and even to begin to plan for the future God offers us. This is a book to reflect on and keep dipping into. ~ Revd Bill Eugster, Baptist Minister, Glendale Crossing Places, Wooler

  • Finding a Way Ahead!
    Angela Harper
    I am happy to endorse "Finding a way ahead!" I found that it contained many pearls of wisdom to help people see the brighter side and to help with problems. It is very difficult for many of us to "forgive those who trespass against us", but this book certainly provides some valuable pointers. ~ Ray Pallett, author of They Called Him Al and editor of Memory Lane magazine

  • Finding a Way Ahead!
    Angela Harper
    “Finding a way ahead!" is an uplifting and unique guide to healing. Ideal for anyone living with a chronic illness who is hoping to find new strength from within. The author Angela uses her own experiences of living with a serious disease and how she found strength in learning to love herself more and appreciating all the positive things in life. ~ Una Rose, author of The Tokyo Express

  • Finding a Way Ahead!
    Angela Harper
    How often do we tell people ‘we’re alright’, when asked ‘How are you?’ Many of us don’t want to reveal our worry, fear, our shame or just the pressure and uncertain future that we face. Finding a Way Ahead! is the book that can really help you.
    The author shares her own experiences, and especially an amazing testimony of healing, together with a number of Bible stories and ‘prayerful conversations’ both with the Lord and with friends to help us move from panic to peace, from fear to faith, from hopelessness to happiness, from grief to the godly use of gifts. She invites Jesus in to help solve the confusion and uncertainty that we are facing.
    We are all walking the same road of life, we are wanting to see the ‘way ahead’ clearly, but sometimes there is darkness, doubt and even death. The author provides us with some positive and encouraging signposts and God-given promises that we will give us confidence for the future.
    Finding a Way Ahead! is a book to read from cover to cover, but it is also the book to leave around so you can turn to one relevant chapter in a time of need. It is also the book to pass on to others as a gift with your love and prayers. ~ Canon Michael Cole, editor of Living Light Bible Reflections, Nationwide Christian Trust

  • Clouds of Heaven, Beings of Light
    Sharon Kay Casey
    Clouds of Heaven, Beings of Light
    Sharon Kay Casey
    Circle Books

    Synopsis: How does one describe the indescribable? With trust, the words will come to paint a faint image of that which lives and dwells in us all. "Clouds of Heaven, Beings of Light" by Sharon Kay Casey is the true story of a blessed life that, through a series of events, went to a very dark place of abusive relationships and drug addiction, until one night while sitting in a car, Casey's path was changed forever when she heard God's voice say, "Trust me". A few years later she entered a place of golden light. "When stillness comes flowing over like a well springing from the depths of our being... We see your face, faint at first then brilliantly shining with many lights brighter than the sun itself. We witness the universe moving within you, swirling slowly, then like a spiraling vortex with lights of many colors like precious stones of unspeakable brilliance. Within your being, surely all the heavens dwell. Beams of lightning extend from your head and we your Children of Light stand in awe and wonder."

    Critique: An inherently fascinating and inspiring read from beginning to end, "Clouds of Heaven, Beings of Light" is an invaluable contribution to the reading lists of those with an interest in metaphysical studies. Writer and poet Sharon Kay Casey brings certain literary excellence to her deeply personal account. Very highly recommended, it should be noted that "Clouds of Heaven, Beings of Light" is also available in a Kindle edition ~ MBR Bookwatch , Midwest Book Review

  • What We're Afraid to Ask: 365 Days of Healing for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse
    Sherri L. Board
    Jon M. Fleetwood
    Anna M. Jones
    "What We're Afraid to Ask: 365 Days of Healing for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse" provides a fresh way of looking at what haunts countless souls since childhood. Providing clear examples of how this affliction can be turned around, this book is a gift for all who choose to be empowered by their early life experiences. ~ Mr. David Fishman, author of

  • What We're Afraid to Ask: 365 Days of Healing for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse
    Sherri L. Board
    Jon M. Fleetwood
    Anna M. Jones
    "As an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse and trauma that now advocates for other abuse survivors, I found the book, "What We're Afraid to Ask: 365 Days of Healing for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse," a must read for those survivors on their healing journeys and beyond. This book is surely going to touch the hearts of survivors who have struggled with healing and had questions about their abuse, God, and faith. In this book they ask the tough questions that so many survivors have struggled with and may be afraid to ask. With heartfelt questions combined with answers in both a psychological and biblical form, the reader will no doubt find this book to be a great resource and reference to read time and time again. I highly recommend this book to any survivors of childhood sexual abuse, especially those who have struggled with their faith due to trauma and abuse suffered as children." Elizabeth Sullivan, Founder and Director of EmpowerSurvivors ~ Elizabeth Sullivan, EmpowerSurvivors

  • Listening to God - Fuel for Ministry?
    John Draper
    “Rootedness in prayer is fundamental to Christian ministry. This book by an experienced and thoughtful parish priest helpfully explores the possibility that the prayer life of a parish might be enriched by priest and people adopting monastic patterns of listening to God in silence and in scripture.” ~ The Rt Revd Christopher Foster, Bishop of Portsmouth

  • Fruit-Bearing Spirituality, A
    Carolyn Reinhart MA, DProf
    Carolyn Reinhart's A Fruit-Bearing Spirituality resembles [Antonio] Spadaro's work in its conviction that new cultural developments necessitate drastic reform in Christianity's self-understanding. The book comes across as a passionate plea for a spiritual understanding rooted in human embodiment, in ecological thinking, in quantum physics and the overcoming of patterns of mutual oppression. The narrowness of denominational Christianity is to be overcome by a shard praxis, with inclusivity a watchword.

    Readers of Reinhart's book trained in conventional theology and in churchy ways of doing things will probably find it exasperating in its frequent oversimplifications of the tradition, and its uncritical use of buzz words. But that is probably an unworthy response. The fact that there are intelligent and committed people who write in this way, and that they can find publishers who thinking the book will sell, says something important about how conventional Christianity is failing to communicate to at least some people of palpable good will. [The book] raises questions worth pondering. ~ Philip Endean SJ, The Way, January 2016 issue

  • Is Christianity Good for You?
    David Fontana
    test ~ test journo

  • Finding a Way Ahead!
    Angela Harper
    With prayer suggestions, points to ponder and practical suggestions this book is useful for both small group and individual reflection.
    If you ever ask yourself how to spiritually handle different life situations, then this book will certainly offer valuable food for thought ~ Annette Hayes, B.A. (Hons), PGCE, CCRS

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