RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • Suffering: if God exists, why doesn't he stop it?
    John Morris
    In this short, succinct and accessible account endorsed by many public figures including Martin Rees, John Morris tackles head-on the issues raised by theodicy - God and the problem of evil and suffering. He himself has a profoundly handicapped grandson, so speaks from personal experience. There was much public debate on the subject following the 2004 tsunami - in a similar vein to the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The classic statement of the problem is that an omnipotent and omniscient God cannot also be good because he lets suffering continue - so he is either lacking in goodness or power or both. The God envisaged by the author is both personal and loving but one who has restricted his/ her power in order to guarantee creativity and freedom. He/ she is, as Whitehead suggests, involved in the evolutionary process with a moral purpose to multiply goodness and bring growth out of agonising situations - suffering is then part of the package where virtue can be chosen for its own sake. In comparing the philosophies of other religions, Morris feels that the Christian suffering God is a real advantage. Many readers will be familiar with these arguments but the lucid exposition encourages them to revisit and perhaps rethink them. There can be no definitive answer, but as humans we should feel obliged to engage with the challenge. ~ David Lorimer, Paradigm Explorer

  • Wisdom from the Christian Mystics
    David Torkington
    When Wisdom from the Western Isles sold out with the speed of light, I was designated translator of Wisdom from Franciscan Italy, and finally this his masterpiece Wisdom from the Christian mystics. All his books answer many important questions about the spiritual life and difficulties we all face especially laypeople like me trying to follow in the footsteps of our Lord. He stresses that we are all called, not only to sanctity but also to mystical prayer, and unequivocally condemns the evils of New Age in all its various and devious forms. I strongly recommend his works, especially this, his masterpiece, to all who are determined to follow the 'Way', and earnestly strive towards personal sanctity.
    Aleksandra Marija Chwalowsky, translator of the Croatian edition.
    ~ Aleksandra Marija Chwalowsky,, translator of the Croatian edition.

  • Wisdom from the Christian Mystics
    David Torkington

    "A Ground-breaking Spiritual Classic"

    David Torkingtons latest book - Wisdom from the Christian Mystics has already been described in superlatives by reviewers, even before it has been officially launched at the Athenaeum, Pall Mall. Kevin Grant, the former Editor in Chief of the Catholic Universe, former Managing Director of the Catholic Herald and former Master of the Catholic Writer's Guild simply called it, 'a masterpiece'. For a writer and a poet, who is so careful with words, it is remarkable that in his endorsement of the book he even suggests that the author could be canonized for writing it - hopefully not in the near future! We need to hear much more from a writer whose books have been declared mandatory reading by Sr Wendy Beckett. Usually such worthy books are beyond the comprehension of the ordinary punters in the pews, but not the books of this author. One of the first reviewers, Melanie Jean Juneau, editor-in-chief of Catholic Stand, put it this way:

    "David Torkington is my mentor - a story teller who can deliver spiritual and theological truths couched in a fascinating riveting narrative. Everything he writes is filled with powerful insights, balancing personal reflection with experience and a profound depth of knowledge". It rightly inspired Sr Rosaleen Shaw, former prioress of the new Dominican community at Sway, to write in her review: “The book is of course brilliant, as only David Torkington can write it. David is a prophet who has truly been given his gifts to be a voice in the Church”. But let the unique thesis outlined in the book speak for itself.

    The pride of the Second Vatican Council was the New Liturgy that faithfully mirrored the ancient Eucharist, albeit in the vernacular. However, something terribly important was missing. That something is the profound daily mystical spirituality given to the early Church by Christ himself, that gave life and vitality to what can so easily become lifeless without it. Why nothing was done, nor has been done to remedy this situation, is a matter that Torkington addresses in this book. After many years of studying the early sources, the author is able to re-introduce us to this profound mystical spirituality which was the staple diet of everyone in the first centuries. He further shows us how, if practised as it once was, it can not only transform our personal lives, but the lives of the whole Christian community, as what was offered through every moment of the previous week in the prayer without ceasing, is offered together, in, with and through Christ at the Sunday liturgy. It is in giving that we receive and it was the otherworldly love received in practising this profound mystical spirituality promised by Christ to the Samaritan woman, that transformed an ancient pagan world into a Christian world in such a short time; as it can still do to-day. If our liturgy does not once again become the vital living expression of the profound spirituality first lived by Jesus himself, and then lived by his first followers, then the renewal that we endlessly talk about and yearn for, will repeatedly remain beyond our grasp. It is for this reason that the editor and publisher Sr Bernadine TSSF said: "This book is a ground-breaking spiritual classic that should be read and re-read and used as a blue print for the radical restoration of Christian spirituality. If only it had been written, read and put into practice before the Second Vatican Council, the mass departure of so many priests and religious may well have been prevented. Furthermore, so much of the scandalous sexual behaviours of so many religious and priests who remained behind could have been prevented. For those who have not learned to come to know and experience the love of God, through the Wisdom of the Christian Mystics as detailed in this book, will inevitably seek its counterfeit to the torment of so many 'injured innocents".

    However, the book is primarily practical and details a very clear and helpful daily spirituality for all, with exquisite prayers for morning and evening to set the scene for us to offer every moment of every day, in, with and through Christ to the Father. Nevertheless, the book carries with it a spiritual health warning on the inside cover, by Sr Wendy Beckett, that we fail to heed at our peril: "We can so easily read about prayer, about love, about Christian service and in the emotional happiness of our reading come to think that we are actually doing what we are only feeling. Fortunately, no one is more aware of this danger than David Torkington. He is passionately committed to stripping from the reader those veils of illusion that allow what is said to be enjoyed in theory only. His books should be mandatory reading.” None more so than Wisdom from the Christian Mystics. The book can be ordered now from Amazon.co.uk or from bookshops quoting ISBN 978-1-78535-774-9 ~ Michael Winterbottom, The Catholic Universe December 17

  • Wisdom from the Christian Mystics
    David Torkington
    David Torkington has written a delightfully sensitive account of how the mystics of the Christian tradition help lead us to God. Many Catholics, even very prayerful ones, are intimidated by the mere word "mystic." Torkington shows us that mystical writing is actually a singularly effective tool in imagining the Almighty. God is ineffable, which means He is so different from us that He cannot be described in words. Mystics have the courage to abandon normal categories of language so as to stretch their fingers closer to that which can never be touched. David Torkington has a genuine enthusiasm for the writings of mystics of many eras, and that passion is contagious. It makes him an excellent teacher. Torkington is a faithful guide into lesser-known but marvelously rich pastures. Warmly recommended.
    ~ Fr Erik Ross, O.P, Dominican Priest. Publisher and translator - Poland

  • Wisdom from the Christian Mystics
    David Torkington
    This pioneering tour de force reintroduces the Christian mystical tradition that transformed the ancient pagan world. It should to be read and re-read and used as a blue print for the radical restoration of Christian Spirituality. ~ Sr Bernadine,TSSF, Florence

  • Wisdom from the Christian Mystics
    David Torkington
    The book is a masterpiece. It is the sort of work that would, at one age in the history of the Church have the author canonised, at another have him burnt at the stake! ~ Kevin Grant former Master of the Catholic Writers’ guild

  • Wisdom from the Christian Mystics
    David Torkington
    David Torkington is my mentor - a storyteller who can deliver spiritual and theological truths couched in a fascinating, riveting narrative. ~ Melanie Jean Juneau, Editor-in-Chief, Catholic Stand - USA

  • Wisdom from the Christian Mystics
    David Torkington
    David is a truly inspirational writer. His writings on the spiritual life are simple, joyful and a model of clarity bringing an otherwise abstruse subject down to earth and understandable. ~ Dr Warwick Onyeama MRCPsych, FMC Psych, FRC Psych, Director at Quo Vadis Trust

  • Wisdom from the Christian Mystics
    David Torkington
    The book is of course brilliant as only David Torkington can write it. David is a prophet who has truly been given his gifts to be a voice in the Church. ~ Sr. Rosaleen Shaw OP former prioress of St Joseph’s Priory, Sway

  • Wisdom from the Christian Mystics
    David Torkington
    Archbishop Ramsay used to say, ‘There is a God-given space at the centre of each one of us which only he can fill.’ This book, rich in its teaching and quotes from the Fathers, goes a long way towards helping us to fill that centre-space. ~ Bishop Thomas McMahon

  • Pathway to the Stable
    Ivor Thomas Rees
    Ivor Thomas Rees’ decades of pastoral ministry and years of study of Scripture are richly reflected in this beautiful new Advent resource for ministers and laypersons – and all those who seek the Holy Child of Bethlehem. Preachers will appreciate the depth of Biblical scholarship and vibrant interpretive work as they prepare for Advent and Christmas preaching, while lay readers will gain new and faith-filled insights and historical context for beloved Scripture we think we already know so well. Ivor Rees’ writing style is warm and engaging; the author is both scholar and minister as he guides the reader through sacred texts and history, the fateful decisions ordinary people like Mary and Joseph made after encounters with God, and how these stories speak to us today. ‘Pathway to the Stable’ is clearly a labour of love for Ivor Rees, and a marvellous early Christmas present for all who are earnest about their faith in Jesus Christ. ~ The Revd. Kathy Lawes, Associate Conference Minister, Illinois Conference, United Church of Christ

  • Pathway to the Stable
    Ivor Thomas Rees
    New light on an old story: A lifetime of Nativity plays could not prepare you for the twists and turns on the route to Bethlehem and back explored in Pathway to the Stable, a fascinating book that gives Christmas a contemporary realism. Only men needed to register in the census. So why did Joseph take a heavily pregnant Mary with him? Was he afraid to leave her with his family? Even to leave her with her own family? Was it the end of the story for the Wise Men – or the beginning? Almost 40 years later when evangelists travelled east to take the Good News, they were welcomed by people who had already been told. And a thousand years later, Marco Polo, claimed he was shown the tombs of the Magi. Was the temple visit of the 12-year-old Jesus the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah? On the long journey home it was common to walk in groups of men, boys, women, girls. He could well have been with the Bar Mitzvah group. His parents would not have missed him until families came together for the night. This book brings together aspects of history, literature, theology, language, culture, with seeming ease to shine a striking, modern light on the circumstances around the birth of Christ at the same time that it underlines the strong link between them and stories in the Old Testament. ~ Dr. Jean Silvan Evans, former Journalist & Lecturer in Journalism, elder of the United Reformed Church

  • Pathway to the Stable
    Ivor Thomas Rees
    In this rich and rewarding series of studies, Ivor Rees has taken us deep into the biblical world in order to show us once more the glory of the coming of Our Lord, the nativity and childhood of Jesus Christ. The context takes us back, to the Old Testament expectation and its messianic fulfilment, but the application is modern, showing us how relevant the story remains to the complexities and conundrums of twenty-first century life. Although rooted in scripture, the author knows that his witness and ours must always be for our own time and to our own world. The verse which occurred to me again and again as I read these chapters was ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Hebrews 13: 8). It is a pleasure to commend this penetrating and heart-warming volume. ~ Revd. D. Densil Morgan, Professor of Theology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

  • Pathway to the Stable
    Ivor Thomas Rees
    Routinely, the secular world introduces Christmas on the shelves of supermarkets sometime in October. A month or so later the church constantly seeks ways to slow down that marketing mania by encouraging a careful observance of Advent. In this very readable book Ivor Rees provides a useful resource to help us as individuals to 'slow down' as we rediscover annually our own 'pathways to the stable'. It leaves no Christmas stone unturned as its makes significant connections between scripture, tradition, personalities and questions in preparation for the birthday of our Lord. ~ The Ven. Andrew Carrol Jones, Archdeacon of Merioneth, author and regular contributor to ‘New Daylight’

  • Pathway to the Stable
    Ivor Thomas Rees
    In this book we are given the kind of material we need for our meditations in the Christmas season. Light of touch and with pastoral concern, born of a lifetime of Christian ministry, the Revd. Ivor Thomas Rees challenges us to look afresh at passages of Scripture with which we can at times be overfamiliar. Above all, there are riches here for mind and spirit, as we try to make our way ‘even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which has come to pass. ~ Professor Ceri Davies, Emeritus Professor of Class

  • Pathway to the Stable
    Ivor Thomas Rees
    This collection of portraits from the biblical birth narratives reflects a life long commitment to a ministry of preaching and bible study. Here the familiar - perhaps over-familiar - characters are set within their religious and cultural context so as to reveal something of their significance within Jesus' story as well as ours. The short prayers at the end of each chapter help us to focus on the message for us. This short book would be a helpful guide for anyone wishing to use the period of Advent to seek new insights on familiar characters. ~ Revd. Dr. Noel Davies, former General Secretary, Cytun, Churches Together in Wales

  • Pathway to the Stable
    Ivor Thomas Rees
    Pathway to the Stable offers a thoughtful, biblical and prayerful introduction to the Christmas story. Ivor Rees introduces us to the various characters, places and sources which are found in the Bible accounts, and draws them together to bring out the meaning of Jesus' birth at Bethlehem. I commend it to all who seek to delve deeper into these familiar stories and uncover more of the mystery of Christ's Incarnation. ~ Revd. Dr. Stephen Wigley, Chairman, Wales District of the Methodist Church

  • Pathway to the Stable
    Ivor Thomas Rees
    In this companion book to his work on the passion, Ivor sees Christmas and Easter as part of one action. He draws on his years as a United Reformed Church minister preaching about Christmas and considers the historical aspects, but through his questions about the characters in the narrative he also invites us to consider their motivation, and by ending each chapter with a prayer, he helps us to consider how we might be God-enablers and God-bearers in our place and time. ~ The Revd. Simon Walkling, Moderator of the National Synod of Wales, United Reformed Church

  • Pathway to the Stable
    Ivor Thomas Rees
    Here is a gem from one who throughout a long ministry has taught and preached the meaning of the Incarnation. In this book his thoughts are crystallised providing us with valuable historical, theological and spiritual insights into the Christmas story. ~ The Revd. Canon Arthur Howells, Swansea; author of The Little Book of Advent

  • Pathway to the Stable
    Ivor Thomas Rees
    Ivor Rees writes informatively and reflectively about the Christmas story, in ways that will give new depth of insight to many readers. He has done his homework, and gives a good deal of background on people and places in those early chapters of Matthew and Luke. More than this, Ivor's writing also draws out a message of faith for Christians today, so that the events and texts speak into our own experience. Telling of Christmas in these ways puts flesh on the ancient word. ~ The Revd. Dr. John Proctor, General Secretary, United Reformed Church

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