RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • 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

  • Finding a Way Ahead!
    Angela Harper
    "Finding A WayAhead" is a valuable book in which the author shares her personal thoughts and experiences, applying the perennial truth of the Bible to the concrete circumstances of life in the 21st century.
    She shares her reflections on the words of hope and guidance found in scripture in an accessible and readable way.
    The message that prayer, coupled with positive words and actions, can be used to overcome challenges is a relevant and timely one.
    This book would make a useful pastoral aid and provide stimulation for prayer groups. ~ Sheila Donohoe, B.A (Hons), PGCE and CCRS

  • Clouds of Heaven, Beings of Light
    Sharon Kay Casey
    A TRUE AMBASSADOR FROM HEAVEN!

    I have read many fascinating NDE books, including most of the NDE bestsellers. Yet, I have not finished an NDE book that exceeds the power and importance of Clouds of Heaven Beings of Light. In her outstanding book, Ms.Casey shatters through disconnected earthly illusions by revealing the loving Heart of soul existence. Her work offers hope by echoing the words of Julian of Norwich, from her NDE 700 years ago, "all that is not well will be well."

    As the pages unfold, Ms. Casey paints a descriptive picture of heaven, including a festive celebration in heaven, amazing spiritual beings of light, structured features of profound symbolic value, and Jesus. In addition to these descriptions, she weaves personal stories of growth. She also references the teachings of Jesus, including the Gospel of Thomas (a favorite of mine) and A Course in Miracles (which I will soon read). Either directly or indirectly, Ms. Casey tackles the central questions of existence, including unity, time, love, and ultimate meaning. When I read her book, I think, "Wow, my life makes sense!" I think others will come to the same conclusions as well, given that Sharon Casey serves humanity as a true ambassador from heaven.

    I will finish with a quotation that poses an important question for reflection. Casey asks, "What if by judging yourself, you have judged the whole world? And by forgiving yourself, you have set the world free?"

    Roy L. Hill, Psy.D. Author of Psychology and the Near-Death Experience, searching for God.

    His book is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Psychology-Near-Death-Experience-Searching-God/dp/1910121428/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446295265&sr=1-1 ~ Roy L. Hill, Psy.D., Amazon Review

  • Reluctant Patient: A Journey of Trust, The
    Ian G. Wallis

    Chaplains listen to patients’ stories and attempt to link the patient’s experience
    of illness with the patient’s construction of faith. It is a gift to the chaplain’s
    understanding of the task when the patient themself possesses both
    the reflective capacity and the theological/philosophical literacy to articulate
    such a linkage. The Reluctant Patient stands in this tradition of writing,
    of which Anne Oakley’s Fracture remains for me the pre-eminent offering.
    Ian Wallis is a former parish priest and theological educator who continues
    to live with the debilitating effects of a chronic heart condition. His
    book explores the struggle to integrate an experience of illness and a stance
    of faith whilst remaining honest to both.
    The book charts the phenomenology of patienthood and the aftermath of
    hospitalization. Chaplains will recognize themes of shock, disruption, alienation,
    disempowerment, waiting, ambivalence towards medicine, uncertainty,
    guilt, and depression.
    Less familiar to those of us who are based in institutions, is the continuing
    struggle for rehabilitation. Wallis speaks of the “lifelines” of books,
    music and DVDs; and of the significance of exercising choice – in his case,
    defiantly walking his dog. Above all, he stresses the importance of others
    in helping to maintain the fabric of normality and in offering small acts of
    kindness and companionship.
    This emphasis on relationship is at the heart of the book: “the undeclared
    sacraments of human encounter”. The negative experience of impersonality
    during a consultant’s ward round contrasts with the attentiveness of Wallis’
    GP, or the capacity of the NHS 24 telephonist to be present to her anxious
    caller.
    Indeed, Wallis’ entire model of health has relationship at its core. “We
    need others to be fully, authentically ourselves”; and we can only access
    236 Review
    © Equinox Publishing Ltd 2015
    relationship by “daring to swim in the common sea of our humanity”. This
    will involve embracing all our life experiences, including illness.
    Wallis’ written style takes some negotiating. The book too often feels
    like a sermon or a lecture; from the pedagogical tone (e.g. “we would do
    well to attend to trust’s ecstatic feet” – his italics); to the contrivance of
    extended metaphor (e.g. the sub-chapter on “waiting gardens”); and some
    heavy-handed hyperbolic humour (e.g. the ambulance journey “felt like a
    cross-country rally”, the wheelchair journey “running the gauntlet past the
    clashing jaws of an elevator”).
    For all this, I was moved by the narrative, especially when Wallis articulates
    an existential theology that clearly arises from authentic engagement
    with his illness. The book is subtitled, “A Journey of Trust”. For Wallis, trust
    is the pre-requisite for relationship: “an innate capacity to transcend self
    through openness and vulnerability exposing us to the possibility of encounter.”
    Such encounter may be with God: “Trust finds its ultimate expression in
    a readiness to risk all we are to all who God is … without knowing whether
    such a God exists beyond the limits of our imaginations”.
    As with many experiential accounts, The Reluctant Patient will be of most
    use to those least familiar with pastoral issues in institutional healthcare;
    but it also offers some profound insights, even for the most experienced Chaplains. ~ Revd Martin Kerry, Health & Social Care Chaplaincy

  • Wisdom from the Western Isles
    David Torkington
    This book is a trilogy with the pats entitled, respectively, Peter the Hermit, Peter the Prophet and Peter the Mystic.The Peter in question is the central character of the book, and his hermitage is located on the remote Hebridean island of Calvay. reading the opening pages rang bells - I had the feeling that I had read this book before. Sure enough, a rummage through some shelves uncovered a small book, published in this 1970s, called Peter Calvay, Hermit by Rayner Torkington. It seems that the same author is now called David and the first part of this trilogy is largely a revised version of that book. The other two parts, I think, were also published as smaller books some years later.

    The theme of all three parts is the spiritual life, the relationship of the human soul to God, particularly as expressed in personal prayer. the methodology used to explore this theme is intriguing - the book is mostly a narrative of conversations and dialogues between a (fictional) Dr. James Robinson, who speaks in the first person throughout the book, and the main character, Peter, the hermit of Calvay. James Robinson is a seeker after spiritual wisdom, coming from a vaguely Anglican background, and Peter is the voice that speaks of the riches of the Catholic Christian tradition.

    The core idea in the first section (the Hermit) is that of receptivity, of making space and time for God to enter one's life. This includes the regular and generous giving of time for personal prayer, whether one feels like it or not. It includes an attitude of patient waiting for God and a humble awareness that prayer is God's gift, not our achievement.

    The second section (the Prophet) uses what seemed to me a rather contrived device of having Peter disappear in a mysterious boating incident and James having the task of organising his writings and papers. These papers include a number of essays in which Peter records the story of his personal journey, which took place in a great variety of locations from Dublin to Moscow, from Paris to Mount Athos and to several Franciscan locations in England and Italy. I got the impression that these locations are the spiritual journeys they encompassed may have been largely autobiographical, not just if the fictional Peter, but of the author David Torkington. At the end of this section, Peter re-appears and continues his discussion with James on the topic of mystical prayer.

    The third section (the Mystic) is mainly an exploration of the teachings of the two great Spanish mystics, St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila. In the ongoing dialogue, Peter elucidates in contemporary terms concepts like the interior castle, the dark night of the senses and of the soul, the prayer and mystical union. Much of his explanation is based on a comparison wit the marriage relationship of his own parents. The narrative style of this book, with the various comings and goings to and from that small island int hr Hebrides, takes a bit of getting used to and at times seems a somewhat artificial device for linking together the conversations between James and Peter. However, the great merit of the book is that it presents in an easy and readable style all the major themes of what used to be called ascetical and mystical theology. Though much of the trilogy seems to date from several decades ago, it is in no way dated in language or content. It is a useful account, for anyone beginning or revisiting the study of the great truths about the journey of the prayerful soul towards God. ~ Aidan Ryan, The Furrow: A Journal for the Contemporary Church

  • Quiet Mind, A
    Eva McIntyre
    This is a good little book, especially for those not blessed with a reasonably good self-image. As Eva McIntyre says, "Often it's the negative images we recall, probably because of the way they shape us, and are critical in building up our coping and survival techniques." Rightly, she says that we can choose whether our general approach to life is miserable or happy and it is worth the trouble to do so.

    McIntyre's second point is what she terms "stilling the monkey mind" so that it does not rush from one point to another, needing to chatter all the time. She works through problems of emotion, fear and ill-health, then brings us to exercises of posture and breathing. Pain can be a problem, though I believe some people find it can also be a stimulus to our reaching out to God. Here she has some good suggestions leading to freeing up the spirit, and on the use of dreams.

    But whatever the problem, the key is to focus on whatever we are doing - activity or meditation - so that nothing else can absorb or distract us. Our emotions need to be dealt with, by understanding and control, if we are to be in good relationships with others. And we often learn from our own experience how best to deal with them.

    McIntyre deals too, consecutively, with what she calls "the demon fear", with the needs of our body and breathing, and with the essentials of good posture. The spirit is freed only when physical and emotional needs are met, or at least put on a satisfactory hold.

    She reminds us that the bible contains many examples of God's communicating with humans through these means, though now such messages are not highly regarded because we have, perhaps, too much scepticism of religious psychosis or of attention-seekers. The book continues with chapters on 'Dreams, Visions and Voices' and then 'Finding Thin Places' (places we find helpful) as she concludes with discovering our closeness to God's love for ourselves and others.
    ~ Elizabeth CSF, Franciscan Magazine Vol.27 no.1 - January 2015

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