A good proportion of this rather meaty 346 page book is made up of hands-on exercises involving (amongst other things) paper, felt tips, paint, symbols, words, magazine cuttings, dough, the Bible and using the imagination- all of which are aimed at getting you to learn ‘the language of your unconscious to connect to God in a way that’s personal to you.’ All of these techniques require an instinctive approach, and are very much grounded in interpretation and looking for connections between what’s happening in your life and what you’ve found yourself visualising, sculpting or putting down on paper.
Notable chapters deal with examining the pace of your life,decision making and finding your true purpose. Later chapters seem to have a kind of anchoring effect which may appeal to those who have problems living in the present moment or who are anxious about what the future might bring. Her reflections on the Bible and the way she relates it to back to life issues will suit all readers- whether your copy is gathering dust on a shelf or you’re just looking for a fresh approach to it.
Reflections on Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’, The Catcher in the Rye, Henri Nouwen and St Teresa of Avila also make a pleasing appearance and there are some candid insights into her past struggle with ME, her life in general, as well as methods and case studies from her work as a Spiritual Director.
Early on in the book, Helen writes with the assumption that the majority of her readers will have lost touch with their creativity at some point along the way and offers reassurance to those who may be sceptical about some of her methods. She also speaks directly to those with busy lives with little time for reflection, promising them a journey towards wholeness. For those who are already in touch with their creativity and/or spirituality the book offers a fun and fresh take on exploring your inner landscape and something that will go some way to consolidate the insights already gained on your spiritual journey.
Finding your Inner Treasure is available from all good Christian Bookshops or direct from Kevin Mayhew online www.kevinmayhew.com/finding-your-inner-treasure.html or by telephone 01449 737978
Posted by Sarah
At a glance, you may think it’s a book that’s going to summon you to renounce capitalism, rid yourself of all possessions and go and live in the desert and/or offer your life exclusively to the service of others. And yes, whilst Ray Simpson does highlight individuals who did just that, this book isn’t a call to ultimate self-sacrifice and self-denial but a book that will make you realise how important it is to live life in accordance with your most true and authentic self.
What struck me most was the author’s light touch (no guilt- inducing sermons or lofty academicism here). His is a vision grounded in enlightened common sense with the concept of ‘downward mobility’ simply encompassing what is good, true and ‘right’: spirit and heart over ego, community over self-interest– personal progression that’s inclusive of social awareness and responsibility.
He includes examples of good politics from both the left and right (though it’s ultimately apolitical- recognising ‘goodness’ and enlightenment wherever it springs from), as well as mentioning inspiring economists, prophets, visionaries and modern day heroes– you’ll have a brilliant and inspiring reading list to be getting on with after you’ve devoured this!
It’s the kind of book you finish and think ‘everyone should be made to read this’, especially those in positions of authority/leadership. This is for people of all faiths and none– a book that’s vital to our times.
Available from all good Christian Bookshops or direct from KM online or by telephone: (www.kevinmayhew.com/the-cowshed-revolution.html) +44 (0)845 3881634
Posted by Sarah
Fit for purpose is a seven week Lent Course primarily but not exclusively for groups. The absence of frills and props means there’s a smooth transition between using it in either capacity and there are chapters at the start of the book on using it whichever way too.
The tone is searching and impassioned- from the ‘restless creativity of God’ to what unbalanced ‘spiritual diets’ would look like, and there’s a real pick and mix of lively writing with the author dipping in to everything from the first moon landing to budget air travel in order to get the reader thinking. The ‘Spiritual fitness quiz’ will let you know if you need a ‘spiritual ambulance’ or are ‘the picture of rosy spiritual health’; light hearted and fun but there’s perhaps a limited option of answers for some questions!
The suggested hymns are optional if working through this book alone, as I did, and it didn’t seem odd or distracting to be reading ‘leader’ parts without there being one. I did find the weekly ‘Catching up’ part repetitive but it is aimed more at groups and would be apt for breaking the ice and also for forming real connections with others.
Lastly, it’s fairly short at 107 pages but for £8.99 you definitely won’t be feeling short changed!
Reviewed by Sarah
Available from all good Christian Bookshops or direct from KM online and by phone (www.kevinmayhew.com/fit-for-purpose.html) +44 (0)845 3881634
Ed Hone is a member of the Redemptorist missionary order. He specialises in mission development, preaching and creative liturgy, working chiefly in Britain and Ireland. Ed is currently parish priest of the English-speaking Catholic parish in Luxembourg.