About this book ….
‘Spirituality Workbook is many things: a book of riches and surprises; a guidebook for those who want their spiritual life to go deeper; an invaluable id for those seeking to travel faithfully in a strange land; and it is itself a journey through the many facets of Christian spirituality.’ (from the back cover)
‘A beautiful book born of profound, inspiring and searching faith.’ Baptist Times
‘“Extraordinarily ordinary” … not flashy, showy or clever, but rooted, careful, gentle and passionately balanced.’ Fulcrum
The book is in five sections:
‘Then and now’ looks at different expressions of prayer and spiritual life in Christian history.
‘Life together’ is about shared life and living in community.
‘Becoming who I am’ looks at spirituality through the stages of life and human becoming and maturing.
‘When you pray’ is a practical look at different ways of actually praying.
‘In the midst of life’ is about living the spiritual life in the midst of a real and complex world.
The book is full of practical suggestions for discussion, for practical exploring and for further reading.
Here is an extract from chapter 10 – ‘With unveiled faces’ – that explores our sense of identity – who we are – and where this all comes from.
‘When did you first discover you had a face?
The answer is not immediately obvious. It is another way of asking where we first began to develop a sense of our own identity and personhood.
The simple answer is – when someone gave us theirs.
I have a favourite photo of my son Joshua. Just one day old, he is lying on his back, being dried after a bath. He is helpless, vulnerable and utterly dependent. He can contribute nothing to what is going on or communicate anything of his needs. His life can only be received and sustained as a free gift of an other. My wife is bending down to him. He is gazing into her wide, warm face with total concentration. What he makes of what he sees there is no way of knowing. The image and identity of another is being gifted to him. In those first hours of his new life, as he responds to a face whose likeness he so intimately shares, he is beginning to know himself.
We know ourselves, for good or ill, in relationship with the lives of others. Long before we can choose we have already been acted upon and powerfully shaped by the circumstances, desire and will of others. We are even given our own name by others. So deep is the individualism that shapes our contemporary assumptions about ourselves that this truth is not just a surprise it may even feel unwelcome and intrusive. But we are the fruit of lives, stories and desires that are not our own.
And have you ever considered what an extraordinary and hazardous amount of living has gone before us that we might emerge at all at this point in history?
So the answer to the question ‘who am I?’ is a complex one. The problem is not where to start but where to stop! What makes me uniquely and recognisably me involves tracing patterns of intimate inter-connectedness and dependency in which ultimately the whole universe has a part. Not only am I born into this world, it seems the world is contained is me. To be a human being is to be in relationship.’