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Handle with care

by
04 November 2016

Christine Worsley on a 40-day exercise in simple spirituality

Believe in Miracles: A spiritual journey of positive change

Carmel Thomason

BRF £8.99

(978-0-85746-420-0)

Church Times Bookshop £8.10

 

THE miracles in which the title of this book exhorts us to believe are everyday miracles, rooted and grown in ordinary lives. Through the use of inspiring and challenging stories, using her own and others’ experience, the author invites readers to consider how they can make changes in their relationship with God and in the practice of faith.

Thomason presents her material in the form of short reflections for each of 40 days, dividing them into six “weeks”, each with a separate theme. The two main foundations for the life-changes that readers are encouraged to make on their journey are the practice of stillness in the presence of God, and the development of an attitude of thanks­­­giving for God’s gifts. Each of these is suggested as a discipline for each day at the end of the reflection, together with another idea for response specific to the material for the day.

Overall, this is an accessible book that offers practical steps for the development of a lively and positive faith. It is fuelled by the author’s passionate belief that the extra­ordinary and the miraculous can be found in the everyday.

The primary appeal of this book probably lies in its directness and simplicity. But for some this may also be its main vice. For example, in a number of reflections there is a tendency to imply that complex and difficult emotions can be easily over­come through faith. As we know, however, not all problems can be solved just through indi­viduals trying harder. Moreover, the main focus of the book is highly individualistic and does not con­sider the corporate dimensions of faith as they are expressed in the shared lives of church communities. At best, such communities can share burdens, exhort, listen, and challenge. In these communities, individuals can know the miracle of living faith being made perfect in weakness and need.

This is a useful and sincere book that needs to be read with critical caution.

 

The Revd Christine Worsley is a priest in the diocese of Worcester.

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