Spiritual Growth in a Time of Change: Following God in midlife
BRF £7.99 (978-0-85746-435-4)
Church Times Bookshop £7.20
TONY HORSFALL is a well-known teacher, trainer, and retreat leader who writes on contemplative spirituality from an Evangelical Charismatic perspective.
His latest book looks at the middle of life, and what that means in terms of faith. Midlife, he says, is about the transition between the first and second half of life. It can occur any time between the ages of 40 and 60. While it does not necessarily signal crisis, it is a time full of potential for spiritual growth and change.
”For a growing number of people, midlife proves to be a critical period when they feel a deep-seated need to stop and review their life and the direction it is taking,” he writes. This observation is not itself particularly startling, of course: many others, such as Richard Rohr (whom he quotes extensively), have explored this territory in depth before.
Horsfall seeks to help the reader recognise the transition for what it is. That way, he hopes, individuals will avoid some of the pitfalls and make the most of the opportunities for growth. There are chapters on coming to terms with the past, finding our identity, growing in authenticity, embracing our “shadow” side, and maturing in faith.
Specifically, he addresses some of the challenges faced by those in leadership and the effect of midlife on relationships. Dropped into the text are observations from his own experience and stories furnished by others, alongside suggested spiritual exercises and “Bible windows”, where he offers passages for further study.
The book is accessible and an easy read. The exercises are practical and pose useful questions. There are welcome suggestions for further reading. Overall, Spiritual Growth in a Time of Change offers a straightforward introduction to the issues, and may provide some welcome light-bulb moments for anyone who is new to the concept of midlife.
Sarah Meyrick is the Director of Communications for the diocese of Oxford.