Being Mindful, Being Christian: A guide to mindful discipleship
Roger Bretherton, Joanna Collicutt, and Jennifer Brickman
Church Times Bookshop £11.70
THIS book has emerged out of a series of conferences at which Christian therapists, psychologists, church leaders, and theological teachers have explored their understanding of the mindfulness movement. The named authors are the editors and among ten contributors.
Their concern is to offer a Christ-centred approach to mindfulness awareness, and to “apply this practice to discipleship and spiritual growth”. This means that the book approaches mindfulness positively, seeing it as a critical friend to Christian prayer and living, and with much to offer it. The authors successfully develop a distinctively biblical and Christ-centred approach to the practice of non-judgmental awareness which characterises mindfulness, and then explore how this may be applied to different parts of Christian life and faith.
The issues and concerns that they foresee arising for their readers suggests they have in mind an Evangelical and biblically concerned audience. But the width of reading and understanding is as broad and informed as you would hope for from a group with such a stimulating mix of professional learning, and the concerns that they address are wholly Christian. This is not a book aimed at one tribe.
The book is structured as a study guide. The style is consistently accessible and reader-friendly (to the point of being slightly over-informal at times). Within each chapter are regular boxes. “Yes but . . . “ anticipates Christian concerns and questions about each theme being addressed. “Where did it come from?” offers historical background. “Get some exercise!” suggests practical exercises and practices. The irritatingly named “Help I’m a Geek” offers very good sources for further reading and study. These are all excellent.
The result is an outstanding study guide, full of theological and practical insights and reliable pathways into mature, in-depth understanding and practice. It would be an excellent resource book for groups and individuals.
The Revd David Runcorn is Associate Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Warden of Readers in the Gloucester diocese.