*** DEBUG END ***

Earthed in God: Four movements of spiritual growth, by Christopher Chapman

05 October 2018

Anne Spalding considers the seasons of the soul and how to tend it

THE central image in this book is the garden and the experience of growing plants. Readers do not have to be skilled gardeners, but the experience of growing flowers or vegetables — or, at least, of observing plants grow — will make the imagery more vivid.

Christopher Chapman is exploring how we can cooperate with God to bring about our growth and maturity. He has four central themes: being “Rooted and Grounded”; “Emergence”; “The Struggle towards Abundance”; and “Fruitfulness and Fall”. He expands on these “movements” with reference to the seasons of the year, the experience in the garden and countryside, his own life experience, biblical texts, and examples from the Christian tradition. This provides a wealth of material for consideration; so, helpfully, most chapters have stopping-points and a “For Reflection” section at the end.

Chapman also includes a chapter on “Supporting Growth” for spiritual directors and others who accompany people in growth. Here he draws out both the essence of each “movement” and some pitfalls for such mentors.

This gentle book is one to be read slowly, though readers might want an overview to identify which section is most relevant now. Chapman maintains that, like the seasons, growth is cyclical, with an underlying rhythm; so, for example, readers might be at a time of fruitfulness (with the associated autumnal fall) or might be just emerging into a new time of growth. He begins before all that, with the bare (or weed-filled) earth and seeds going into the ground. This is valuable, because where we start from — the circumstances of our lives, our personalities, how we engage with God now — is hugely important in the growing process.

The tone throughout is encouraging, that readers may be hopeful, take the next step(s), and let God do what God does in our growth.

Dr Anne Spalding is a member of the Third Order of the Society of St Francis, and lives in Suffolk.


Earthed in God: Four movements of spiritual growth
Christopher Chapman
Canterbury Press £18.99
Church Times Bookshop £17.10

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Church Times Bookshop

Save money on books reviewed or featured in the Church Times. To get your reader discount:

> Click on the “Church Times Bookshop” link at the end of the review.

> Call 0845 017 6965 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).

The reader discount is valid for two months after the review publication date. E&OE

Forthcoming Events


Church Times/RSCM:

Festival of Faith and Music

26 - 28 April 2024

See the full programme on the festival website. 

Early bird tickets available


Intercultural Church for a Multicultural World

28 May 2024

A Church Times/Church House Publishing webinar

Tickets are FREE


Church Times/Modern Church:

A Political Faith?

Monday 3 June 2024

This panel will explore where Christians have come to in terms of political power and ask, where should we go next?

Online tickets available


Church Times/Modern Church:

Participating in Democracy

Monday 10 June 2024

This panel will explore the power of voting, and power beyond voting.

Online tickets available


Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)