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Michael Mitton: Dreaming of Home

Michael Mitton

Dreaming of Home:

Homecoming as a model for renewal

and mission

ISBN: 9781 84101 877 5

BRF, London, 2012, 151pp, £7.99

 

This is an intimate book: a personal story and reflection on the author’s move into freelance ministry and Fresh Expressions of church life, revolving around an imaginative re-telling of the parable of the Prodigal Son from the Gospel of Luke. The theme of homecoming is as much about being at home in one’s self as finding the external environment in which to be rooted and grow. Those who are familiar with Henry Nouwen’s book on the Prodigal Son, as mediated by the painting of the son’s return by Rembrandt, will recognise a similar approach in this book.

The introduction includes a moving tribute to Brother Ramon SSF, a close friend and guide to the author; and there are many stories of individuals, friends and colleagues, as the meaning of the Prodigal Son is explored in the context of today’s church. I particularly enjoyed the retelling of the parable, and was able to picture a well-known tale in a new way.

I did have one or two reservations: the sharp distinctions drawn between Law and Grace, and the polarising of Pharisees and followers of Jesus, I found harsh to the ear. These dichotomies have not had a happy history in the course of Jewish-Christian relations. Modern scholarship seems to find Jesus more as an internal critic of the Pharisaic movement rather than an outside observer, and even St Paul had some good things to say about the Jewish Law.

Nonetheless the book showed someone wrestling with a text, trying to explore it from the inside out, and I was grateful to be included in that process. You feel you know the writer much better by the end of the book, and hopefully yourself as well.

Nicholas Alan SSF