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BEING DISCIPLES: ESSENTIALS OF CHRISTIAN LIFE – ROWAN WILLIAMS

This is a marvellous little book! At only 86 pages one would not expect it to contain too many ideas, but this is the writing of Rowan Williams, so almost every page is thoughtfully crafted and packed to bursting. Made up of six chapters, Williams accessibly writes about all those things we know we ought to do but manage to keep putting off for a more comfortable life. He encourages contemplation and action, embracing stability and change, getting to know Jesus personally through the Bible and prayer, loving tradition and the sacraments. His challenges are gentle but firm and phrased in such a way that one imagines that he has the same struggles, without it becoming a testimony of them; and these challenges are relevant to everyone from the newest Christian to the one who has been faithful for many decades. This makes the book personally uncomfortable in places, but it is so full of hope and joy it becomes a positive invitation rather than a telling-off. Williams draws from a range of historical sources and stories and acutely interprets them to produce statements that are refreshingly simple old-truths and yet seem new, exciting and revelatory. We, as a Church, are encouraged and challenged to become better disciples of Christ, that we are first and foremost Christians and that to name ourselves thus is to embrace all other Christians as our siblings and all people and creation as beautifully and constantly created by God. This book is a joy to read by oneself, but I think would benefit from being read as a family, friary, tertiary/cell group or church. The only thing that would make it better would be to have Rowan in the room reading it aloud.

 

Christopher Martin SSF