Book Review – Reclaiming the Sealskin

Reclaiming the Sealskin: Meditations in the Celtic SpiritReclaiming the Sealskin: Meditations in the Celtic Spirit by Annie Heppenstall-West is a series of meditations on themes that are mostly drawn from the natural world (eg Ripples, Deer, Fire, Otter). Each theme has a beautifully drawn card that comes ready to be pressed out of the book. The idea is to take a theme and carry the card with you to meditate on for a period of time. Each theme has a biblical text, something for mind, body and spirit and a simple prayer. The book might be used with groups or by individuals. Those making a retreat would find much to ponder in these pages. The whole thing is tinged with a post-modern Celtic aura. Little more needs to be said – those who like post-modern Celtic auras will love it.

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Published in inspires the magazine of the Scottish Episcopal Church

Book Review – Mission Implausible

Mission Implausible: Restoring Credibility to the ChurchMission Implausible – Restoring Credibility to the Church (Paternoster Press £15.99)
Duncan MacLaren’s new book Mission Implausible should be required reading for all those formulating mission strategies and schemes in the church, as well as for students of the mission of God’s people in the world.

Contemporary sociological analysis of society is used by the author to illuminate questions which are more often easier to formulate than to answer. Why do people struggle to believe? How can we explain the decline in church attendance in some parts of the world church?
MacLaren refuses to accept that society is inevitably moving towards secularisation. He writes in a Britain in which people claim to believe yet who rarely connect with church life. Perhaps surprisingly, hope springs from deep and ancient wells, not least models of thinking which come from the Columban mission in Scotland – a missiological community which is at once distinctive, inculturated and engaged.

This is a book which will sit on this reviewer’s bookshelf next to David Bosch’s Transforming Mission. It is a more accessible book and a more entertaining book even though it is never an entirely comfortable read. It can hold its own in lofty company.

Duncan MacLaren is Associate Rector of St Paul’s and St George’s Episcopal Church, Edinburgh.

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Published in inspires, the magazine of the Scottish Episcopal Church