Life not game

Life is not a game of perfect: A course for those who realise it is better to improve than fail to be perfect
John Cox, Kevin Mayhew, 2012

£8.99 (Approx)
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What does it say on the tin?

In trying to be ‘perfect’ itis possible to miss being ‘better’. Sports psychologists are aware of this, and insights from the world of golf are drawn upon here as ana aid to understanding the life of faith andthe sporiti. (Don’t worry, all golfing terms are explained for the non-golfer!). This resource book for group discussion explores how we might become better – as individuals, in our relationships, as people of faith – without being torn by the guilt of not being perfect. Each of the six sessions, with such titles as A miss is as good as a mile and All you need is love, offers introductory thoughts, prayers, readings and suggestions for discussion and activities. Being ‘better’ can be good enough.

What do you get and how?

A5 book and audio CD. Six sessions: A miss is as good as a mile; Practice doesn’t make perfect; Staying positive; All you need is love; Let’s imagine; It’s up to you – but not entirely. Length up to the leader but material for 60 minutes. Audio CD in the back of the book with 23 instrumental tracks.

Who is it for?

Adults, growing, individual




  • What is the overall quality of the material?

    Well-produced A5 slim paperback and audio CD with gentle instrumental music from Kevin Mayhew collection.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Good introduction from author explaining the concept; well laid-out sessions.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    All would need a copy of the book as introductory notes for each session are designed for pre-reading. Introduction contains brief suggestions for effective group leading, including practicalities and sensitivity to the members. Flexibility and respect for one another positively encouraged. Very easy to follow. Each session begins with preparation time for all, using music to aid this, plus opening prayer and time for quiet relaxation. This is followed by a Bible reading, discussion/activity, another reading and discussion. The session closes with a prayer, sometimes corporate. Gentle, accepting and thought-provoking approach.

    Who could lead it?

    The introduction encourages the choice of a sensitive and enabling group leader. The material is clear to use however, so a leader with a little experience would be fine.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Same book as leaders. Introductory reading for each topic is around 5 pages, to be read before the session, and introduces the topic in an engaging, thought-provoking yet light manner.

    How good is any digital material?

    Calming instrumental music from Kevin Mayhew collections. Author suggests using alternatives if it doesn't suit.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Pre-reading the introduction, gathering the few materials, setting up the music, deciding on timings.

    Is there website support? Links?


    Is it dated?

    No, although contemporary illustrations used may date in time.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Very well, with a mixture of discussion both in group and pairs, relaxing/reflecting together, light activities and praying together.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Participants would need to be happy with reading between sessions, but the mixture of discussion, listening and activities (such as trying to write with your unpreferred hand) and prayers/responses with visual aids make this a creative resource which should suit many. Accompanying music is suggested twice for each session and adds to the gentle feel of this course.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Suitable for many in its combination of honest, reflective thought and interaction with prayer and biblical material.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Activities should bring the topics to life both for the group and the individuals within it. Some suggestions for ongoing steps, but most response is focused around encouraging people to explore the concepts. More small steps towards applying their findings would enhance this thoughtful resource.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    The discussions are entirely based on the two biblical passages each session, so the majority of each session revolves around the biblical material.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Chance to quietly reflect on the passages used before engaging with the three questions per passage.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    The questions related to the passage are all strong on application.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Broad Anglican. John Cox is a retired Anglican Archdeacon and Director of Education.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Having acknowledged that this course has a gentle approach to the topics, the author hits the problems of humanity head on.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Great mix of biblical material, prayer and discussion tackling common subjects that are challenging for many.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    Light but thought-provoking exploration of the topics. Some searching questions included for discussion.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Many references to everyday situations pertinent to the topic. Golf used as an illustration throughout, but not too much, and as promised by the cover, the terms are explained. This resource is about how we do life, especially if we are tempted to think we have to get everything right to succeed. It challenges this assumption in a gentle but firm way in order to suggest different ways of thinking and being.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    This is not a focus.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Not a focus.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Not a focus, although the concept of a perfectionist attitude to life affects many people.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a focus.

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