Reconciliation
Muthuraj Swamy, SPCK, 2018

£9.99 (Approx)
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2019.

‘A thoroughly biblical guide to reconciliation – its passions and problems, its complexity and utter cruciality. Dr Swamy offers new angles on old stories, prophetic messages, and a gospel wisdom on becoming people of peace.’ (Professor David F. Ford, University of Cambridge).

Global in scope, but homing in on the role ordinary people play in conflict and division, Reconciliation enables Christians to engage confidently in a ministry bequeathed to us by Christ himself.

The book issues a vibrant call to the Church to support and strengthen relationships among church members; to cross borders to build connections with different denominations; and to maintain open attitudes towards our neighbours from other religions and ideologies.

What do you get?

Colourful paperback with 40 biblically-based meditations that introduce topics such as impediments to reconciliation, risking the self, humility and self-criticism, radical openness to the other and peace with justice. Questions for reflection are included, making Reconciliation suitable for use at weekly gatherings or for everyday devotion during Lent.

  1. Introduction: The ministry of reconciliation
  2. The foundations of reconciliation
  3. Impediments to reconciliation
  4. Risking the self
  5. Humility and self-criticism
  6. Radical openness to the other
  7. Peace with justice.

Available as an ebook.

Who is it for?

Adult, individuals, small groups. Beginning, Growing.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Fascinating and absorbing exploration of reconciliation, firmly based in biblical material and application.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Somewhat confusing numbering of chapters and studies – where the first set of studies begin in chapter 2. The introductory chapter is not labelled as such in the narrative, only on the contents’ page. Each section has an introduction itself; followed by the daily studies, numbered consecutively throughout the book.

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    No extra guidance on how to use as a group study. Three questions follow each daily study. Each study is around three/four pages long. No other material.

    Who could lead it?

    A leader who is confident to adapt the material from the daily reflections and questions for a group.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    Each member would do well to have their own copy of the book; the daily reflections are well worth it, and discussing some of them would only benefit. Each reflection begins on a new page. So, easy for the individual to use; needs some imagination to make the most of this book in a group setting.

    How good is any digital material?

    N/A

    How much prep will I have to do?

    The leader would have to decide how to use this material to the benefit of the group – perhaps by inviting each member to read and respond to one reflection and introduce it to the group; or picking out a favourite three of the reflections etc.

    Is there website support? Links?

    N/A

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    The option here is to use the discussion questions (three after each reflection) as a group; depending on how the leader chooses to use the material. These should engender good interaction, as they are open and thought-provoking.

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

    Reading, listening and discussion. Anything in addition would need to be invented.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Would suit a more literate group who are happy to read.

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

    Some of the discussions may lead to this, but otherwise this would be up the group members.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Every reflection is based on a passage, theme or passages from the Bible; others are referenced within the reflections.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Swamy explores the biblical material, often in novel ways, with helpful background information woven into his thoughts. The whole resource is firmly based in biblical material. If you read all the reflections, you will gain both knowledge of a wide range of biblical material, together with much food for thought and action.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    A huge strength of this resource, whether within the reflection, or crystallised in the following questions. Everything is rooted in the reality we face every day, ranging from the big picture to the small daily decisions that lead us inexorably in one direction or another.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Broadly evangelical.

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

    Swamy manages to comment on both popular and less visited biblical stories with insight, inspiration and challenge. These in their turn cover a vast range of human experience, all in the context of our relationship with God.

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

    A wide range of biblical material is covered in the 40 reflections, should they all be used. Great exploration of reconciliation in many of its guises and examples throughout Scripture. Deep and wide at the same time. Inspiring.

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

    Swamy challenges us to put reconciliation at the top of our agenda, in a spirit of true love and gritty determination, as Jesus demonstrated. Includes gentle encouragement to reconsider how we approach those of other faiths and traditions.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    This is integral to the resource. Swamy does not allow us to stay in our ‘heads’ but leads us to integrate our hearts and actions also.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Implicit in the challenge to live in line with the biblical mandate for reconciliation.

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

    Some of the discussion questions could lead to this.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Set in the context of Jesus being the answer to the world’s issues, especially through the church’s potential calling to reconciliation. Thoroughly acknowledges the seriousness of both the problems and the difficulties involved in true reconciliation.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Implicit in most of the material. The author underlines the potential of the gospel to effect true reconciliation, in many different circumstances.

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