The Drama of Living: Becoming Wise in the Spirit. “A deeply moving, illuminating book” says Haddon Willmer, one we should all read

I have just read a deeply moving, illuminating book, The Drama of Living: Becoming Wise in the Spirit (Canterbury Press, 2014). It is so good I would like to persuade all my friends to read it.

David FordThe author is David Ford (left) until recently Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, not only a learned, influential theologian, but also an adventurous pilgrim of faith.

This is not a book directed at other theologians, but at anyone who is engaged in the drama of living. It is written in a plain, attractive style. It does not talk in academic code, and explains any technicalities simply and effectively.

All the same, it is a challenge worth rising to. I don’t pretend it is a doddle: it is not for reading on the beach, when you are sleepy in the sun. Give yourself the best possible conditions to hear it.

Book (324x499)I presume to offer two helps to reading this book well, with enjoyment and benefit.

The first is to read chapter 5, on ‘Loving: Intimate, Dramatic, Ultimate’, as a taster. It begins with the unusual love poems of Siadhail, celebrating married love, then considers ‘the larger life of love’ in the world, where we all live with ‘the vocation to love’, and ends with more from the Gospel of John which centres on God’s loving and our living in that love.

The second help is to read it in a group of friends. This book has been made out of the many and varied conversations and joint projects David Ford has engaged in throughout his life –with friends and colleagues and in communities, such as L’Arche. They have been thinking and growing together. So it is in the spirit of the book for us to read it together, to help each other get the most out of it, and to share the drama of living together.

A group could read it in under three months ( a chapter at a time, every two weeks). I would not minimise the commitment of time and attention that would require, but I am sure it would be well worth the effort.

I would be glad to convene a group if it is wanted. Please get in touch by email:

You can view a video of David Ford talking about the book at Westminster Abbey here:


Haddon Wilmer urges us to read Roy Searle’s blog on the migrant crisis – here’s just the beginning, see below for the link to Roy’s full article

“Rediscovering what it is to be human and that every human being matters.” 

smiley-kids-960x250-1It was an unexpected and very pleasant surprise. Occasionally I help out at the local United Reformed Church and yesterday led their morning service. Expecting a handful of people in the congregation, predominantly elderly, it was wonderful to welcome a party of over 20 young people from 11 different nations who were staying in Wooler on an international young people’s camp. They certainly enlivened the service and whilst their presence required a revision and revamping on the spot of how to present what I had prepared, it was a very stimulating and enjoyable morning, which everyone in the congregation appreciated.

30-7-15-send-in-the-army-800x450It was such a pleasant experience, given the appalling and disreputable newspaper headlines and television covering of the crisis in Calais recently. The appalling, toxic language that has been deployed by the media and lamentably by politicians, including the Prime Minister, has only served to fuel the antagonism, hostility and antipathy towards migrants. David Cameron has evoked international criticism by he describing migrants in Calais trying to get into Britain as a “swarm” and his knee-jerk popularist response to the crisis was to speak about strong armed tactics, offensive measures including dogs to deter the migrants from entry.


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