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Abiding (Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book) [Paperback]

Ben Quash
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Book Description

22 Nov 2012 Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book
Abiding is not a word we have much use for in everyday conversation. Yet Ben Quash shows that this one concept is central to the Christian life. Abiding, as Quash demonstrates, has the sense of full personal commitment, a quality of solidarity that 'waiting' just cannot convey. It speaks of the centrality of order, consistency and continuity in the Christian tradition, of God's commitment to us and ours to our communities. On the other hand, the kind of 'abiding' that Jesus calls his followers to is one of relinquishment, openness and change, living a life out of one's own control so as to 'abide' in Him. Drawing on the wisdom and imagery of modern fiction, film and art, as well as examples of key figures in the classical Christian tradition, Quash skilfully and creatively explores the implications that 'abiding' has for our bodies and minds, our relationships and communities, and our spiritual lives.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum; 1 edition (22 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441151117
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441151117
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 225,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


Ben Quashs Lent book is a tremendous piece of writing which challenges and inspires in equal measure. It is full of profound but accessible theological insights which give pause for prayerful thought. --Theology

About the Author

Ben Quash is Professor of Christian Theology and the Arts at King's College London, UK.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All theology should be like this 16 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book. It is intelligent, lucid, subtle, and very hard to put down. Ben Quash writes with great integrity and relevant personal reflections, on the meaning of 'abiding' in places, communities, relationships, and one's own mind and body. Quash is Professor of Christianity and the Arts at King's College London and each chapter employs examples from literature, films, paintings etc. These are thought provoking (sometimes surprising) and perfectly illustrate his points. A 'popular' rather than a strictly 'academic' book, this is the product of great scholarship and deep insight and there is nothing whatsoever 'dumbed down' about it. Much theological writing is essentially abstract; this is theology which acknowledges the great mystery of the divine but focuses on the reality of lived existence, deftly handling the relationship between the mysterious and the inhabited, and making a significant contribution to answering the question 'How can I live in relationship with God and with other people?' Although there is, necessarily, a Christian focus to this book, its sensitive insights into the human condition would make it a valuable read for anyone of any faith or none. If you read one book this year, make it this one.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep without being dense 7 Feb 2013
By emptor
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is easy to read as it is so well written. It contains material that stimulates the reader to go to the roots of belief, whatever the starting point of faith or even no faith. This is just what is needed at a time when so many are made to feel insecure. It does not offer glib answers but encourages a discovery of fresh insights into fundamental and eternal truths that make sense in, and indeed of, the turmoil of these days.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought on ABIDING 25 Mar 2013
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It threw new insights into the word `ABIDING` and into the nature and different aspects of abiding. I try to manage at least to make the effort of tackling one Lent Book each year - and often fail! This really was something special and one of the greatest things to me was the openness and the humble approach of the author. As I am on the edge of my second child-hood I feel that it would be great to sit at his feet as one of his students. Thank you Professor Quash
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputtdownable 2 Mar 2013
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A truly fascinating read. He opens the words of the Bible in a way that I had never thought of before. His honesty and generosity in relating personal topics (alcoholism in his family, being divorced) made me feel very peaceful. As a divorced woman myself, I used to feel upset about feeling a "failure" and his comments on abiding by our feelings and maybe seeing divorce in a different way (we are always linked to our ex's, even in our feelings, negative or positive)was rather reassuring.

His comments on relationships (i.e. staying with the ones that are lousy, and facing the monsters within them) was refreshing, to say the least. I love the way he says what he thinks, in a very readable and open manner. Good for him.

It is challenging to think of the Bible as a modern day book, and after reading "Abiding", I have to say that I would read the Bible in at least one totally different way.

He comments on the way our world today is suspicious of others, and "voyeuristic" (even if this is not the actual word he uses). See Facebook, and the way we create new images of ourselves, and the insecurity issues this is based on.

Great stuff. Hope he has other books. I'd read them all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What is Abiding? 23 Mar 2013
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A good read - needing some time and space to concentrate! Ben Quash uses different characters to illustrate each chapter - describing and unlocking what real Abiding is all about. I found this to be a thought-provoking book which encouraged me to explore my own journey and to appreciate how I can Abide more with Father God.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very thoughtful book 4 Mar 2013
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I am writing this review, whilst only about half way thought the book. But am enjoying it very much. The style is very readable, and gives you lots to think about during the day. If you want a Lent book for solitary reading - but a lovely piece of peaceful music on, make a cup of tea and enjoy spending half an hour reading this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking 22 Feb 2013
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Friends recommendation as well as advertising. A third of the way through as it's reading for Lent. Helpful insights, some material to reflect and to challenge. I'm finding it easy to access and very readable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointing 10 Sep 2013
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I have greatly enjoyed and learned from other work by this author so I was somewhat disappointed with this book.

For a Lent book, the chapters are overlong (even the epilogue) for group use and require some stamina for individual reading, especially if one is to meditate on their contents rather than merely reading them.

By far the most relevant chapter was about exile. Most lay Christians have to live most of their lives in the secular world and to negotiate Christian vales along with worldly ones (And there is woefully little guidance from clergy about how to do this.)

There's also some good exegesis based on what the Greek in some texts actually says. Especially good was his looking at the word `truth' as in `I am the way, the truth and the life' which is often used to assert the exclusiveness of Christianity and to denigrate other religions. Behind this saying of Jesus is Aramaic which will not allow such a view to be valid if built on this text.

I also liked his take on the `many mansions' mentioned in John - not a pie in the sky reward for urchin children normally unable to get into the squire's house but a space for everyone in diversity: something the present Anglican Communion needs to get its head around as it seeks to exclude and even punish some minority groups.

One query: The author says that S. Augustine of Hippo believed that peace was more deeply encoded into the DNA of the universe than conflict. Given the times through which he was living, with the fall of the Roman Empire, I am surer this was very reassuring. But is it true? We seem to live through endless conflicts.

One niggle: the author's response to biblical illiteracy is to suggest that religious education in schools be used to teach the bible.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Lent book
This is a book to which one will return after this Lent. A brilliant combination of art and faith - thanks to the author and Rowan Williams!
Published 11 months ago by Organist
3.0 out of 5 stars Abiding
Some parts of the book touched me profoundly, but I felt a little contrived in some respects where practically every subject was drawn it. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Sister Meg
5.0 out of 5 stars Lent Book with a difference
This is a very thought provoking book for Christians to follow in a discussion group - not for reading without discussion. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Brenda Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spring Book
Lent books are often rather forced. This one has been worth re-reading later in the spring. Quash is a philosopher who has sensitivity and style, and who knows where wisdom is to... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Laurence Target
4.0 out of 5 stars More than a Lent Book
I bought this on the recommendation of the Archbishop - not personally, you understand! It is well written with the assumption that the reader can understand complex language and... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Square Peg
5.0 out of 5 stars Christian Spirituality Abiding in a Nutshell
We are all familiar with the expression; `to settle down` in connection with a committed human relationship. Read more
Published 18 months ago by macdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars Sound and practical
Easy to see why this was the last Archbishop of Canterbury's chosen Lent book for this year. Practical and at the same time 'not of this world' as title suggests.
Published 18 months ago by Rev. Derek Booth
2.0 out of 5 stars Abstract Lent book
Started out well, but very cerebral and abstract for an ancient grandmother. Recommendation by Archbishop Rowan should have told me it would not be easy.
Published 19 months ago by Margaret Meads
4.0 out of 5 stars Curates Egg
Much of this book is truly wonderful and will give the reader fresh insights into the joy of the Christian life. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Over60
5.0 out of 5 stars A very relevant book for our time.
A great book, full of meaningful insights. An excellent understanding of what it means to live a Christian life in the 21st century.
Published 19 months ago by Bryan Parsons
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