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Barefoot Disciple: Walking the Way of Passionate Humility (Lent Book 2011) Paperback – 2 Dec 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum; Reprint edition (2 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441182861
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441182869
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 245,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

... an accessible and thought-provoking exploration of what this this 'rare and unfashionable virtue' might look like in daily life once it is let loose from the pages of the bible and hagiographies of saints... [the book] will challenge different people in different ways. --The Pastoral Review Volume 7 Issue 6

... profitable for adult Christian disciples wherever they are in their faith journey. --Franiciscan

About the Author

Stephen Cherry is Director of Ministry for Durham diocese, a Residentiary Canon of Durham Cathedral and a former Chaplain of King's College Cambridge. He has degrees in Theology and Psychology, and a PhD on the theology and practice of forgiveness. He is an experienced parish priest and a member of all the national Anglican adult learning and professional development networks, as well as of the Receptive Ecumenism (international Roman Catholic and ecumenical) project. He has written for The Independent, the Church Times, Theology and Christian. His contributions to Praying for England (Continuum, 2008) and Forgiveness in Context (T & T Clark, 2004) have been particularly well reviewed -- Theology described his chapter in the latter as 'the jewel in the collection.'

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By jessica@jkp.com on 9 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a good book! Such a difficult topic to write about without sounding arrogant or self satisfied, and he manages to avoid both, with an admirable degree of honest self-reflection at the outset. He certainly got my sympathy on this in the first chapter. From there on I found it painful reading for several chapters, because while showing how easy it is to fall short, he certainly makes it clear how and why this happens, and one cannot help but cringe in reflection of one's own failures and failings. At least one begins to understand them better. There's an excellent chapter on grumbling - what is really going on when we grumble, and why it is so corrosive of our relationships, and so self-destructive. Ouch! I think this is really well done - no criticism of the reader or the reader's possible attitudes, just a gentle but firm analysis of what grumbling is and what happens when you do it. There is a lovely exploration of seeing the new - in people, places, cultures and ideas - beautifully connected to the awareness of who we are as people and how we pay attention and open ourselves to new possibilities, and how we change and enlarge ourselves in the process. I loved the stories he wove through the text of his own experiences - these were so helpful, and I resonated with so many of them. The luggage on the bus and the anxiety about losing it, and what a burden one lugs around with one worrying about all one's possessions. How painfully true. I thought this was a really excellent book and am so pleased to have found it, and feel I have grown just a little by being challenged and made to think about bits of myself I am not very proud of. Looking forward to his next book now!
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Holly E. Ordway on 16 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
The subject of Barefoot Disciple is humility - and what a tricky subject that is. Even to presume to talk about humility seems a little arrogant. And yet, in our very avoidance of the subject, in our dance of I-won't-presume-don't-look-at-me, we betray a deep misunderstanding of what humility really is. It is not the same thing as humiliation; in fact, it is something deeply to be desired. Stephen Cherry opens Barefoot Disciple with an interesting and challenging reflection on that very topic - and an assessment of just how important humility is. Yes, it's important enough to risk be called proud for daring to write a book about it!

How is it even possible for us to grow in humility? Cherry approaches that key question in a roundabout way, by first challenging some of our preconceptions about humility. There's a lot more to humility than meets the eye (how appropriate, right?) For one thing, he shows us that humility helps us to achieve more, because it helps us be resilient and try again after a setback: "it is precisely those with a humble attitude who will not be as damaged by failure as those arrogant enough to believe that they should expect to be successful at the first attempt."

The challenge, then, that he issues is for us to grow in humility. How is this possible, you might well ask? Certainly not by sheer willpower or direct effort: "For growth in humility does not come through a kind of sanctified self-help programme. Rather it comes from the realization that in the deepest, most important and fundamental matters we do not have the capacity to sort ourselves out. Growth in humility happens through a process not of instruction or education as such, but through openness and vulnerability.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Meadows on 12 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
The subject of the book is humility, which the author (a fairly high church Anglican at Durham Cathedral) acknowledges is very tricky to write about. Most of the first chapter is devoted to the challenges of writing about the subject without taking pride in the fact that one is humble.

This is what I would describe as a "lifestyle christianity" book. It's not self-help dressed up in christian clothes but neither is it a detailed theological study. Cherry picks out examples from his own life and draws on as many, if not more, secular sources as he does biblical quotations. In this respect, the writing style is not entirely dissimilar from that of C.S. Lewis.

The barefoot of the title is derived from Cherry's own experience of pilgrimages to Lindisfarne where some people went barefoot as they crossed the mud flat at low tide. The subtitle of the book, "walking the way of passionate humility," is sort of defined but is really demonstrated throughout the whole book. It is hard to sum up in a paragraph, so having made several attempts whilst writing this review, I decided not to and simply recommend that you read the book yourself.

What is core to Cherry's viewpoint that passionate humility goes firmly against conventional (or we might say `worldly') wisdom. It is not piousness or grovelling, where the example of Dickens' character, Uriah Heap, is held as an example of exactly what Cherry doesn't mean. This is far more affirmative, yet not self-seeking. It is the practicalities of `living out' this worldview that Cherry unpacks.

This is an intensely thought-provoking book and one that I would recommend to you to read at any time, not just during Lent/Easter.
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