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What is the Point of Being a Christian? Paperback – 13 Nov 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum / Burns & Oates; 1st Edition edition (13 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0860123693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0860123699
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.8 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Timothy Radcliffe was Master of The Dominican Order. He is the winner of the 2007 Michael Ramsey prize for theological writing for his book What is the Point of Being a Christian? He was the author of The Archbishop of Canterbury`s 2009 Lent Book Why Go to Church? He lives in Oxford but spends much of his year giving retreats, lectures and conference key-note addresses in the UK and overseas.

Product Description

Review

This book deserves to be, and indeed must be read ... Radcliffe writes with the essential humility of a man who has lived the Christian life in many different cultures. --James Kelly in Catholic Times, 2007

About the Author

Timothy Radcliffe OP is a priest and a Dominican friar. He has taught scripture in the University of Oxford and in his mid-forties was elected Master General of the Dominican Order.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Peter Davies TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I admire authors who set out with a big question, and then bring lots of helpful material together to answer it fully and honestly. To achieve such books successfully usually means that the author has spent most of their life wrestling with a particular question.

In this book Timothy Radcliffe tackles answering his question with a combination of learning, enthusiastic but disciplined passion and many stories and examples. You sense he has a long open hearted experience, which has seen many people and problems. Reading his text it becomes clear that he has not rushed to judgement, nor sought refuge in doctrine, but has sought to understand people and their predicaments.

This is an excellent book that shows exactly what the point of being a Christian is. It is a great book for Christians reflecting on their faith and practice. For those who want to understand more about Christianity and its potential then this book is a good starting point.

It's one of those starting points that we may only recognise fully after some exploration, and as T.S. Elliot says,
"And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."

My thanks to Timothy Radcliffe for writing this book which will help many of us to know our faith more deeply.
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118 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Ms. M. Moules on 18 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
I cannot praise this book highly enough. It opens up the riches of traditions in the church, and allows the reader to come to their own conclusions about how to build on those traditions. There is none of the dogma that one finds with some contemporary Christian writers.

It doesn't sink to the level of answering the superficial questions that people ask, but looks at the person behind those questions, and how they relate to the world. Like any good writer, he compliments the reader by assuming an ability to engage with the text no matter what their education, and anyone reading this will find something to help them.

He is not patronising, but encouraging, and doesn't push the RC line down one's throat. I'm a Methodist, and found that the book spoke to me far more deeply than many other 'protestant' writers.

I would recommend this as a follow-on from someone like McLaren, or CS Lewis, as it continues the open-hearted and open-minded thinking of both authors.
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133 of 137 people found the following review helpful By Nicktomjoe on 5 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
Anyone who thinks that Roman Catholicism is just about preaching a narrow morality would do well to consider the overall message of this book: "God coming to meet us in all the drama of our lives: birth and death, eating and drinking, sex and healing.” Radcliffe is concerned with an inner spiritual life – “breathing with the rhythm of the Eucharist” as he calls it. As is fitting to someone who has been Master of the Catholic Church’s Order of Preachers, he is a great wordsmith, and phrases such as “Grace means we can stretch, stand upright and unwind as we do to prayer the Our Father” rub shoulders with intriguing chapter titles such as “The Body Electric” and “Breeding Pandas.” He cites Rowan Williams with as much ease as he does thirteen-century theologians, and roots his thinking in traditional teaching, in the Gospels. Quirky, humorous, but with a serious set of messages about what really is the point of being a Christian, this is a great book to give focus to a lacklustre Lent or to give colour to the greyer days of the Christian life.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M1Opsman on 30 July 2009
Format: Paperback
For a man whose experience of life in all its glory can only be limited by his vow of chastity, Timothy Radcliffe seems to have a profound grasp of passion and human relationships. He mixes a rare insight into the human condition with wit and humour which makes me warm to him a great deal. His Catholic roots appear to have branched into the wider sphere of christian belief and I find him so refreshing it's demolished many a preconception I had of the 'narrow-minded, insular and exclusive' Catholic Church. A most challenging and entertaining book, truly ecumenical and sensitive to the yearnings (both secular and spiritual) within many of us.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Petra Bristol on 4 July 2009
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a sensible critique of Christian faith for the 21st century, buy this book! It is full of insights and anecdotes drawn from the author's experience of running the worldwide Roman Catholic Dominican order, as well as just being an ordinary monk. Timothy Radcliffe deals head on with with the ambiguities of being a Christian in this scientific age of lost innocence. How can we be Christians in a world where the Jewish victims of the Holocaust put God on trial and fouind him wanting? What is the right Christian response to people whose lifestyles radically differ from their own? Timothy Radcliffe does not offer a prescription. Instead he suggests approaches to help us work it out for ourselves.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this for my daughter a few years ago, and pulled it off her shelf for some Lenten spiritual reading (somewhat belatedly, as I didn't get round to starting it until Easter afternoon). It's an excellent, thought-provoking account which starts with a gentle reminder of (what should be) one of the characteristics of the Christian life: an attractive and intriguing freedom that excites the curiosity of others. The author follows that by sharing his insights into the nature of things like suffering, compassion, justice, community and love. These are huge topics, but they're tackled with an ease that draws the reader along as the differences between the Christian perspective and that of the secular, materialist world is highlighted. Take, for example, this answer (p78) to a question that's been asked in every generation:

"Why is waiting so much part of being a Christian? Why cannot God just give us now what we long for, justice for the poor and perfect happiness for us all? [...] One reason why our God takes so much time is because he is not a god. Our God is not a powerful celestial superman, a sort of invisible President Bush on a cosmic scale who might come bursting in from the outside. [...] God comes from within. He is, as St Augustine said, close to us than we are to ourselves or, as the Qur'an says, closer to us than our jugular vein."

Some might think it surprising to find an reference to the Qur'an in a book written by a Catholic priest, but it easily falls within his wide scope here (for example, he frequently refers with great approval to the words of Rowan Williams, who was Archbishop of Canterbury when this book was written). Those of us who've heard Fr Radcliffe's sermons might have perhaps felt the need to take some of his wise and generous words away to ponder: this book satisfies that very well.
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