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on 16 January 2013
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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on 2 March 2013
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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on 7 February 2013
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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on 25 March 2013
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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on 10 September 2013
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. This may have happened at his public school but unless the subject was given three times as much time as currently, that would be to neglect all other religions and do pupils a disservice. He hasn't thought this through.
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on 4 March 2013
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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on 23 March 2013
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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on 22 February 2013
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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on 25 March 2013
Much of this book is truly wonderful and will give the reader fresh insights into the joy of the Christian life. I personally didn't find all of the analogies helpful, but that comes down to personal taste and others may find some appealing to them that I found unhelpful e.g."The Dude" Highly recommended as a book to read and ponder at any time but particularly in Lent.
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on 7 April 2015
Too much like hard work to make it worth the effort.

Yes, I get that Christianity can be complicated at times and that over-simplification serves no one... but neither does unnecessarily self-aggrandising prose. I'm perfectly capable of understanding it but I had to concentrate so much on de-cyphering the way it was said it got in the way of looking at *what* was said. It reads like a good first draft, before the editor gets hold of it and says "Re-write this to make it readable and accessible instead of showing of".

Overall it gives me the impression of a book written for the author's benefit of writing, not the readers' benefit of having read it. It's not a bad book, just takes more time and energy than is worthwhile when there are other books that work as well, more easily.
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