When I ordered this book, I was not too sure of what to expect. The title "The Big Book ... " made me think of volumes like " the big book of party games", or the big book of crosswords." But what I received, was an absolute gem of a book, that clearly introduces the reader to the concept of Christian Mysticism, explores some of the seeming "tensions" along the path, and then explores some forms of prayer that has helped others who tread this path.
The first reading left me enriched, detimined to continue seeking to grow in my prayer relationship with God, and above all the assurence that our path is that of Love. I am beginning to read it again. For me this book is as important as many of those offered by Carmelite writer Ruth Burrows.
Ideal for the beginner or more experienced person, this book never talks down to you, we are all equal.
This, as the slightly tongue in cheek title suggests, is a book for anyone wanting an overview of this often misunderstood area of the Christian experience. It is not an academic book and does not pretend to be, however the reading list is comprehensive with an eclectic range of some leading academic contributors mixed in with popular authors. The same can be said for the list of names to look out for in the 'Communion of Mystics' section. 'Experts' may be surprised at some that do qualify for inclusion or perhaps more so, some that do not. This is to be expected in a subject area that is often very personal.
This introduction is much enlivened by being written from the personal perspective of an author who clearly wishes to bring what he describes as 'Christianity's best kept secret' to a wider audience. It combines a fairly wide view of the main issues of the subject area with an introduction to some of the practices of the contemplative tradition. As a personal verdict I think this book does its intended job well.