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'Living Jesus' John Pritchard

We all agreed that this was a book that was easy to read, flowing well from chapter to chapter. No one agreed with the whole book, but we all found something we agreed with.

John Pritchard expresses the challenging nature of following the way of Jesus and lucidly describes how we fail, both as churches and individuals. This was seen as dispiriting as he did not offer any concrete guidance on what to do about it. The lack of practical solutions was disappointing. His chapter on prayer was not well-received as his language was too flowery for us. Also, his chapter on the Arts was romantic and high-flown, not covering the broad range of the arts, perhaps a little dependant on his own rather elitist tastes. Some chapters spoke more to us than others.

The book was enhanced by relevant quotations from a variety of sources; this added richness to what he was saying. His chapter on other faiths was good but did not deal successfully for all of us with Jesus' words: "No one comes to the Father, but by me. "His book expressed his particular view of Jesus and we felt we all had our own experiences of God and Jesus and they did not always fit in with his, for example his speaking of the birth-story of Jesus as historical. Where they did fit in was in his stress on the social gospel, he spoke for us all.

His statement that the Kingdom of God was a gift not our construction, also caused some problems as we felt building the kingdom was a partnership project and there was much we could do and God wanted us to do. He made very little mention of the Holy Spirit, so important to many of us. In chapter 5 he saw the Church as the hope for the world, whereas we saw the Holy Spirit working God's will through many different agencies and individuals.

To sum up, we felt that his analysis was not original or new and offered no actions or help to meet the challenges he outlined. However, it is important to read books offering different emphases than our own, as that is how we work out and grow our faith recognizing that no one has the complete picture of God.

Frankie Fisher

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