Books reviewed by James Woodward

Dealing with the loose ends of life

Grain in Winter:  
by Donald Eadie
Epworth Press 1999 (ISBN 0-7162-0524-6) xv1+171pp, £7.95 pbk

There has long been an association between Christianity and health.  The association is an ambiguous one.  While, for example, Christians were involved in hospitals for many centuries, some would argue that religion has been harmful in its approach to health and wholeness.  A close examination of the Christian religion’s engagement with issues like Mental Health or Aids bears out this assertion, namely that religion has the power to deepen prejudice, polarize and blame.

This book, written by a man who in recent years lived with a serious spinal condition which forced him to retire as Chairman of the Birmingham District of the Methodist Church, is a useful and stimulating addition to the pastoral resources available to those who are coping with change.

It is a collection, sometimes very disjointed, of reflections on living with change that might emerge within any one of life’s transitional period: the early years of parenthood, ill health, employment, redundancy, retirement, separation, divorce or bereavement.  There are those who Eadie calls ‘Saturday’ people, people in a wide variety of circumstances learning what it can mean to wait within a sustained, bewildering or messy period of transition.  This is a powerful and moving book that manages the tensions and paradoxes between the Christian tradition and the complexity of human experience.  It draws on the resources of the spiritual tradition and the Bible and manages almost within every page to take the reader to a different point of perspective and understanding.  It is also a radical book.  Eadie has often been in the firing line for advocating British justice and respect between people of all faiths.  There are powerful challenges to be heard between gay and straight people.

It is to be hoped that Eadie will continue to share with us his journey and more theology will come from the pen of this intelligent, compassionate and honest man.

James Woodward