Books reviewed by James Woodward

Living ordinary life in a spiritual way

Wild Goose Chase: exploring the spirituality of everyday lifeWild Goose Chase: exploring the spirituality of everyday life
by Annie Heppenstall, Wild Goose Publications, 2006, 221 pp, £10.99, ISBN 9781901557947

This is a real gem of a book! It is full of treasure and rather like reading a cookery book, one gets the sense that the author is fully immersed in the exciting process of what it means to explore our spirituality in the everyday business of life! The writing has emerged out of practice.

The title is an evocative one. The book provides a wide range of resources (scripture, comment, reflection, story, prayer, liturgy) to help the reader or group explore the journey that each of us makes as we seek to live ordinary life in a spiritual way. The book challenges us to move out of our comfort zone of the over-familiar, to learn new ways of shared living and reflection, in order to dig deeper into the timeless depth of feeling and spiritual energy. Can we discover new ways of enabling our soul's journey to discover the God of love?

There are two reasons for the title. First, its' focus is on birds and their significance. Birds often appear as spiritual beings sent by God to communicate divine messages. So seven chapters deal with the Raven; the Dove; the Cockerel; the Eagle; the Phoenix; the Sparrow and the Swallow; the Swan and the Wild Goose, as a way into dealing with a variety of spiritual themes, including God in the ordinary; seeking and finding love; communions; communication and meeting our needs.

Second, the title reminds us of the dangers of controlling the spirit within established religious institutions! We are always searching, unsettled, questioning, open to change and movement and transformation. This is a radical gospel that demands much more than we can give and is often more liberating and exciting than we allow for.

The book opens these themes up in a very practical and challenging way. The book deserves to find its' ways into all the wrong sorts of hands for all the right kinds of reasons!


James Woodward