Friday, 30 March 2018

Being There - How To Love Those Who Are Hurting

There are many books written for those who are suffering but not so many for those who are trying to help and support the suffering. This is where Being There comes in. Written by Dave Furman (the husband of Gloria Furman, for those ladies out there who have enjoyed her books), this is written from the perspective of both one who is a sufferer and who as a pastor also cares for the suffering. As such he has quite a unique view of the subject.
The book begins by discussing loss. Both the sufferer and the carer experience loss in these situations and many times the loss to the carer is not acknowledged. This loss is real and painful and will often be silently grieved. Furman points the carer to the hope and comfort that is only truly found in the Scriptures.
The first and primary important role of the carer is to be sure that they are walking with the Lord.  From whom is the carer getting the strength and desire to care? Is the motivation to care borne out of duty, or pride, or is it borne out of a desire to show the glory of God? Where is the comfort for the carer when their care appears to be unappreciated? "Grow in your love for the Lord, and you will grow in your love for the hurting".
Furman then shows from Scripture how a carer can be a faithful friend, a 'hope dealer' and how to follow the example of Jesus in their sacrificial service to others. The importance and power of prayer is also covered. One challenging chapter deals with the necessity of accepting the faithful rebuke of a friend or not shying of giving rebuke in the right spirit.
A very practical chapter gives a list of 10 don'ts when attempting to care for the suffering, from suggesting the latest miracle oil to blaming their sin for their situation. Some of these don'ts may appear obvious, but it is so easy in well-meaning to offend if the needs of the sufferer are not properly considered.
Furman finishes by discussing the role of the Church in caring for others. The shared burdens, the corporate prayer, and most importantly the preaching of the Gospel.
An afterword is added from Gloria who is able to give a small insight into her journey of caring for Dave and from where she gets the strength she needs for each day.
This is a helpful and easy to read book with its focus firmly on the Gospel and the hope that is found there for both sufferer and carer. And as a bonus, the imagery of the cover picture is fantastic!

Being There by Dave Furman, published by Crossway, £8.99

Monday, 5 March 2018

There's a place for historical fiction in your life!

Our historical fiction section is growing.  Not with cheesy romantic novels that have little solid content but books with real history, gripping fiction, and faithful gospel messages. I can't talk about historical fiction without mentioning Douglas Bond - a favourite author in this shop who has written great historical fiction for a variety of age ranges. Deborah Alcock is another well known writer of deeply historical, excellent fiction titles. And there are many more to go at! (Just ask us if you need some advice as to where to start). New to our shelves is author Christina Eastwood who has recently written 'Trasna Na Dtonna: A Tale of Three Cities'. This covers a period of the Reformation in Italy and Ireland through a story of the life and times of Willian Bedell (1570 - 1642). We received a review copy a few months ago and one willing teenager has devoured the book for us and written this review...

Christina Eastwood here weaves an enjoyable, well written story with the very real yet relatively unknown history of the reformation in Venice and Ireland.  The story follows Samuele throughout much of his life, his childhood in Venice in the Servite Monastry, his education in Geneva and then his travels in England and Ireland.  Eastwood links real people and real events with Samuele's story. She develops both these and her fictional characters, making the happiness and grief throughout the book very real and poignant.  I think it is a compelling book, and I would recommend it, mainly to teenagers with an interest in history, but I am sure that any young person would find it enjoyable.
Matthew (age 14)

Trasna Na Dtonna: A Tale of Three Cities by Christina Eastwood, £9.99

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Tackling Mental Illness Together

This is a most welcome book on a hot topic, especially coming as it does from a respected authority on the subject currently working in the UK National Health Service, Alan Thomas, who is Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at Newcastle University.
A recurring theme in the book is reflected in its title - that 'people with minimal training can provide real therapeutic benefit to the mentally ill'.  Professor Thomas is concerned that DSM-5, the psychiatrist's diagnostic manual, has widened the definition of mental illness. Now, it seems, the behaviour is the disorder.  More people are thus brought within the realm of treatment by the health profession, and this can send a discouraging and disempowering signal to ministers and churches - "this is a job for professionals." The truth is that both have complementary roles, and that wise, experienced, empathetic,  'ordinary' christians with good listening skills, who know the sufferer, can provide vital support to those with mental illnesses.
The subtitle of the book is 'A Biblical and Practical Approach', and hence begins with emphasizing the body-and-soul nature of man (mental illness is not just "all in the mind"), and the implications of the Fall on what we were made for. Professor Thomas roundly criticizes Freud's view of the unconscious mind, and provides a very clear assessment of the issue of personal responsibility in relation to mental illness ("Is it sickness or sin?"). He fascinatingly observes the effect of culture upon the manifestation of stress, eg. shell shock, before coming on to an overview of treatments - drugs, ECT, psychological approaches, and their effectiveness across the whole spectrum of mental illness. This is an informative guide and provides a good number of illustrative case studies drawn from many years of clinical practice.
Mental illness is difficult territory, but this book impresses as a go-to resource - not a slick read by any means, but giving an all-too-rare Christian perspective on a big subject.

Tackling Mental Illness Together by Alan Thomas, published by IVP, p/b £9.99

Thursday, 11 January 2018

New Year!

It's January! We had a very busy run up to Christmas, for which we are thankful. We very much appreciate the loyalty and support we receive for our small independent shop. Suddenly we have arrived in January and are needing to do a long awaited sort out (not just of books, but of our desks 😨).  In the meantime, many of you will be settling down to a new daily reading book.  If you haven't yet found a suitable one, we have some suggestions in our latest eBulletin... click here to view.
Don't forget though, that a sort out around here means that lots of books will be heading onto our sale lists - especially the £3 list. So go on, pick up a bargain while you can!
Our £3 sale list!