following on from the post about spirited exchanges a couple of posts back, chrysalis arrived in the post. this is the latest book by alan jamieson (who blogs here with paul). (i think i mentioned it before when i got the manuscript?). alan has written several books offering commentary on and research on church leavers. he has made the case that the journey they are on is valid and in some cases leaving church may even be essential to move on in their growth. i think his work has been very important both to help people in that space and to help churches understand the different journies people can be on.
chrysalis is in the same area but it is a book aimed at the individual in that space of transformation on the journey of faith. it is a thin book (always a plus as far as i am concerned) and is absolutely wonderful. when i originally had the manuscript i immediately gave it away to some people who i could see were exactly in the space it was talking about.
i don't quite know why but i have become an endorser of books - i'm really not sure what value it has or what it means but anyway i am usually glad to oblige particularly if it is someone i know and a book i am enthusiastic about. i gave rather a long endorsement of this one so here it is by way of a review...
chrysalis is a wonderful book that will help many people on their journey of faith. there are many who come to a stage of christian faith where what once sustained them has grown dry and lifeless. no amount of trying harder seems to improve things. this can be a confusing lonely experience and resources to help people in that space are hard to find. chrysalis is a gift to the person in this place offering some signposts or a roadmap and encouragement for the difficult journey. this is a process many travellers have been on before, is normal and leads to transformation into a different kind of experience of faith. it's a book that many church leaders will find helpful to understand those seemingly restless souls in their communities, and to help imagine christian communities that can create spaces for people at different stages of faith.
towards the end of the book alan outlines ten characteristics of this journey which sort of summarise it as a journey...
from black and white to an embrace of black and white and greys
from dependence to interdependence
from answers to mystery and childlike wonder
from doing to being (a deep sense of being accepted by god)
from playing a role to a new giving of self for others
from trust in external authorities to an integration of internal and external voices
from effortful faith to resting faith
from martha's faith to faith that expresses mary's heart and martha's hands
from needing leaders to co-discerning with others
from external truth to communal and paradoxical truth
reading that list makes me think it's about maturing, growing up, taking responsibility. whilst it looks easy actually the journey through those things is anything but. the mystics have referred to it as the dark night of the soul or chrysalis with good reason. but if you are on that journey, this book will be a good friend.