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Faith and Spirituality

A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls is probably my top film of this year: beautifully made and heartrendingly emotional. Both the film and the original book were written by Patrick Ness and the film opened in cinemas last week.

The story revolves around Conor, a 13 year old boy trying to cope with his mother’s cancer as she tries one treatment after another. He is plagued by a recurring nightmare where a huge sinkhole opens up and almost swallows both him and his mother if only he holds tightly to her. Continue reading “A Monster Calls”

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At Least It’s Not Raining by Stephen Redman

Childhood cancer is rare, affecting just a few thousand families each year in the UK, and of those, 80% of children diagnosed with cancer survive. But what if your family is in the 20%? Continue reading “At Least It’s Not Raining by Stephen Redman”

In Grief and Hope: Surprised by Hope by N. T. Wright

Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting? …But thank God who gives us the victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord” 1 Cor 15:55

This is the passage which I chose to read for my dad’s funeral, because it explains in a few words why Easter matters so much to me. I mean, when you face losing someone important to you, you need a pretty clear vision of what is worth dying for, and I suspect I’m not the only one who doesn’t find the idea of sitting on a cloud plucking a harp for eternity or heaven as an endless worship service particularly compelling. Continue reading “In Grief and Hope: Surprised by Hope by N. T. Wright”

In Grief and Hope: God On Mute by Pete Greig

What do you do when God is silent? This book is dedicated to people who are hurting and secretly wondering “Where is God? Why’s this happening to me? And how come my prayers aren’t working?” Continue reading “In Grief and Hope: God On Mute by Pete Greig”

In Grief and Hope: A Journey in Books

When we are grieving, when we have seen our hopes for healing or restoration dashed, where can we turn? This question has been in my mind for a long time, as my dad was diagnosed with cancer eight years ago and it slowly took his mobility and then his life. Since November, my family have lost both our grandmas and our dad, and my friends have lost Michael Etheridge, a kind and loving minister who was a student with us and suddenly had a heart attack while driving. Four funerals and a wedding (my sister recently announced her engagement) makes for a turbulent few months. Continue reading “In Grief and Hope: A Journey in Books”

Murder Mystery: An Excellent Mystery by Ellis Peters

I got into Ellis Peters at an early age, because her books are the literary equivalent of the York Railway Game, for which the rules are: when attending any social gathering in York, score one point for each person you can find who works for (or retired from) the rail industry (excluding myself because that would be cheating). Whether it’s a village panto or an International Women’s Day event at the library, in four years I’ve never had a score of zero!  Continue reading “Murder Mystery: An Excellent Mystery by Ellis Peters”

Inspiring People: Elaine Storkey

Scars Across Humanity: Understanding and Overcoming Violence Against Women by Elaine Storkey

This week I went to the launch of Elaine Storkey’s new book Scars Across Humanity, a study of the global drivers  and impacts of violence against women.

Elaine Storkey is one of my all-time heroes, who has spoken up for justice time and time again, through her 16 years as President of the international development charity Tearfund and through her research and writing as an academic. I have heard her speak at big conferences, including Greenbelt and the SPEAK Network (a campaigns network for students and young people which is another of the charities she supports and encourages). So it was a pleasant surprise to discover she was coming to my local library on a Saturday afternoon as part of York International Women’s Festival! Continue reading “Inspiring People: Elaine Storkey”

Inspiring People: Waris Dirie #2

Desert Dawn by Waris Dirie and Jeanne D’Haem

After her rise to fame described in Desert Flower, what happened next?
Waris Dirie’s second book is an honest account of a life split between two cultures: her husband in America and her family in Somalia. After so many years in the West, she returns home for an extended visit to her village and describes the culture shock in both directions: her family’s expectations and her own.

Continue reading “Inspiring People: Waris Dirie #2”

Inspiring People: Waris Dirie #1

Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Story of A Desert Nomad

by Waris Dirie and Cathleen Miller

This book tells the story of Waris Dirie, from Somalia to England, from servant to international model, from a victim of violence to healing and eventually becoming a UN ambassador challenging the practice of FGM, in a world where 3 million women and girls are cut every year.

Continue reading “Inspiring People: Waris Dirie #1”

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