John Gibbens

This is not a book of a readily recognizable species. It is more of a fabulous beast, and some will say, a monster.

Do not expect theology; metaphysical philosophy; intellectual argument; a programme for action. At one point the author wanted to call this material ‘notes in the life.’ It is a companion to living the life of passion; a handbook for a future Christianity, forged out of the sufferings and raptures of this hard time of the world.

Reading this book is a long journey, but it is hoped the reader will undertake it from beginning to end. At one point, the author considered shuffling the pieces like a pack of cards, and letting them lie where they fell. But his wife persuaded him that there was an ‘inner line’ to be found among them. It’s a line that spirals sometimes, taking up a theme, dropping it, returning to it with variation. There are also branchings to include a diversity of voices from many parts of the world, and from many times. Occasionally, the caravan pauses on a plateau, to look back over the terrain that has been crossed. Nevertheless, in essence the book tells a story. This is the central story of the ‘world’ in many senses: on the ground, and in time. This story is hard, and terrible, as we all know in our heart of hearts.

It will immediately be clear to the reader that a major voice in this book is that of the Bible. But, Scripture here is not used to intimidate, indoctrinate, or provide false and easy comfort. This book is not for those already consoled, rather, it is for those without consolation. It meets people on the waste-ground where they have been abandoned by God – and have abandoned God.

If it can give one gift, it would not be hope, but courage.

Hoka hey: let’s go!