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In the wake of political turmoil, who do you follow? When faced with difference and divergence, whose example do you copy? What does it mean to follow a clear path in the midst of cultural confusion? The aim of this little book is simple: to help readers to see more clearly, love more dearly and follow more nearly the way of Jesus Christ. This is a fresh, inspiring look at t In the wake of political turmoil, who do you follow? When faced with difference and divergence, whose example do you copy? What does it mean to follow a clear path in the midst of cultural confusion? The aim of this little book is simple: to help readers to see more clearly, love more dearly and follow more nearly the way of Jesus Christ. This is a fresh, inspiring look at the meaning of Christian discipleship by one of the world’s greatest theologians, perfect for anyone exploring what it means to follow Christ today or wanting to be refreshed and reinvigorated in the Christian life.


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In the wake of political turmoil, who do you follow? When faced with difference and divergence, whose example do you copy? What does it mean to follow a clear path in the midst of cultural confusion? The aim of this little book is simple: to help readers to see more clearly, love more dearly and follow more nearly the way of Jesus Christ. This is a fresh, inspiring look at t In the wake of political turmoil, who do you follow? When faced with difference and divergence, whose example do you copy? What does it mean to follow a clear path in the midst of cultural confusion? The aim of this little book is simple: to help readers to see more clearly, love more dearly and follow more nearly the way of Jesus Christ. This is a fresh, inspiring look at the meaning of Christian discipleship by one of the world’s greatest theologians, perfect for anyone exploring what it means to follow Christ today or wanting to be refreshed and reinvigorated in the Christian life.

30 review for Being Disciples: Essentials of the Christian Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Enright

    The sort of book that is better recommended and read than reviewed. Here are 86 pages of deep, aged insight into discipleship. This book can be read by anyone, and should be read by everyone. If you are the sort of person who wonders, "Where are the Christian sages of our time?" then begin by reading Williams. There are so many "Christian books" that are really just extended TED Talks -- more a profitable marketing tool than a labor of honest love. But I believe that history will remember the wo The sort of book that is better recommended and read than reviewed. Here are 86 pages of deep, aged insight into discipleship. This book can be read by anyone, and should be read by everyone. If you are the sort of person who wonders, "Where are the Christian sages of our time?" then begin by reading Williams. There are so many "Christian books" that are really just extended TED Talks -- more a profitable marketing tool than a labor of honest love. But I believe that history will remember the work of Rowan Williams as indispensable, placing him in the chorus of Lewis, Chesterton, and Tozer. Here is just one of my favorite quotes: "[God is] the dependable presence that doesn't go away; the presence that remembers and holds in a single gaze what has been true and is true of us; the eternal, unshakable witness to what we are. That presence is love. We are seen, known, and held, but above all we are welcomed. We are the objects of an eternal delight" (32-33).

  2. 4 out of 5

    Robert D. Cornwall

    What does it mean to live a Christian life? That is, what does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? According to Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, it involves at least two things. The first thing is that involves continually asking "whether what we do, how we think and speak and act is open to Christ and Christ's Spirit." Secondly, it has to do with the way in which the church is a learning community, so that we might grow in our relationship with God and each other. In this bri What does it mean to live a Christian life? That is, what does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? According to Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, it involves at least two things. The first thing is that involves continually asking "whether what we do, how we think and speak and act is open to Christ and Christ's Spirit." Secondly, it has to do with the way in which the church is a learning community, so that we might grow in our relationship with God and each other. In this brief book, making use of mostly previously delivered messages, Williams seeks to address these two questions (pp. vii-viii). "Being Disciples" is a follow up to his earlier book "Being Christian." In that book, Williams explores four elements that help mark Christians: Baptism, the Bible, the Eucharist, and Prayer. Two of these four are sacraments, another serves to provide a source of revelation, and the fourth is a means of communication with God. These four elements are real practices, not doctrines. In this latest book, Williams looks at the Christian life, the way we live it in daily life. Again, it's not doctrine that stands at the center. Discipleship, Williams declares in the first chapter, is about the way we live. While discipleship involves being a student, it's more than simply showing up for class once a week. It is in fact about a relationship. It means tending every word and action of the master. He writes that "Being with the Master is recognizing that who you are is finally going to be determined by your relationship with him" (p. 10). Three "indispensable qualities" of the Christian life are faith, hope, and love. According to Williams this involves a journey that begins with understanding, then to faith, which leads to hope, and then finally to love. These three qualities are followed by forgiveness. He speaks of the bread of forgiveness, borrowing from the Lord's Prayer. He speaks of forgiveness being "one of the most radical ways in which we are able to nourish one another's humanity" (p. 40). In the same context he speaks of the "bread of tomorrow, by which he means that forgiveness is a path toward the future. It is an expression of that bread of the Eucharist that we partake now in anticipation of the meal we will experience. I think I found the chapter on holiness to be the most intriguing. Perhaps it is because as a pastor I so often hear the refrain from those outside the church that those inside the church are often hypocrites. One response to the critique is to fall back on the retort that Christians "aren't perfect, just forgiven." When we think in such terms we offer an excuse for misbehavior or a 'get out of jail free" card. But surely that's not the kind of holiness envisioned here! It's not. While we think of holiness as being set apart or separated from the world or others. Williams disagrees. The holy person is one who "enlarges your world, makes you feel more yourself, opens you up, affirms you." a holy person he suggests, makes you feel better about one's self than worse" (p. 50). That means letting go of trying to be holy. "If you want to be holy," he writes, "stop thinking about it. If you want to be holy, look at God" (pp. 54-55). So you look at Jesus and "explore the world around you. The Christian life is contextual. That is, when we envision following Jesus, we must envision that in the context of modern life and not the first century. How does one be a disciple in a democratic society? What about secularism? We ask this question knowing that the market doesn't lead to fairness. Secondly, there is the relativity of values. We're simply not on the same page. But the Bible affirms that humans are all of equal value to God. That leads to the premise that we are dependent on each other. It means seeing each other from the perspective of an "eternal and unalterable love." That leads to the final chapter, which is about life in the Spirit. This life in the spirit involves self-knowledge, stillness, growth and joy. These four elements are the building blocks, according to Williams, of the life of discipleship. Like it's predecessor this is a brief book that lifts up for discussion essential elements of the Christian life. To be a Christian is not simply to to believe. It has to do with life's story. I believe that this book will be helpful to all who seek to dive deeper into the life of faith. It is a good read. It's very accessible. It can be read by the individual or in groups. Each chapter is followed by a couple of discussion questions that makes this a possibility study guide. For that purpose it's an excellent resource.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brennan Humphreys

    A lovely little book. Williams writes with plain poeticism. Moved through it quickly--will revisit its six sections again & again. "Too often the message we give to the world around us is nervousness about God, rather than joy--and, of course, there is the nervousness about one another that goes with this; which is another story" A lovely little book. Williams writes with plain poeticism. Moved through it quickly--will revisit its six sections again & again. "Too often the message we give to the world around us is nervousness about God, rather than joy--and, of course, there is the nervousness about one another that goes with this; which is another story"

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elliot Lee

    I am on a quest to read (almost) everything RW has ever written, so needless to say that I am a HUGE fan. In RW, mystical intimacy with God comes together with tremendous intellect in a way that makes him genuinely stand out from the throng of Christian writers, academic or popular. Since I have been reading so much RW, I am becoming more familiarized with his characteristics and idiosyncrasies. In one of his lectures I've watched, he joked about his abstract manner of speaking/writing... promise I am on a quest to read (almost) everything RW has ever written, so needless to say that I am a HUGE fan. In RW, mystical intimacy with God comes together with tremendous intellect in a way that makes him genuinely stand out from the throng of Christian writers, academic or popular. Since I have been reading so much RW, I am becoming more familiarized with his characteristics and idiosyncrasies. In one of his lectures I've watched, he joked about his abstract manner of speaking/writing... promised to talk as concretely as possible... then went on talking about things the way he usually does. I get the impression that this is just how his brain is wired: Yes, he is very capable analytically; yes, he is a linguistic genius (I heard he translates from 9 different languages?); but he is most comfortable making connections. He is fundamentally about the meaning of things. There's a lecture by Jonathan Sacks -- a good friend of RW and another one of my favorite authors -- called The World We Make With Words on YouTube which argues that this is the distinguishing mark of an authentically spiritual intellect. About RW's writing style: RW is bad at writing for popular audiences, but he has been spending most of his late-career trying to do so. One of the reasons for this is that he writes poetically. There is an accumulation of meaning of words throughout his corpus so that his use of key terms refers back to his previous books and aren't fully intelligible without having prior familiarity. In this way, a guy who has never written a single volume of systematic theology is the most systematic of theologians... I am also surprised by just how long he has been accumulating meaning, that is, how little has changed since writing, "The Wound of Knowledge." It is as if something happened to him early on that set the trajectory for what he wants to talk about and what he wants to say. From this volume, "Being Disciples" is very good, and "Faith, Hope and Love" and "Holiness" are AMAZING. There were points where sufficient familiarity with RW's corpus helped his words come alive in a way that I've experienced only a few times in my life. They were full-blown hermeneutic mystical experiences, haha. At the end of the book, he talks about joy: "One of the worst things that we as Christians can do (and have done) to the gospel is somehow to convey the impression that joy should be the very last thing on our minds, or in our hearts, in our worship or in our relation with one another. It’s often as if whenever the overwhelming joyfulness of God begins to impinge on us somebody in the Church always says, ‘You can’t do that here.’ Whether it’s the exuberance of Renewal and the Charismatic Movement; whether it’s the overwhelming things that literally leave us flat on our face in adoration; whether it’s the moment of extreme and focused simplicity and stripped bareness when, in a whitewashed room with a plain cross on the table, we can feel that this is all there is and all that matters . . . God help us if our impulse is to say, ‘You can’t do that here,’ or ‘Let’s get back into the proper channels.’ Too often the message we give to the world around us is nervousness about God, rather than joy—and, of course, there is the nervousness about one another that goes with this; which is another story." And I was like, "Rowan, I know what you mean by joy! I think I understand what you mean by being flat on our face in adoration! And it's not because I am great, but because of a teacher like you that I know what joy looks and feels like. I owe so much to you!" Oh, man, I am so infinitely grateful for and fond of RW. I love you, Rowan. I really do.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brent Phillips

    Being Disciples is a companion to Being Christian from former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Having covered the essentials of Christianity, namely Baptism, Bible, Eucharist and Prayer, in this work Williams offers thoughtful reflections on what it means to be a Disciple of Christ. The book is composed of six short chapters, based on edited versions of six addresses given by Williams between 2007 and 2012. With the topic of discipleship being one heavily covered in Christian literature, Being Disciples is a companion to Being Christian from former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Having covered the essentials of Christianity, namely Baptism, Bible, Eucharist and Prayer, in this work Williams offers thoughtful reflections on what it means to be a Disciple of Christ. The book is composed of six short chapters, based on edited versions of six addresses given by Williams between 2007 and 2012. With the topic of discipleship being one heavily covered in Christian literature, there's a danger of being yet another filler amongst shelves of trite and vacuous calls to live a life with purpose. Williams however, serves up nothing of the sort, offering insightful meditations that cut right to the meat of the human condition. Williams sees the Disciple as the one who follows, with patient expectation. The true disciple maintains a listening awareness waiting for sudden and unexpected wisdom to break through from the Master. Along with awareness it is also a desire to follow the Master where the Master goes, but that this “is very frequently not where we would have thought of going, or would have wanted to go.” In order for a disciple to grow, writes Williams, they must take the journey from understanding into faith, from memory into hope and from will into love. By this, he means that we should seek to recover our bearings. What we thought we understood, we realize we never did. What we think we remember is often clouded in confusion while what we want fails to satisfy. He continues: “we have to be recreated in faith and hope and love for our understanding, our memory, and our will to become what God really wants them to be.” He rails against the tribal, moralizing, noisy forms of faith as a sign of our collective lack of confidence in being able to trace God's works or to proclaim for ourselves God's word. This mindless action is a distraction from the path of a disciple. Instead we are encouraged to a deeper relationship with our creator centered around listening, awareness and stillness. Yet Williams does not consider the fruit of discipleship to be mere introspection, our first reflection when engaging with other individuals or communities is to ask what is Christ giving us through these people. We should look for the wisdom of our Master in all of our encounters with others, while using these moments to “point quite simply to the God who does not let go.” By clinging to the lost, the suffering and the marginal ourselves we show “what it is to have faith in the one who doesn't let go.” Each chapter ends with a pair of relevant discussion questions, coupled with the short length make it an ideal study book or quick weekend read for those looking to broaden their perspective on discipleship. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read that I look forward to returning to again and again.

  6. 5 out of 5

    ForeverDay

    This was not a book I found easy-going. The writing style was fairly difficult to parse and, more importantly, it sometimes felt that in a desire to say something new he also said things that weren't quite true or, at least, much related to the topic at hand. For example, the chapter on 'forgiveness' was certainly a take I'd never come across before, but basing the whole thing around daily bread seemed an odd choice that didn't quite work. He also said statements like 'to forgive is to share in This was not a book I found easy-going. The writing style was fairly difficult to parse and, more importantly, it sometimes felt that in a desire to say something new he also said things that weren't quite true or, at least, much related to the topic at hand. For example, the chapter on 'forgiveness' was certainly a take I'd never come across before, but basing the whole thing around daily bread seemed an odd choice that didn't quite work. He also said statements like 'to forgive is to share in the helplessness of God...not to forgive would be for God a wound in the divine life itself' and that God is 'powerless' but to forgive which I just think is... not true? I think he was trying to present a new take on the topic, to force people into truly considering forgiveness/other subjects by saying something dramatic and novel but I think that sometimes the book in general strayed into strange places in the desire to be original. I did mostly agreed with the basic underlying themes and there were good points within the book and things worth taking away. However, I think that there are better (and more enjoyable) books on these topics.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    Much can be said in few words, and Rowan Williams is adept in the skill of powerful impact in concise writings. I found myself somehow wondering whether I had ever truly understood the "essentials" of discipleship before. In this essay compilation, he discusses various topics like faith, hope, love, forgiveness, holiness, community life, self awareness, stillness, growth, and joy. Being Disciples is challenging, enlightening, and encouraging. Much can be said in few words, and Rowan Williams is adept in the skill of powerful impact in concise writings. I found myself somehow wondering whether I had ever truly understood the "essentials" of discipleship before. In this essay compilation, he discusses various topics like faith, hope, love, forgiveness, holiness, community life, self awareness, stillness, growth, and joy. Being Disciples is challenging, enlightening, and encouraging.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    Easy read but deep insights. Great for a church class or book club.

  9. 5 out of 5

    J. Alfred

    This is one of those books, relitively few in number, that are so good and so short that as soon as I finish them I start on them immediately again. Because I'm sure there's good stuff in there that I missed the first time around. One week later update: Yep, it's really good. This is one of those books, rare enough though they are, that kind of read like poems, and are hence unparaphraseable. I think you should read this. If you are in a small group, I think you should suggest that your small gro This is one of those books, relitively few in number, that are so good and so short that as soon as I finish them I start on them immediately again. Because I'm sure there's good stuff in there that I missed the first time around. One week later update: Yep, it's really good. This is one of those books, rare enough though they are, that kind of read like poems, and are hence unparaphraseable. I think you should read this. If you are in a small group, I think you should suggest that your small group read it together.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel Spencer

    I liked it, but I’m not sure why he wrote this separately from his book Being Christian. Anyway, here’s a good quote about church and state: “The Christian disciple is not seeking to make the state into a church, but is proposing to the state and to the culture in general a style and direction of common life—the life of the Body of Christ—that represents humanity at its fullest.“

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    This small book (88 pgs.) is based on six addresses given by the author over the period of 2007-2012. The six chapters include Being Disciples, Faith, Hope & Love, Forgiveness, Holiness, Faith in Society and Life in the Spirit. Thus, the book was put together as an afterthought under the heading of "Being Disciples" and not written as one coherent statement on that topic. So, this is not your general "how to" book on discipleship. Rather, the author takes a deeper and more reflective look at eac This small book (88 pgs.) is based on six addresses given by the author over the period of 2007-2012. The six chapters include Being Disciples, Faith, Hope & Love, Forgiveness, Holiness, Faith in Society and Life in the Spirit. Thus, the book was put together as an afterthought under the heading of "Being Disciples" and not written as one coherent statement on that topic. So, this is not your general "how to" book on discipleship. Rather, the author takes a deeper and more reflective look at each of the aforementioned topics. I found five out of the six chapters quite interesting. The author, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has a wonderful capacity to look at each topic and bring something of it that might go unrecognized. This would be a good book to read devotionally over the course of a single week.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Adam Shields

    short review: This is a book of wisdom about living the Christian life. Williams is making an argument in this and his previous book Being Christian that Christianity is a relationship with God and that primarily we are Christian through practice of becoming like Christ. That is not to minimize theology and knowledge, but to say that the primary issue is the practice and relationship not the knowledge. These are two very short books. Less than 100 pages each. And they were originally based on le short review: This is a book of wisdom about living the Christian life. Williams is making an argument in this and his previous book Being Christian that Christianity is a relationship with God and that primarily we are Christian through practice of becoming like Christ. That is not to minimize theology and knowledge, but to say that the primary issue is the practice and relationship not the knowledge. These are two very short books. Less than 100 pages each. And they were originally based on lectures. They are pithy and tight. Very readable and would make very good small group discussions. Both because of content and length and readability. My full review is on my blog at http://bookwi.se/being-disciples/

  13. 4 out of 5

    123bex

    It's hard to rate an academic book - and make no mistake, that's what this is - and even more difficult to rate any book about faith. I found it both challenging and welcoming, and I shall return to it for reasons both academic and personal. It's hard to rate an academic book - and make no mistake, that's what this is - and even more difficult to rate any book about faith. I found it both challenging and welcoming, and I shall return to it for reasons both academic and personal.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    An interesting and informative book about how to live as a Christian in the 21st century.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    Everyone read Rowan Williams

  16. 5 out of 5

    Roy Howard

    Rowan Williams is well known for his theological depth and his nimble leadership of the Anglican Communion. Since leaving his role the Archbishop of Canterbury, Williams has continued his theological work at Cambridge. At the same time, he has published beautifully written pastoral essays designed to help Christians grow in faithful discipleship. Most of these were delivered while he was Archbishop. “Being Disciples” is a companion to his earlier “Being Christian.” Both display Williams’ deep lo Rowan Williams is well known for his theological depth and his nimble leadership of the Anglican Communion. Since leaving his role the Archbishop of Canterbury, Williams has continued his theological work at Cambridge. At the same time, he has published beautifully written pastoral essays designed to help Christians grow in faithful discipleship. Most of these were delivered while he was Archbishop. “Being Disciples” is a companion to his earlier “Being Christian.” Both display Williams’ deep love for Jesus Christ and his wise counsel for those seeking to know the essentials of the Christian tradition. Along with “Tokens of Trust,” these three books can be considered the finest introductions to the Christian faith of our time. “Being Disciples” covers topics such as forgiveness and reconciliation, faith in the public square, life in the Spirit and the role of faith, hope and love at the heart of discipleship. Williams writes so winsomely that one is occasionally startled by the profound challenges he presents to those who seek to grow in Christ. He is a man of prayer, steeped in the wisdom of the early desert fathers, who has also lived a very public life. Both these aspects of being Christian are discussed with honesty and pastoral wisdom. This book – along with the companions – could be well used in a class for those seeking to grow in faith and practice. Williams is a reliable guide whose strength of faith brings confidence to those on the journey toward joy, which he names as our destiny.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marcás

    Every now and then, Williams will hit you with some deep penetrating Wisdom... taking you out of yourself and focusing on Christ, the centre of the story. He does this a few times in this short book. Beautifully so in his description of holiness and it's wholly unexpectedness. Bringing to the fore the fact that The Cross is the epitome of holiness but not what anyone would have considered holy, in their formulaic piety. Same today in many places. Christ goes outside the temple and city walls, wi Every now and then, Williams will hit you with some deep penetrating Wisdom... taking you out of yourself and focusing on Christ, the centre of the story. He does this a few times in this short book. Beautifully so in his description of holiness and it's wholly unexpectedness. Bringing to the fore the fact that The Cross is the epitome of holiness but not what anyone would have considered holy, in their formulaic piety. Same today in many places. Christ goes outside the temple and city walls, with the outcasts, not fleeing the world or humanity but going right into the centre in a way that blows apart traditional categories, showing us the real centre and margins. (See Pageau and Peterson's talk together) Elsewhere, he speaks of love remaining in the end because everything else will be in it's rightful place- fading not entirely but into the background- a wonderful and frequently missed appreciation of the end and ultimate order of things. Similarly, he holds various strands of stillness and prayer together, giving each their proper eschatological significance- repeated holy words to join with silence, repetitive meditations and rhythms that the poet loves. He writes with a poets heart.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rick Quinn

    Don't let this book's slim heft (less than 100 pages) fool you concerning its depth and richness. By proclaiming that "Discipleship is a state of being.", Anglican theologian and previous Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams alludes to the key depth of this work. Discipleship is a matter of deep spirituality and not a program to be dissected and mastered. Williams is one of those rare theologians who can write for a general audience in a way that invites the reader into a deeper engagement wi Don't let this book's slim heft (less than 100 pages) fool you concerning its depth and richness. By proclaiming that "Discipleship is a state of being.", Anglican theologian and previous Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams alludes to the key depth of this work. Discipleship is a matter of deep spirituality and not a program to be dissected and mastered. Williams is one of those rare theologians who can write for a general audience in a way that invites the reader into a deeper engagement with the spiritual life that is grounded in the depth of the Christian theological and spiritual tradition rather than the religious self help market. In this sense, it is an invitation to deep relationship and living in all its complexity rather than a program of mastery or a how to guide to "getting it right." Highly recommended.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    A short book which is so packed with thoughts and ideas that it took me a while to finish. I love the challenge of reckoning my own beliefs and spirituality, which are Christian in nature as that's the culture I was raised in, with the other part of my character based on rational enlightenment, secular society, basic human rights and freedom of thought. Rowan Williams of course succeeds in pulling these things together and so succinctly gives out ideas and suggestions to live by. I was always je A short book which is so packed with thoughts and ideas that it took me a while to finish. I love the challenge of reckoning my own beliefs and spirituality, which are Christian in nature as that's the culture I was raised in, with the other part of my character based on rational enlightenment, secular society, basic human rights and freedom of thought. Rowan Williams of course succeeds in pulling these things together and so succinctly gives out ideas and suggestions to live by. I was always jealous of my Jewish friends who could combine their spiritual beliefs with their everyday life. Williams points to a way that we can do that as Christians, too, and in such a way that doesn't mean to follow artificial man made rules ; quite the opposite in fact. Meant to be re-read and I'm keen to read more by him.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Derek Winterburn

    Far be it from me to doubt the quality of book written by a former archbishop and praised to the skies be string of luminaries on the first three pages... but this was a disappointment to me. There are some valuable ideas and insights here, and the last chapter is particularly helpful but overall I feel does not cover 'the essentials of the Christian life' as its subtitles claim. It operates at the level of outlook and theory rarely does it descend the everyday. There is little about the discipl Far be it from me to doubt the quality of book written by a former archbishop and praised to the skies be string of luminaries on the first three pages... but this was a disappointment to me. There are some valuable ideas and insights here, and the last chapter is particularly helpful but overall I feel does not cover 'the essentials of the Christian life' as its subtitles claim. It operates at the level of outlook and theory rarely does it descend the everyday. There is little about the discipline aspect of discipleship and little of practical instruction. I found the chapter on holiness extremely curious - with the concept drained of moral content. So as I say, while not doubting the author's wisdom or even holiness, a disappointment.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    The content is good, a relatively brief discussion of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in the 21st century. The book is quite short (fewer than 100 pages) and there are some interesting insights. But I found it quite heavy-going. Perhaps this is because it was originally a series of talks, rather than being written for a book - but whatever the reason, it took me a couple of weeks to read it, and I had to re-read several paragraphs, slowing down deliberately in order to take it in. Probab The content is good, a relatively brief discussion of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in the 21st century. The book is quite short (fewer than 100 pages) and there are some interesting insights. But I found it quite heavy-going. Perhaps this is because it was originally a series of talks, rather than being written for a book - but whatever the reason, it took me a couple of weeks to read it, and I had to re-read several paragraphs, slowing down deliberately in order to take it in. Probably better for academically inclined theologians, although they might find it too simplistic and brief. Three and a half stars would be fairer.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    What did I think?... Rowan Williams is interesting to read. On one hand he is philosophical in his writing, but on the other hand, he seems quite conversational. Combined, it means he approaches theological concepts in ways that are fresh and refreshing to me. I appreciate his theology and I believe he tries to keep things practical. I also appreciated that this is quite a small book. Someone with his status and experience, might be tempted to write a tome. However, in this case, Rowan seems to What did I think?... Rowan Williams is interesting to read. On one hand he is philosophical in his writing, but on the other hand, he seems quite conversational. Combined, it means he approaches theological concepts in ways that are fresh and refreshing to me. I appreciate his theology and I believe he tries to keep things practical. I also appreciated that this is quite a small book. Someone with his status and experience, might be tempted to write a tome. However, in this case, Rowan seems to want to give the church a practical little booklet on discipleship. I walk away feeling like he is someone with whom I would love to have long conversations about all things God and life.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    Refrshing Meditations on the Life of Faith In a series of short reflections, Rowan Williams calls us to the slow, deep simplicity of living into discipleship. We are always learning the art of resting, listening, paying attention to Jesus. The long way of faith is rooted in expectation that God is leading us, is sustaining us, and is guiding us in the little ways. While this book could easily be read in an afternoon, it might be to pause for a few days over each reflection to pray, listen, and wa Refrshing Meditations on the Life of Faith In a series of short reflections, Rowan Williams calls us to the slow, deep simplicity of living into discipleship. We are always learning the art of resting, listening, paying attention to Jesus. The long way of faith is rooted in expectation that God is leading us, is sustaining us, and is guiding us in the little ways. While this book could easily be read in an afternoon, it might be to pause for a few days over each reflection to pray, listen, and wait upon the Lord.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    Powerful words contained in this small book which leaves you hungry to read and re-read so nothing is missed. Never underestimate how great things can be held in small packages. This world is good at making “discipleship” into something that it isn’t. Read this as a part of a summer study at our church. Looking forward to re-reading and to seeing how the words of this book change and shape me personally as a disciple and to watching how the discussion continues to mold our church as a body of Ch Powerful words contained in this small book which leaves you hungry to read and re-read so nothing is missed. Never underestimate how great things can be held in small packages. This world is good at making “discipleship” into something that it isn’t. Read this as a part of a summer study at our church. Looking forward to re-reading and to seeing how the words of this book change and shape me personally as a disciple and to watching how the discussion continues to mold our church as a body of Christ’s Disciples here in Raleigh and in the world.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Toby

    A further selection of Rowan Williams' lectures, following up from Being Christian. As always with Rowan Williams even in a very short book there are moments of insight that you are unlikely to have come across elsewhere. His linking of the petition Give us this day our daily bread with Forgive us our sins, and the eschatological purpose of both was a particular point of interest. The context of each talk is given at the beginning of the book, although it might have been useful to have it stand A further selection of Rowan Williams' lectures, following up from Being Christian. As always with Rowan Williams even in a very short book there are moments of insight that you are unlikely to have come across elsewhere. His linking of the petition Give us this day our daily bread with Forgive us our sins, and the eschatological purpose of both was a particular point of interest. The context of each talk is given at the beginning of the book, although it might have been useful to have it stand at the head of each chapter as the audience on each occasion were quite different.

  26. 4 out of 5

    MG

    A wiser primer on what it means to be a follower of Jesus today, though its depth and wisdom depends on the reader having a mature understanding of the faith in order to appreciate the terms and concepts. I think the Archbishop has the creativity and depth of knowledge to write for "everyone," the way Lewis often did, and not just in a way that depend on us knowing specialized terms and ideas. But for inside-the-tribe discussions, this is highly useful, though a bit abstract. A wiser primer on what it means to be a follower of Jesus today, though its depth and wisdom depends on the reader having a mature understanding of the faith in order to appreciate the terms and concepts. I think the Archbishop has the creativity and depth of knowledge to write for "everyone," the way Lewis often did, and not just in a way that depend on us knowing specialized terms and ideas. But for inside-the-tribe discussions, this is highly useful, though a bit abstract.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Abin

    Brilliant little book that packs a lot of thought. Rowan Williams has an interesting perspective on holiness that is refreshing: "Being holy is being absolutely involved, not being absolutely separated" "A holy person is somebody who is not afraid to be at the tough points in the centre of what it's like to be a human being; someone who, in the middle of all that, actually makes you see things and people afresh." Brilliant little book that packs a lot of thought. Rowan Williams has an interesting perspective on holiness that is refreshing: "Being holy is being absolutely involved, not being absolutely separated" "A holy person is somebody who is not afraid to be at the tough points in the centre of what it's like to be a human being; someone who, in the middle of all that, actually makes you see things and people afresh."

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Risson

    Williams offers his gentle wisdom for the 21st century and along the way invokes the deep images of what it means to follow Jesus. I was expectedly surprised as Williams spoke of being disciples in ways that speak of the deepness of God sending Jesus into the hard and difficult places, and thus, set in place a pattern for all who are to come. This, along with Being Christian, are firm favourites for some time and ones which I will share with many along the way.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anne Fischer

    Our church chose this book for our Lenten read and discussion. We had our last two group discussions on Zoom due to the Corona virus. The contents of the book led to some faith provoking questions and discussions. I underlined passages in my personal copy to reread during the year. I rated the book three stars even though most of the content was relatable, a few of the topics were way above my head. I had a hard time understanding what points he was trying to make.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alex Stroshine

    A follow up to Rowan Williams' excellent "Being Christian," which I think is my favourite primer on the Christian faith. This one is not quite as good (more accurately a 4.5/5) as its predecessor; Williams writes in a simple bit profound way (his chapter on holiness is my favourite piece) but one would expect a bit more of a "deeper" explanation of living as a Christian at some points. A follow up to Rowan Williams' excellent "Being Christian," which I think is my favourite primer on the Christian faith. This one is not quite as good (more accurately a 4.5/5) as its predecessor; Williams writes in a simple bit profound way (his chapter on holiness is my favourite piece) but one would expect a bit more of a "deeper" explanation of living as a Christian at some points.

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