“Dethroning Mammon” by Justin Welby

Every day the media and advertisers parade before our eyes and ears ‘must have’ gadgets, expensive fashions and accessories, luxurious holidays, new models of cars, offers of loans and credit . . . Do you feel that modern life is a maelstrom of information and news related to money, finance, economics, giving the impression that this is the most important, perhaps the only, area of life worthy of our attention? Do you ever stop to ask yourself, “How does all this relate to my Christian faith?”

In this book, his first full-length one, the Archbishop of Canterbury looks at several incidents as Jesus travels to Jerusalem towards the crucifixion. He argues against a tendency to judge success and worth purely on the basis of what can be measured financially. He feels strongly this has distorted and corrupted society and has led to a fundamentally unchristian view that a healthy bank balance or even a strong economy is “the goal”, an end in itself, rather than to be used as a means to do good. The Archbishop believes that the more interconnected the world becomes, the greater the tendency for power to be held over individuals and nations by economics, by money, by flows of finance; these are forces which he defines collectively as “Mammon” a word, derived from Aramaic, and used in the New Testament to mean the power of wealth or riches.

The book is intended mainly for individual devotional use during Lent and is a challenge to Christians—and non-Christians—about their attitude to and use of wealth. But the Archbishop also makes comments applicable to the UK in the light of Brexit, when he says: “It is essential that the new United Kingdom outside Europe is not built to a design drawn by Mammon . . . materialism is not the answer to the challenges we face. Rather we need a deep sense of the priority of the human person, whoever they are and wherever they come from. We need to remind ourselves that Mammon always deceives his followers. A campaign fought on his agenda will lead to division and despair.”

He finishes the book with a challenge to each of us: “Who is on the throne of your life: Mammon or Christ? What might God be calling you to do next?”

Definitely worth reading—hurry to the Mustard Seed and buy your copy!

Review by Keith Thrower.

Dethroning Mammon; ISBN 978-1-4729-2977-8 (Pub: Bloomsbury Continuum)

Faith For All Seasons: Jeff Lucas

This new book by Jeff Lucas, published this year, is a commentary on the life of Elijah. One of the most important men of the Old Testament: some said that Jesus was Elijah returned from the dead, Elijah was there at the Transfiguration of Jesus, but he was no super hero, always triumphant. He had a period when he hid in a cave, fearful of death from his enemies and wishing he could die. But God was there, always calling him forward, saying, I am here with you, take courage, follow me.

This book is an encouragement to those of us who have periods when we feel disheartened or that God is far from us. The motto of the school in Uganda where I taught for a few years, was “Never give up”. That too was true of Elijah, who learned that, whatever he felt like, God never left him.

Joan Plumptre

Book Reviews

Books reviewed this month The Way of Blessing and Life to The Max

The Way of Blessing by Roy Godwin

In The Way of Blessing you are invited into a spiritual pilgrimage to the windswept hills of Wales, and to the small praying community of Ffald y Brenin, where the deaf hear, the blind see, the lost are found and the broken receive healing.

Roy reveals how God longs to bless us and has given believers the authority to bless others, and teaches how to do it. He shares how this ministry began, stories of miraculous healings, and ways you can usher God’s manifest presence into your community.

Price: £9.99 available now from the Mustard Seed

Life to the Max by Jon Cox

This is a life story of the founders of the organisation Adventure Plus, based now in Clanfield, which aims to help young people to experience the fun, the challenge and the fulfilment in a life of following Jesus Christ.

It begins in 1986, when Jon was in his early 20s chatting to a friend, also in his 20s. His friend said “there’s got to be more to life than this”. Jon thought, how terrible to be bored with work and life in your early 20s and he thought of the many youngsters, also drifting through life with the same feeling. He felt that God was calling him to encourage people to ‘live the adventure of faith’.

From that day on he tested that calling, looking to positive guidance in his daily bible reading and his specific prayers for God to give him the ability he needed. His whole journey has been an adventure, experiencing amazing answers to prayer. It has taken him to the Sudan, Canada and different parts of the UK and now to Clanfield, where he runs adventure weeks for many young people, reaching a few thousands each year, and encouraging them to ‘grab life and live boldly’.

It is making a difference to these young people, because Jon and his helpers are learning to make room for God and to rely only on him in their busy lives.

As Adventure Plus is near to Faringdon you could easily see more of what they are doing in Clanfield. The book, which will inspire you and can be ordered from the Mustard Seed, costs only £7.