Is God Still An Englishman? How we lost our faith (but found new soul) by Cole Moreton
(Little, Brown £20, ISBN 978-1-4087-0180-5)
Is there an authentic English spirituality? How has England in particular changed over the last 20-30 years, and where does God and the Church fit in? What hope is there for those who have left the Church behind but are still hunting for God?
Journalist and writer Cole Moreton's entertaining and engagingly written book is part personal journey, part polemic, part sociological analysis and part Church critique. It will infuriate some, intrigue others and find plenty of readers nodding in agreement at key points. It will certainly make you think hard about what you believe, how the moral, spiritual and political landscape in England has shifted in recent decades, and what the future is for the Church.
He carefully weaves together his own journey into faith and out again with the cultural and sociological changes impacting society and the Church (and the CofE in particular), and explores our shifting shared values have changed our approach to faith.
The book takes in Thatcherism and the Miners' Strike, the Royals and Jade Goody, Archbishops Runcie, Carey and Williams, movements like March for Jesus, the Toronto Blessing, Alpha and more, the new atheists, and the Church's struggles over women priests, the Church Commissioners' financial meltdown and the ongoing sexuality divisions, in painting a nation and national Church in flux.
It's easy to read, but not an easy read. It doesn't settle for the glib, pat answer and is at times painfully honest and uncompromising. Yet it isn't without hope. It charts part of our journey as a nation, and part of Cole's personal spiritual journey. And both, to be sure, have many miles yet to travel.
Is God still an Englishman? is not a book of neat answers – but it is a book that asks great questions. And we need more of those.
Russ Bravo is Editor of Inspire