Posted 20 hours ago

God of Surprises

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Joined in 2023

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A fantastic little book about prayer, our inner lives, and how we grow (taking steps forward and backward) in interacting with God.

Above all, it is a useful book – a book to be used by those who find it hard to forgive themselves: the stumblers and agnostics who hardly dare believe that God is within them.Hughes found human beings complicated "with layers upon layers of consciousness", most of which we never break through. In terms of content and presentation the book is very good and will give you an awful lot to think about, it certainly changed my view on a lot of topics, especially the seeking guidance chapters. At the end of most chapters, he provided exercises that related to the thoughts he had discussed in that chapter. The Final Chapter applies the insights of the book to a very real situation- the threat of nuclear war. This book took apart what I thought I knew, challenged my apathy, correctly anticipated most of my doubts and areas of weakness, and gave me a new way to explore my faith.

The exercises given at the end of each chapter helps to interiorize and work on the insights gained. The developmental stages of spirituality: the institutional stage, the the critical stage, and the mystical stage. That’s a long way removed from my own evangelical charismatic background, so I’m impressed how well Hughes is able to present his message to the church as a whole, even though quite a lot of it is based on the teachings of Ignatius of Loyola. Gerard Hughes goes back to the basics on how faith/our relationship with God and our spirituality should be. I have in the past been advised that I should 'pray', but have not done so since childhood, and in fact lapsed as a consequence of my own experiences in childhood.

It is a pity that Hughes never mentions the great value of asking others for help and companionship in one's spiritual journey. Other than that I would recommend the book but be prepared to read it quite slowly and really take the time to dig into the exercises if you want the full benefits.

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