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'Tending to the Soul': Reading our Lion Sermon Preacher's New Book

In her new book, Fully Alive:Tending to the Soul in Turbulent Times, Elizabeth Oldfield draws on ancient wisdom and often searingly honest stories about her life to gently suggest some habits and practices which can nudge us into building what she helpfully calls our 'spiritual core strength'. This is not about esoteric spiritual practices or religious rituals - what a friend of mine calls 'woo-woo religion' - but very ordinary, yet hard to actually do, habits which cultivate honesty, openness to people who are not like me, and a curiosity about the world.

Curiosity is clearly a value which Oldfield holds dear. It is also one which modern life paradoxically suffocates. The ease of finding information out, of a quick google search on a phone or asking Alexa for an answer, tends in many of us to short-circuit the giving of sustained attention which true curiosity requires. Yet if we are to find a way through to the deeper relationships, with each other and perhaps ourselves, which thriving through turbulent times requires, it is sustained attention which is so desperately needed. This is going to take some practice. I am glad Oldfield is here to gently help us find a path.

Elizabeth Oldfield's book is one to pick up and ponder, then perhaps set aside while a chapter percolates, before trying to read any more. Reading it is like sitting down with her for a coffee and chat, her legendary kindness and humour and humanity somehow jostling and ushering us far along a journey to reflecting on how we've become the people we are, and what we might do to become the people we would like to be.

You can come and hear Elizabeth speak as our 375th Lion Sermon preacher in October this year. It is free to come but you need to register to secure a place at this very special Choral Evensong:


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