As far as I can see, there’s something of a gap in the market for helpful books for new Christians.  There are plenty of confirmation/Christian basics type guides to the Christian faith, and there have appeared in the last five years or so a plethora of books on ‘discipleship’ (something of a buzz word at present, but a good one) which, often thematically, explore different facets of Christian faith and practice in a more reflective manner.  They often have chapter titles like ‘on forgiving’ or ‘on blessing others’.  There’s nothing wrong with this, and there’s some really good, thought-provoking stuff out there.  But where I think there’s a gap (though do tell me otherwise if I’m wrong) is in a lack of more practical, ‘how to’ style advice or reflection to help new Christians put their faith into practice in relation to specific questions – sometimes the more obvious questions such as  ‘how do I  study the Bible?’ or ‘How do I learn to pray?’ are covered, but there’s comparatively little on other questions – for example, ‘how do I join and play my part in a church?’, ‘how do I handle change in myself or the world around me?’ or ‘how do I understand my place in the big picture of God’s activity in history?’, ‘how do I know what’s good?’ or ‘what should be my attitude to money and possessions?’  ‘how do I know what’s a good interpretation of a particular Bible passage, and what’s not?’  ‘what is my responsibility as a Christian to the planet?’  You can get whole books on those sorts of questions, but not very much in the way of easy, introductory chapters to get people going or provide an introductory map.

With this in mind, I’ve tinkered for a while with trying to write a ‘young disciple’s handbook’.  The ‘young’ is significant in that primarily I’m thinking of people who are new to Christian faith, also because I can only share reflections on my life so far (at 40 I’m pushing the upper reaches of anything that can realistically be called ‘young’ – at least in purely chronological terms – but nor, equally, am I writing this with the different perspective that a sixty or seventy-something might bring).  I also now find myself increasingly thinking about my own children, and what I would want to tell them, when they’re a bit older, about what I’ve learned about being a Christian so far.  Having played around with a few different ideas, I think the whole thing requires a bit of discipline, and so my discipline will be blogging.  Watch this space for more…

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