Living Differently to Make a Difference

Kate Seagrave reviews Living Differently to Make a Difference by Will Donaldson. (BRF £9.99)

It would appear to be a brave undertaking to write a book on such a famous passage as the beatitudes and on such topics that so many have tackled before, but Will does so with originality and confidence. This easy to read book follows the standard mixed format of so many of BRF’s publications, being a combination of an individual devotional read, a small group Bible study, and an introductory guide to this famous passage of scripture.

His extensive experience in pastoral care and discipleship shines through his approach and his challenge to the reader to a more distinctively and holistic Christian life. Topics covered challenge both our inner lives and ‘secret’ attitudes as well as our more outward and visible actions and service. The structure of each chapter stands alone, which makes dipping in and out as well as selecting chapters of particular interest entirely possible.

The format makes this a quick and easy read, with plenty of illustrations from history, politics, culture, sport and literature. The individual devotions and group discussion questions provide ample invitation and space for pausing and thinking, even when read outside of a more intentional devotional or group study setting. The group questions are particularly accessible and appropriate to a group which had never done a similar study before, with a range of suggested options catering to timings from 15 minutes to an hour.

The strength of this book is in the pastoral experience of the writer. His intuitive understanding and deep conviction that the presence of inner faith must be accompanied by a transformational impact upon the world around us (however big or small that world may be) shapes the way that he guides the reader through the chapters. If you are looking for an approach to the beatitudes which is easy to read, yet challenges you to pause and think and examine the lifestyle choices we make day to day, then this is for you.

The Revd Kate Seagrave is the Mission Priest at the Community of St Frideswide in Oxford. The Revd Will Donaldson is the chaplain and senior welfare officer at St Edmund Hall at Oxford University, Area Dean of Oxford and Director of Pastoral Care at St Aldate’s Church, Oxford. 

Living Differently to Make a Difference complements Bishop Steven’s Exploring the Beatitudes booklet. This three-session course is in a 32-page booklet written by Bishop Steven, and is suitable for small groups. A weblink in the booklet provides accompanying audio and video resources. More