One of the upsides of the digital age is that it offers us opportunities to share information in ways that would hitherto not have been possible.
Currently, I am pleased to be part of the pre-launch sharing of information about Sheridan Voysey’s new book,’ The Making of Us’, via an invited group of followers of his website and general fans of his take on faith and spirituality. The book is on general release tomorrow.
Sheridan is an important part of my personal faith as it was hearing him speak on Radio 2 that first sparked my interest in Christianity four years ago. I also met him briefly at a Christian worship event in Somerset last year. It was a delight to have him sign my copy of his excellent book ‘Resilient’ and in return, to be able to sign a copy of ‘Into the Mourning Light’ for him. I had never had such an opportunity before and it was, for this humble author, a very exciting thing to do!
I knew that ‘The Making of Us’ would be a different, more personal read to ‘Resilient’. What I was not prepared for was to read such and honest account of Sheridan’s struggles with his faith, his identity and how he perceives his future legacy. My personal view is to see Sheridan as a man of God, an instrument in sharing the word about Christianity without imposition on people who are not inclined to his views. His is usually a gentle take on faith, so it was quite a shock to read about his very deep self-examination and reflection while he and his friend DJ walked their difficult path of pilgrimage from Lindisfarne to Durham. Without revealing too much of the book’s message, I am glad to ultimately be left with a sense of hope and optimism by the end of the journey. Sheridan’s literal soul-baring is courageous and thought-provoking.
I have only skim read the electronic copy I received as a pre-launch invitee – I am looking forward to reading properly the paper version. For now though, I am sharing my review of the book which is published this week.
‘Some books are written. They present you with pleasing words on the page. When you finish reading the final chapter, you snap the book shut with satisfaction and go on your way, happy but largely unaffected by what you have read.
The Making of Us isn’t like that. Sheridan has crafted this book and honed it like a piece of clay into a shape. That shape is complex. It will mean different things to different people. It is not necessarily an easy read, describing as it does a struggle – that is Sheridan’s struggle with his sense of identity, his future legacy and his faith.
Through Sheridan’s gifts of descriptive reflection and communication I learned much about Saint Cuthbert and Bede, much about the privations of being a pilgrim, as Sheridan and DJ trudged their long, hard route. Most of all though I learned how ‘the adversity we despise can release our greatest gifts into the world’.
Early on in the book, Sheridan asks himself what he really wants and he writes: “I want to craft words that captivate the heart and open eyes to see God. And I want to write these words, before I speak them”.
Sheridan, I for one can affirm that you are achieving this aim with ease’.