Living at the End
of the Rope
By Ron Hughes
Gospel Folio Press,
2015. 173 pages.
THE TAGLINE for
this book is “Going on when things
aren’t getting any better,” and it’s an
accurate summary of its heart-wrenching contents.
Each of the ten stories inside
details a life journey of a different
person, how they experienced
suffering, and what brought them
The first chapter recounts the
story of a woman named Rebekah
who went through an abortion
when she was a teenager. She recalls the cold silence of her parents
on the eight-hour drive to the
clinic and her horrified memories
of going through with the process.
Her journey to discovering the love
of Jesus was a long one, filled with
doubts that a loving God could ever
forgive her for what she had done.
Other chapters detail accounts
of death, deteriorating health, illness, disability, divorce and anxiety. After the death of a loved one,
after discovering your daughter has
Down Syndrome, after a painful
divorce, life goes on. And somehow,
people keep going, living at the end
of the rope.
These accounts detail emotional
journeys of finding hope after despair, and Hughes does a fine job of
leading us through the stories without offering platitudes or sermons.
These are stories about real
Christians, about broken people,
and they are meant to be read one
at a time so their contents can be
fully absorbed and reflected upon.
They are powerful accounts that
may give encouragement to those
who need a refill of hope.
Ron Hughes lives in the Niagara
region of Ontario. He is president
of the radio ministry FBH International and a former missionary
to Ecuador. –ALLISON BARRON
A Year of Living
Prayerfully: Ho w a
Curious Traveler Met
the Pope, Walked on
Coals, Danced with
Rabbis, and Revived
His Prayer Life
By Jared Brock
Tyndale House, 2015. 354 pages. $25
JARED BROCK’S challenge to himself
in writing this book was to move
beyond the “mechanics” of prayer
which he and his wife Michelle had
settled into, to a renewed sense of
“prayer with deep faith.”
He began a personal and meticu-
lous journey from Hamilton, Ont.,
to a variety of religious sites such as
Jerusalem, the Vatican and many
less well known, like Westboro
Baptist Church in Kansas. Another
stop was Taizé in Burgundy, France,
where more than a hundred monks
live an almost perpetual prayer life
and invite hundreds of thousands
of seekers to join them every year.
His journey was long, almost
50,000 km, touching nearly every
significant Christian place where
he could talk with people who
practised prayer deeply, carefully
The book is not a theological study
– it’s more of a whirlwind pilgrimage.
Brock, a filmmaker, was working on
a project about human trafficking at
the same time, but the book is not
dark and serious like that subject
might suggest. Often it’s very funny.
The book does not take readers
on a vacation. It is intense, humbling, exciting, revealing and renewing. There is an earnestness
about it, and at the same time humour, disappointment and tragedy.
“One year ago,” he writes, “prayer
was a way of asking things from God.
Today it has a prized new definition
for me: prayer is simply a constant
communion with Christ.”
–R. WAYNE HAGERMAN
give encouragement to
need a refill
BOOKS & CULTURE
BEST WRITING OF THE YEAR AWARDED
Writers from a wide range of Canadian churches won awards from The Word
Guild, a national writers’ association, on June 24. The annual Word Awards drew
more than 100 entries published last year across 35 categories. Winners were
announced at a gala event in Toronto.
This year’s $5,000 Grace Irwin Prize went to Susan
Doherty Hannaford of Montreal for her young adult novel
A Secret Music (Cormorant Books).
A new award for upcoming journalists, named after
veteran journalists Bob Harvey and Lloyd Mackey, was
awarded to Christina Van Starkenburg of Victoria, B.C.
Several entries related to Faith Today
were shortlisted for awards, including
two books from editor Karen Stiller, Shifting Stats Shaking
the Church (co-authored with senior writer Patricia Paddey)
and Evangelicals Around the World (co-edited with Faith
Today founder Brian Stiller and others); one from columnist
James Beverley, Getting Jesus Right (co-authored); articles
by Lisa Hall-Wilson and Love Is Moving contributor Dagmar
Morgan; and song lyrics by columnist Carolyn Arends.
A complete list of winners is available at www.thewordguild.com/media. The
awards are announced each year at the Write Canada conference. –F T STAFF