Book of the Month: March 2015

on-rock-or-sandOn Rock or Sand?: Firm Foundations for Britain’s Future, edited by John Sentamu, Archbishop of York.

“Archbishops speak out on inequality” (Guardian headline 15th Jan. 2015).  it’s not often that one of the books on our shelves attracts much media attention, certainly not in the general press.  On Rock or Sand is an exception which has attracted a great deal of attention, much of it critical of the church for delving into the political arena.

In fact the book is a considered response to the impact of the recent financial crisis, and is the result of five years of regular meetings by a group of academics and practitioners brought together by the Archbishop of York to look at the economic crisis and the resulting challenges for our society including poverty, healthcare, education, ageing and the welfare state.

The book brings together some of the group’s reflections.  The introduction and conclusion are by John Sentamu, with the chapters between by different expert contributors including Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Lord Adonis, former Government Minister, Andrew Sentance, Senior Economic Adviser to Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Julia Unwin of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and James Woodward, founding director of the Leveson Centre for the Study of Ageing, Spirituality and Social Policy.

“The task we set ourselves…was to consider the foundations, the values and the virtues, which support our society and the hope and vision we can have for a sustainable future”. (Sentamu).

The book makes us think about the society in which we now find ourselves, a society with increasing lack of political engagement, inequality, individualism, and compare this with what a society focussed on the common good would be like. It calls for a vision of a better future in which all citizens are valued – and for us all to play our part. It is a timely book which we could do well to consider as we await the General Election manifestoes.

Reviewed by Jenny Monds

Special price of £8.99 in the shop (posted out for free) or £6.99 + postage from www.sarumcollegebookshop.co.uk until 31st March 2015. RRP £9.99

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