Prolific author and Baptist minister Steve Chalke is a model of how to take control of your life story and continue to shape it in word and deed. Having founded the successful youth charity Oasis Trust 30 years ago, his experiences have led him to become a bold defender of inclusion at the expense of castigation and criticism from his peers.
Subtitled, “How to become the person you were meant to be”, Being Human is the perfect January read. Clearly written without dense or complex arguments, Chalke describes how narrative shapes who we are and what we believe. When paired with the Aristotelian idea of character formation through habit, we start to take control of our life, he says, calling on readers to use story and action to deal with what he asserts is our most basic fear – inconsequence.
The book’s focus is narrow but the scope is wide, dipping in and out of motivational speak, biblical interpretation and theology in 25 bite-sized chapters with copious footnotes.
Kicking off with stirring allegories, real life tales and personal experience, Chalke describes how we limit our own potential through the stories we are told and then repeat to ourselves.
In one dramatic example he tells how dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel’s shock at reading his own obituary, accidentally printed upon his brother’s death, altered his life legacy. The headline calling him the ‘merchant of death’ lead him to found the Nobel prizes so that he would be remembered otherwise.
In the second half of the book he cites how the Bible has been invoked for good and ill and offers generous and empowering commentaries of several biblical stories.
This book is an inspiring read for young people, seekers and all of us who need to be reminded that in the tale of our lives, we are the storytellers.
Reviewed by Christine Nielsen-Craig, Deputy Principal and Director of Development and Marketing at Sarum College.
Special price of £11.50 in the shop (posted out for free) or buy online for £9.50 + postage until 31st January 2016. RRP £12.99.