Have you ever thought about joining a club but decided against it? Perhaps you told yourself you wouldnt like the people or they wouldnt like you. Perhaps you made lack of time the excuse or that youd show yourself up. Like bridge or badminton, football or philately, church can seem like any other member club from the outside. You think you believe in something, but all that ceremony seems a bit off-putting. What am I doing here? is a new book by Hilary Brand, which deals with all the potentially confusing bits of a church service with clarity and plenty of humour. Hymn singing, for example, is about "filling your lungs" (whether you can sing a note in tune or not) while The Peace always a bit of an ordeal for many isnt "just a religious version of 'Hi there', or 'Dah-ling' air kissing"; its another type of prayer. Billed as a beginners guide to church and lightened by Dave Kents cartoons, this book really will give you a highly accessible introduction to what a church service is meant to be all about. It made this church goer laugh; I enjoyed the simple yet insightful style and it made me think about different aspects of the service afresh not least the idea of simply coming together to worship, however different our innermost beliefs might be. Even if you havent joined the club or you dont feel like a fully paid-up member, the book is an entertaining little read in its own right under 70 pages and much more tabloid brevity and humour than long-winded theology.
Another club making a name for itself these days is the low carbon, save energy club and Chris Goodall gives you all the facts you need to join in his engaging book How to live a low-carbon life. Did you know, for example, that the average car in the UK emits 180g of carbon dioxide every kilometre; that if you buy a new LCD TV you can save 60kg per year in emissions; and that putting your Sunday best in a tumble dryer before coming to church is one of the most carbon intensive things you can do. Chris Goodalls message strikes a chord in the current more thrifty, back-to-the-wall sort of climate. His challenge to us consumers is to reduce from 12.5 to three tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Tall order? Try walking the children to school, putting less water in the kettle and driving a smaller car and you could be well on the way. This book is worth reading for the stats alone.
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