Church launches spiritual survival training for Lent – and life

Published 14 January 2009
The Church of England is offering worshippers insights into the Christian faith’s own set of ‘travel essentials’ for use during life’s tougher times with the launch of a new ‘spiritual survival course’.

'Lentwise – spiritual essentials for real life' focuses firmly on the biblical basics needed to survive life’s storms over five sessions, aimed at small study groups who will meet during the forthcoming season of Lent. They focus particularly on God as our ultimate direction and Jesus as guide.

The course was written for Church House Publishing, the Church of England’s official publisher, by Dr Paula Gooder, a writer and lecturer on biblical studies who is also a Reader within the Church of England and a member of its General Synod.

As part of preparing the course, Dr Gooder returned to the Greek text and re-translated extracts of the Gospel of John, to offer fresh insights into the biblical text.

Dr Gooder comments: “Real life in its unpredictability and dependence on factors beyond our control has much more in common with an expedition than with a trip to a comfortable cottage or hotel room.

"This course applies some of the more down to earth images used in the Gospels to describe what Jesus offers, to appeal to those who are turned off by the more flowery language that the Church can sometimes use.

"It challenges Christians to ask whether they are trained on how to use this backpack of spiritual essentials to help them face life’s storms with courage and hope.”

Lentwise has won the backing of leading theologian Jane Williams, who praises the course’s honest confrontation with some of the realities of modern life: “User-friendly, undaunting and profound. The author is an experienced and trustworthy guide on our journey through Lent. With her help, Lent will be a journey of delighted discovery and not a miserable, dutiful trudge.”

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