Is it time to go in search of lost prophets?

I am writing about lost management classics. It is something I'm interested in and in the past I was managing editor at the Open College in the management and leadership section. I got there by a complicated route. When I left university I rather looked down my nose at 'management' stuff and entrepreneurialism and that kind of thing. I had done an English degree and postgraduate degree and worked for a pressure group.

Then I began watching a TV programme called Troubleshooter starring a larger-than-life industrialist called John Harvey Jones. I and millions of others found the programme thrilling. Jones travelled round ailing manufacturing and other businesses giving advice and trying to turn them around; it was a moment of epiphany for me. I realised how fascinating business was and how it was as much about people and ideas as about numbers. I was hooked.

I write this because I had a shock just yesterday. I went on to Amazon to buy some copies of Jones' great works for an article I am writing only to find that everything he ever wrote is out of print. How very, very sad. How can it be? The great prophet has no one to listen to him any more. Most of his books are going for 1p – literally a penny for your thoughts.

Pixabay

Which brings me to a closely related obsession – reading the lost prophets of Christian literature. I have simply made a deal with myself to dig out books by people no one has ever heard of, who once were superstars, and bring this stuff back into the light.

So today may I recommend that you go onto the internet and buy everything you can get your hands on by Frank Boreham? Boreham was read by a huge number of people in his time – his touching, poetic reflections on the faith were right up there. But it wasn't all plain sailing and his journey to greatness is interesting. Boreham was a minister who wrote and in his early days he suffered a terrible crisis of confidence. He began to hate his writing and felt he had nothing to say – a place any writer who is any good understands all too well. Boreham realised he was all style and no content.

Boreham decided to give up, but he also took the wise decision to talk through his woes with his mentor. Rather than give up, his mentor advised his young friend to do something very bold. You might imagine the advice would have been to go out and live a bit, get some more experience under his belt. But no. Boreham was advised to go and read some good novels and biographies and poetry.

It was an inspired tip. FW Boreham never looked back. His essays and articles became alive with life and literature and his insights into the faith became lithe and beautiful.

My favourite book of Boreham's is called The Heavenly Octave. It is simply the best thing ever written on the Beatitudes. I have read it dozens of time and each time I do it makes me feel better.

Virtually no-one reads Boreham. There must be thousands of other lost prophets out there. Perhaps we should start a society for lost prophets. Do tweet me with suggestions to join the forgotten canon.

Rev Steve Morris is the parish priest of St Cuthbert's North Wembley. Before being a priest he was a writer and ran a brand agency. In the 1980s he tried to become a pop star. Follow him on Twitter @SteveMorris214

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