A Faith of Our Own: Living and Believing in an Age of Change
Ray Covell was a librarian in Kelowna, British Columbia.
This book was begun at the request of Peter Davison’s parishioners when he was in Vancouver, B.C. Part of his thesis is that we need an alternative to the new American evangelism. The author points out that the early settlers in the New World saw it as a Promised Land, as a model for the whole world: “We are told that by praying correctly we can win football games or become millionaires, because God will be on our side.”
After a lively introduction, Davison reaffirms traditional beliefs in the first part of the book: a reasonable, religious and holy hope. He becomes more interesting when he returns to his original thesis in chapter 11, “Persons and Ideologies:” “We live in a society dominated by the American Dream — a dream which incorporates a major heresy, namely that happiness can be pursued as an end in itself.” Davison tackles some issues associated with human rights — abortion, divorce, sexual harassment, the environment, pay equity, and language rights.
The third and last part of the book looks ahead to the church in the world of the future; Davison notes that depression in our society is related to a lack of intimacy. He recounts how one Lent, a half-dozen people met once a week to tell their stories; ranging in age from twenties to seventies, they spent six weeks covering six stages of life from birth to age sixty plus. For some, this involved future hopes as well as the past. They experienced a bonding, and respected each other’s confidence.
Davison notes church spires are now dwarfed by banks, but points out that the church exists to bring people together in a similar way to Alcoholics Anonymous. He sees the foundations of effective ministry as passion and compassion.
His book ends with three appendixes: one a personal inventory, one a church inventory, and one on filling positions in the church.
This is an entertaining and informative book, not only for Anglicans, but for all Christians who want to be more effective in contemporary Canadian society.