Fingerprints of Fire …Footprints of Peace – review
Fingerprints of Fire …Footprints of Peace, by Noel Moules, September 2012. Circle Books, 354 pages, ISBN 978-1-846-94612-7. RRP £12.99 (paperback)
This is a book that invites you to participate in a discussion. The style encourages this because instead of blocks of text there are clearly divided paragraphs with different, though connected ideas; a few questions; more ideas; an explanation of some Greek or Hebrew; a series of bullet points; so more like each chapter being a seminar in which you are a participant. It is therefore not necessary to read the chapters consecutively as each is about a different aspect of faith living from a Jesus perspective. However they do connect in the search to live in a way of peace, the footprints, but recognising that this will involve action for justice, even costly action, the fingerprints of fire.
After exploring identity, Noel looks at Jesus and his disciples as the New Age Travellers of their day, and explores similar ideas from other faiths and atheism as a counterpoint. I liked the way this was done throughout the book, to be inclusive, accepting and exploring the challenge from others. Shalom, more than peace, is explored in the context of hope and cosmic visionaries, with justice as the heart of shalom. So a shalom activist has a big agenda, but there is a considerate pause for the weary with the suggestion of bite size doable actions more in line with yeast that a major drama. I enjoyed the chapter on radical mysticism and the struggle of spiritual growth, and appreciated the challenge of being a creation companion, who would live in harmony with wild nature. The passion for a good, active and faith based ecology was very clear, with the preference for being a friend of creation rather than a steward. Just the use of different terms like Messianic Anarchist, Wisdom Dancer or Meekness Zealot, cause you to think again, let alone the depth of ideas that flow in their wake.
The book dipped for me about two thirds through, I think because there is just so much that would benefit from discussion and reflection. I am left wanting to share it with others, to see what they think, read it again, and to listen to children and their questions in a different way. I have no hesitation in recommending it, in fact get your house group or equivalent to get it and explore your fingerprints of fire and footprints of peace together.
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A course led by Noel based on this book will be running at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham from Monday 30 September to Wednesday 2 October 2013. See - http://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/courses.php?action=course&id=7886