Review of Arthur’s Call by Frances Young

I was sent a copy of Arthur’s Call to review – and I am so glad I was.  In my own grappling with ministry and life within the limitations of chronic illness, this seemed a significant book to read.

I had previously read another of Frances Young’s books, so I knew something of the story of Arthur.  This book is very much a narrative of life with Arthur, but interwoven through it is profound theology – the type of theology you don’t necessarily notice, because it is part of the story.  Deep, meaningful questions are asked and explored in a very accessible way.

Arthur was born with severe learning disabilities, which raise questions of creation and healing, the cross and redemption, loving and letting go, and not least of all Arthur’s call and vocation in life.  Frances Young does not hide from the reality, she acknowledges her own raw reactions and frustrations.  In her honesty and grappling she offers something to us.

There are challenges to our preconceptions of all kinds of parts of life, not least health.  She explores prayer for healing and what that means, alongside questions of doubt and faith and the view of God as ‘fixer of all things’.  There is a challenge for us all on dependence and vulnerability – and how good we are at it!  Within this exploration is a significant chapter about the cross and what it was all about that would be useful for anyone to read.

For me, the most important part of the book is the emphasis that the resurrected Christ still bore the scars of the nails.

It is a long time since a book has felt so important as to need to underline and star bits, but this book was it.

This book would be helpful to anyone with a severely disabled child of any age, but it is also of immense use to all of us, for society has much to learn about ‘perfection’ and ‘health’.  This book will, if we allow it, challenge and move us into accepting what all kinds of people have to offer us.

It is both an accessible and interesting read, as well as deep and challenging.  Oh and I love the picture on the cover, it firmly puts Arthur in your mind and brings the stories in the book alive.

 

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