Renovating your spiritual home

Renovating your spiritual home photo:
Under Construction: Working with the Architect
by Neil O’Boyle (SPCK, £8.99)

The literary conceit behind this book is an original one. Author O’Boyle takes the idea of revamping your home, from the garden and front hall up to the bedroom, and gives it a spiritual twist.

Most of us will have worked with either a builder or an architect on such a domestic scheme. We may even be still waiting to get into one before Christmas. Well, you know what architects are like. But O’Boyle suggests that working with the, so to speak, divine architect of all things is both the same and quite different, and presents problems we may not want to face.

Written from an evangelical point of view some of O’Boyle remarks may make one wonder. He writes: “In the west we do not face torture or imprisonment for our beliefs. The likelihood is that you will never face any external problems as a result of being a Christian.”

Where has he been living? Many people and not just religious people find that if they hold any views which seem contrary to those most widely held “in the West” find themselves abused, and indeed imprisoned.

But no-one reads a book of this kind to agree with everything the author says. But reading what we don’t agree with should not hone our dislike of someone’s ideas, but make  us think about what we believe, not just about ‘the state of house’, or what we should believe, but perhaps why we should disbelieve other things. For many of us the state of our disbelief seems as much in need of examination as the state of our beliefs.