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A Passionate Balance: The Anglican Tradition

Darton, Longman & Todd, 2007
RRP $31.95

Reviewed by Barb Bailey

This volume is part of a recent Traditions of Christian Spirituality Series in which the editor Philip Sheldrake has planned to expose key themes and values of the major traditions of spirituality in order to bring some relevance to the lives of the contemporary public, both believers and unbelievers. As members of this planet continue to search for satisfying forms of spirituality, this series is offering the wisdom and riches of the Christian tradition.

Alan Bartlett involves the reader in a lively dialogue. He is a person well qualified to bring an expression of the Anglican Tradition as Director of the Doctor of Ministry program and Tutor of Church History, Spirituality and Anglican studies at St. John’s College in Durham England. However this book will take the reader beyond English shores on an Anglican journey across our world.

His basic belief is that Anglicanism has great potential despite its present malaise and crises. The three-stranded cord of Scripture, Reason and Tradition undergird Alan’s thinking and he suggests there needs to be a disciplined dialogue between them. But he believes a deep structure begins
with theology, methodology and history and asks questions such as what are the consequences of these for Anglican life? How do Anglicans hear Scripture? How do the tribes of Anglicanism relate to one another?

Undergirding his whole reflection is the word balance. Asked by a colleague “What is your heartland” he came to understand for him it was a heartland of balance. Does one expression of Anglicanism have all the truth? No. So the reader is led to the depth of spirituality and wisdom offered by the Anglican communion while recognizing the varying expressions of it.

This book was written for the contemporary believer but will satisfy the academic with 30 pages of end notes and bibliography. In total there are 220 pages in this well written volume.