2012 RRP $24.95
Reviewed by Noel Preston.
A book with the title, Hope, would always invite me to take a second look — and one written by the well-known Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision, is likely to be a "must read". In fact this is a book of short stories with a lucid, conversational elaboration of the message behind the stories.
Sub-titled "moments of inspiration in a challenging world" Hope explores themes of grace, justice, and spirituality and the like.
Though the author is a Victorian Baptist preacher, there is little that is preachy about its style — except that it reflects the experience of a preacher who knows that any good sermon must have good illustrations.
The book has 62 mini chapters.
The first of these is headed "Living with stories", for "stories are the way we make sense of experience". Some of these stories are autobiographical and along the way we learn much about the author and his commitment to gospel values, his empathy for the down trodden and his vocation to promote transformation, justice and care of the environment.
Altogether this volume is a resource for those who understand how moral and ethical development is enhanced through the power of stories.
Along the way we learn a little of Tim Costello's theology (as in the piece where he tells stories of the 2004 tsunami).
Another essay titled "Hope Shattered" ends with this frank declaration "My faith is now less replete with answers that seem conceptually watertight and more about living in a relationship with God. It is the daily rhythm of fully engaging the present between the bookends of having faith and experiencing doubt."
I would recommend Hope as an excellent gift for a neighbour or relative who is open to the essence of the Christian gospel and its social expression without wanting to engage the mysteries of theology and creeds.