Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Ruth Valerio on Just Living

Ruth Valerio, Just Living: Faith and Community in an Age of Consumerism (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2016).

I wrote the following mini review for EG, the quarterly magazine produced by the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

Ruth Valerio is as much at ease discussing sociologist Zygmunt Bauman and theologian Thomas Aquinas as she is about her exploits in keeping chickens and setting up a pig cooperative! It gives this book a wonderfully distinctive flavour, as Ruth joins the dots between our cultural context, our faith, and our lifestyle.

It matters that life is lived well, and the book ends with a series of recommended practices related to social concern, ecological concern, money, material goods, food, and more. But we do so in full awareness of the globalised world and consumerist society in which we live, and we do so in the light of the rich resources offered to us in Scripture and Christian tradition. Here especially, the book helps us navigate between therapeutic narcissism and world-denying asceticism to a way of life which appreciates what it means to use pleasurable things rightly and for good ends, bound up with justice and the welfare of others.

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