UK Christian Bookshops Directory: Christian Book Reviews: Struggling to Be Holy
Struggling to Be Holy Struggling to Be Holy

Judy Hirst
ISBN 0232526354 (9780232526356)
Darton, Longman & Todd, 2006

Category: Prayer, Poetry and Spirituality

Judy Hirst is Director of Ministerial Formation at Cranmer Hall, St John's College, Durham, and an experienced counsellor. Rather than try to define holiness and give directions on how to become holy, she takes an honest look at the challenge of living as a Christian today.

Struggling to Be Holy comprises a series of six reflections on the following themes: Hiding from God, Dealing with our Desires, The Gifts of Forgiveness, Paying Attention, Friendship, Success and Failure. They are very readable and full of personal stories with references to biblical passages and to a wide selection of other writings.

In this way Hirst demonstrates that holiness is rooted in our everyday experiences — it is more about struggling than succeeding, more about learning to trust in God's love than in developing self-discipline.

There are many gems here and wonderful phrases to be learnt and meditated on and quoted in sermons:

Holiness is much less about self-discipline than it is about learning to entrust yourself to the God who loves you. It is about taking the risk of allowing God to interact with the truth of ourselves, no strings attached.
The only person qualified to throw the stone chooses not to.

Again and again Hirst comes back to the fact that Christianity is a relationship, a relationship with a God of love and a relationship with people. This is a book which can be read quickly but which should be read slowly and meditated upon because it contains much to be treasured.

Sue Groom, July 2006

The Revd Sue Groom is the Director of Deanery Licensed Ministry for the Kensington Episcopal Area of London. Before this she was Vicar of St Matthew's, Yiewsley and also served as the Reader Training Officer for the Willesden Episcopal Area. She is the author of Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew (Paternoster Press, 2003).

Darton, Longman & Todd

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