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Naomi Starkey leads you beyond your sense of not being 'good enough' - for other people or for God, and back into the love and longing for connection that God has for you, his child. If you think you’ve heard the words 'God loves you' but never really grasped how true that is, ‘The Recovery of Love’ will help you reflect on your own life and recognise signs of God's presence and care - even where they were least expected. Fundamentally the book conveys the reassuring message that love always has the last word.
‘The Recovery of Love’ weaves together story, Bible passages and reflective comment. Partly inspired by places known to the author and by memories of reading the Christian Classic ‘The Pilgrim's Progress’ Naomi Starkey shows you snapshots of love and friendship on the journey through love and loss, love and betrayal and love and longing. In discovering the inner and outer transformation released by a healing experience of heavenly love, ‘The Recovery of Love’ provides stimulating insight into well-known and less well-known Bible passages. Like the classic story, her book brings us to a house of safety, where fears can be faced and laid to rest.
The Recovery of Love by Naomi Starkey was published by BRF in November 2012 and is our 29345th best seller. The ISBN for The Recovery of Love is 9781841018928.
Naomi Starkey, commissioning editor for BRF and well known for her contribution to Bible reading notes, has, in this new book, pursued a daring journey. She invites the reader to travel with her in search of God and his embracing love.
If you are 'new' to the faith, or are the sort of person who wants to know the times and route of a journey before setting off – then maybe you should stick to Naomi's Bible notes.
However, if you are excited by the prospect of a Mystery Trip, then delve into this unusual book, It is not an 'easy read' and you may well find yourself having to re-read some chapters. You will certainly have to stretch both your mind and your imagination.
There are echoes of Pilgrim's Progress here with the use of storytelling, taking the reader into a mysterious house of many rooms, where questioning minds will be opened and you will be urged to be open to his presence in whatever unexpected time or place it is revealed.
The Recovery of Love is a highly original book to be recommended to those who are eager for a mental and spiritual workout, which hopefully will reap the benefits of a closer walk with God into the way of wholeness.
Part One: In search of love
- 1 Planet Babylon
- 2 Constant craving
- 3 Broken
- 4 The hidden garden
- 5 Found
Part Two: Because he first loved us
- 6 He chose her
- 7 He cherished her
- 8 She cheated on him
- 9 She enraged him
- 10 But still he loves
Part Three: Love and loss
- 11 The mother: love
- 12 The friends: love
- 13 The friends: loss
- 14 The mother: loss
- 15 The end
Part Four: The recovery of love
- 16 The beginning
- 17 Walking free
- 18 Working together
- 19 Reaching out
- 20 Dancing on water
“This is a highly unusual book blending imaginative narrative with Bible quotes and reflection. It won't be to everyone's taste but for people who are prepared to think differently, to find themselves challenged and have their thoughts stretched, it will take you on a journey into the heart of God's love.” - Paula Gooder, lecturer in biblical studies and author of Heaven: A Rough Guide
“All too often the world of faith exists in a separate compartment from where our real living has to happen. This fresh and honest book seeks to bring the two together in an authentic relationship, not by giving answers but by following the questions. Through story telling, gentle and tough by turns, the invitation is to awaken to a presence, often hidden, that waits to meet us in the midst of daily living.” - David Runcorn, speaker, spiritual director and author of Spirituality Workbook
So often we are conscious of our shortcomings and failures when we reflect on our experiences of love. We labour under the sense of not being 'good enough' for other people or for God. Perhaps we have heard the words 'God loves you' just too many times to grasp that this really is true - and that this truth can change everything. I wanted to write a book exploring how much God longs to connect in love with his children, however messed up they feel. I wanted to explore the depth of healing released when people discover how deeply loved they are, which then begins to change how they love one other.
Having always enjoyed stories, I realised that using story could be a way of speaking to those who might not pick up a book of straightforward Christian teaching. Remembering the warm response for my Advent book, Pilgrims to the Manger, I decided to approach The Recovery of Love in a similar way, weaving together story, Bible passage and comment.
The book's setting is partly inspired by places I have known but also by memories of The Pilgrim's Progress, especially the vivid imagery of the dark and troubled City of Destruction and the Interpreter's House, where spiritual light breaks in, as truths are explained. So I decided to begin my book with the narrator inviting the reader to walk the turbulent streets of a large present-day city where love is just another commodity for sale. The story then brings us to a house of safety, where fears can be faced and laid to rest, using 'snapshots' of love and friendship, love and loss, love and betrayal, love and longing.
After some challenging moments of reflection and a resetting of the life compass, the book's journey continues, bringing reader and narrator back into the city, discovering the inner and outer transformation released by a healing experience of heavenly love.
My hope is that The Recovery of Love will provide stimulating insight into well-known and less well-known Bible passages. I hope it will also help people reflect on their own lives and recognise signs of God's presence and care, perhaps when and where they least expected. And, fundamentally, my hope is that it will convey the reassuring message that love has the last word. Mary Starkey
Naomi Starkey is BRF's Commissioning Editor for the Adult List, and editor of New Daylight Bible reading notes. She has previously written Pilgrims to the Manger and Good Enough Mother for BRF.
'...Washed flat and almost clean by the ebb of the tide, the sand is bare except for a single set of footprints. And - why are we not surprised? - there he is again, ahead of us, waiting. Although it is barely dawn, there is light enough to see his face, recognise his smile. The shadows have gone, for this in-between time, anyway. When he speaks, we know his voice although we cannot place his accent. Five words; a question: "What do you really want?"'
Some people like to be taken on mystery tours; others prefer to have a clear idea of where they are going, and why, and how long it will take, and where they will stop for lunch. This book is, in some ways, a bit of a mystery tour, inspired in part by (although in no way claiming parity with) classic Christian dream texts such as Pilgrim's Progress, Piers Plowman and The Great Divorce, and also by the whole rich tradition of storytelling as a way of exploring aspects of faith and truth.
It begins in a city, evoking the stress and demands endemic to life in today's busy, predominantly urban culture. It also ends in the same city, but this city now reverberates with a little of the imagery of the city of God, the new Jerusalem, which scripture promises us is our final home. In between, the narrative takes us to explore a curious yet safe place, a mysterious house of many rooms where questions can be asked, experiences shared and the search for healing begun.
Using story, reflection on Bible passages and quotations for further thought from a range of Christian writers, the trajectory of the book is from emptiness and despair to certain hope, from confusion through penitence to the great joy of forgiving and receiving forgiveness. A constant theme is the interplay between God's unmerited grace and mercy and our human failings; at the heart of the story is the meaning of love - on the one hand, our hunger for it and our often weary search to find and secure it, and on the other hand, God's breathtaking love for us, his children, expressed supremely in the birth, life, sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus.
The good news that we have been given to share is that the world's hunger for love can be met only in God's never ending embrace. Before that hunger can be understood, however, one question must be pondered and eventually answered: what do we really want? What do you really want? It is time to begin.
In a series of undated Bible reflections, ‘The Recovery of Love’ explores human and divine love as qualities of the spirit rather than merely of the mind. Naomi Starkey considers how the divine can transform the human, how it touches on every aspect of married, parental and fraternal love and friendship, showing how they linking together into one expression of God’s divine, all embracing love.
|Author / Artist||Naomi Starkey|
|Publisher||BRF (November 2012)|
|Number of Pages||160|
|Page last updated||9th April 2018|