Mark Roques - "The Spy, the Rat and the Bed of Nails: Creative Ways of Talking about Christian Faith"
Reviewed by Matt Kägi
… is the name of the book which just came out by Mark Roques from RealityBites, UK. Some of you will remember Mark from the EurECA conference 2014, leading a workshop on „Ways to talk engagingly about the Christian faith“.
His book starts: „Why is it so easy to talk about James Bond but so hard to talk about God and Jesus?“ He finds that Jesus talked to people mostly in parables - stories which related to their everyday life but showed spiritual truths. So he wonders: What are the parables that will speak to people of today?
The book offers a wealth of stories, sprinkled with humour, of which the title names just three: The spy, that’s James Bond. Why is he held in such high esteem today? What does that tell us about the things we worship? - Consider rats. There is a temple in India where 15,000 rats are running all over the place, and the family that runs the temple, eats with them and sleeps with them and worships them, because they believe they are their ancestors (there is a link to a film). How do we view such a faith? - The bed of nails, of course, refers to the practice which a Hindu seeker justifies: “In order to find God you must put your body through hardship.”
Mark Roques introduces the concept of looking at all the stories from four different worldview angles: The materialist („There is no God“), the postmodernist (*Everyone has his own truth“), the respective worldview of the hero, and the Christian worldview. This inspires and challenges you to think about your own worldview, as well as the differences to others.
There is also a set of questions which may help to get to the core: Where am I? Who am I? What’s wrong? What’s the solution? What happens to me after death? - Different worldviews have different answers, which are reflected in the stories.
Here is a typical reaction to the book, by John Thomson, Bishop of Selby:
"I love the style of this book. Stories spark imagination and open up life. Mark Roques gets this and helps us get it. Like Jesus he tells stories which light up what God's like and about. He makes sharing faith a draw."
To find out more, and to order:
"Bible-shaped Teaching" by John Shortt
"Christian Faith in English Church Schools" by Trevor Cooling
"Jesus - A Master Teacher" by Roy Pitcher
"Mere Education" by Mark A. Pike
"Walking with God as a Christian educator" by Philip Towndrow
"First Class: The calling and impact of a Christian teacher" by Werner Cloete
"Mapping the Field" by Elizabeth Green
"Supporting Christians in Education" by Trevor Cooling with Mark Greene
"Is World View Neutral Education Possible and Desirable?" by Signe Sandsmark
"Educating for Life" and "Educating for Shalom" by Nicholas Wolterstorff
"Second Sight" by Lowell Hagan
"The Love of God in the Classroom" by Sylvia Baker & David Freeman
"The Courage to Teach" by Parker J Palmer
"The Craft of Christian Teaching" by John Van Dyk
"The Bible and the task of teaching" by David I Smith & John Shortt