Souvenir Press, 2010 RRP $29.99
Reviewed by Karyl Davison. WE live in fascinating times. While we all know that institutional religion, and in particular the Christian church, is in decline, people in our communities seem no less enthusiastic for 'spirituality'. Occasional services, such as the rites of baptism, marriage and funerals still draw quite large crowds of people who would not themselves claim religious affiliation but nevertheless seem open and accepting of what the services have to offer. The big opportunity for the Christian church is to find ways to speak into such gatherings in ways that can resonate with a wide range of people. That is what Naming and Blessing aims to do. Sitting firmly within the Christian tradition, Naming and Blessing is a book of acrostic prayers which can be used for and by a much wider range of people than their more 'churchy' cousins. They could be used as personalised blessings for baptism, the blessing of a child, confirmation, even weddings. For example, the book includes a prayer I could use to bless my daughter Alyssa, a name which, according to Mr Tawn, means noble woman. Of course you will not find every name – if you're like me you will have to adapt the blessing from the more popular spelling of your name. Our names are important to us. By using named blessings, you might just provide a connecting point for individuals to God. How good is that?