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Author(s): Peter Graystone
"Perhaps the greatest accolade that I can give this book is simply this: it works. (...) This is connected spirituality, not pie-in-the-sky fantasy." Phil Groom, UKCBD Reviews, March 2005.
"This is an easy-to-dip-into book with lots of humour alongside wise counsel and practical exercises to help us enjoy being a Christian every day of the week." WOMAN ALIVE, March 2005.
"This is an imaginative way into prayer and the spiritual disciplines especially for those who are young in their faith and is written with 20 to 30-somethings in mind." CHRISTIAN MARKETPLACE, January 2005.
"Peter Graystone's approach: short and punchy, with stories, quotes and short prayers to keep you reading on, and hopefully giving you the inspiration and energy to put new ideas into practice." THE PARISH.
"This is a book that requires you to work if you're to get the most out of it. It's very easy to read, humorous, thoughtful, entertaining and interesting." Claire Martin, Programme Co-ordinator at the Centre for Contemporary Christianity, lion&lamb, Summer 2005.
Peter Graystone works for Church Army, where he oversees
pioneering projects that take the Good News beyond the walls of a church to profoundly unchurched people. One of those locations is the internet, and he edits Christianity.org.uk, which gives free, confidential, reliable information about the Christian faith. He is a Church Times columnist and theatre reviewer.
Peter - welcome to the Canterbury Press website.
Your new book is Detox Your Spiritual Life in 40 Days: Tell us about the
book - what is it and why Detox? Why do you feel it is needed?
It is an opportunity to go through the whole of your life - your body, your
emotions and your relationships as well as your spiritual life - and get rid of
the things that are doing you no good so that you can start enjoying your
Christian life all over again. In a sense, it is just like the kind of detox
course you would find in a health magazine, but much broader because you do it
in the context of your relationship with God.
Why does a Christian book include detoxing your physical life as well as
your spiritual life?
When I was writing it a year ago, a friend at church asked what I was writing
about that week and I explained that I was asking people to think about their
sleep. And she blurted out, 'Sleep! What on earth has that got to do with being
a Christian?' Well, you either get this or you don't! People say to me, 'My
Christian life is in such a mess. I'm only getting five hours of sleep at night,
and every waking hour is so stressed. How on earth do you expect me to find time
sort out my spiritual life?' And my response is to suggest that they are
starting in the wrong place. If begin by making sure that you get a proper
amount of sleep every night, it will have an impact on other things in your
life. You will be less tired and stressed, and you will find the spiritual part
of your life improves automatically as a result. Because of the way God has
created us, all these things are connected.
And just what exactly is a 'daily detox exercise' - just what does that
Each chapter of the book is tiny. It's not difficult to read. It would be no
good for someone who likes to sit at a desk and plough through a deep
theological tome - it's got too many jokes for that! Scattered throughout the
text are extracts from the Bible and quotations from Christians of the past that
are helpful about the subject. And each day there is a prayer, and an idea for
how you could make a practical start on improving the area of your life you have
been thinking about. They are not tough things. They range from thinking back
over times when joy broke into your life to going through your address book to
make contact with people who have been valuable to you in the past. One of them
is to book a neck and shoulder massage!
Not many of your chapters are things people tend to do in church!
That's right! It's about how God can shape and fulfil every part of your life
- the way you work or relax as well as the way you pray. It is how to be a
Christian from Monday to Saturday that seems really vital to me; Sunday has
always been a bonus!
Your first book was Sign of the Times: The Secret Life of Twelve Everyday
Icons - what was that about? Where did the interest in these icons spring from?
It's a book about objects that are everywhere - absolutely everywhere - in
the world today. And most of them are things that have only appeared during the
past ten years. I am fascinated about how they came to be so ubiquitous and what
that says about the spiritual state of the nation. So I have written about the
supermarket loyalty card, bottled water, email spam, text messaging, a lamppost
covered with flowers where someone has died, and so on. Each chapter gives some
history about how that sign of the times came about, and then explains how we
can see God at work in the way it has become part of our society. On the whole I
am very positive about our culture, so it's a very optimistic book, and a funny
one too. The last two chapters are about the cross and the empty tomb. Not the
theological ideas, but the actual symbols! Where do we see them in society
today, and do they have any power left compared to the Nike swoosh or the
McDonalds golden arches?
Tell us a little about yourself - what do you do for Christian Aid?
My job is to help people in churches make a connection between their
Christian faith and everything that is going on in the developing world. So it
is mainly a writing and speaking job. If you have ever taken part in a service
that mentioned Christian Aid's work you have probably said one of my prayers or
heard some of my thoughts about being 'good news for the poor'. I write a daily
Bible reflection in the 'faith' section of Christian Aid's 'Surefish' website.
You can find it at www.surefish.co.uk
And your own church life? Where do you worship and why?
This June I will have worshipped at Emmanuel, South Croydon, for thirty
years. I go there because that is where I feel loved - simple as that! I first
went as a teenager, and now I preach or lead worship there most weeks.
And finally, your plans for Lent?
I am planning to eat sensibly and enjoy my meals instead of rushing them. I
intend to do a bit of exercise with my best friend so that it won't seem like a
chore. I'm going to press the snooze button on my alarm clock every morning so
that I can lie in bed for ten minutes thinking through the day ahead with God.
And at the end of every day I am going to write down one thing that God has
brought to my attention in the hope that I will have a brilliant idea for my
next book for Canterbury Press.
If you are a bookseller in London/South East England and would like to
have Peter speak at a bookshop event, please contact Michael Addison at
Canterbury Press on 0207 354 6214 or Michael@scm-canterburypress.co.uk