Christians Observed

Narratives for Today's Church

Author Text to Follow

“John Watson describes this extraordinary book as a series of love stories. So it is; and it is itself as a whole a sort of love story, a record of the love of God that is awakened by the variety of ways in which God touches human struggle and growing. None of these portraits is here to prove a point; each one is here to open a door. Some will be very hard reading for anyone committed to the traditional practice of the Church; some will show how that traditional practice nurtures absolutely unselfconscious holiness and maturity; some leave an open wound as well as an open door. But all the reader has to do is pay attention and suspend the arguments so that what God is doing in these lives may come through. The time comes when we have to return to arguments, to hard decisions and either-ors. When it comes, God grant that the experience of listening and absorbing stories like these will at least save us from complacency and the passion to decide where God can and cannot be at work.”
From the Foreword by The Most Revd Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury

To find the Church, you have to be beyond the churches. Most Christians on the main thoroughfares of Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism, are not merely divided from each other, but are unsympathetic towards each other. On the quiet byways and on tranquil pilgrim paths, there are those who recognize each other unconditionally, exercising vital patience and graceful greatness in resolving dogmatic discord and ethical egregiousness. Fresh solutions to enduring problems are possible.

The episodes recorded in this book are all true. They were born from despair with religion in its normal managerial role, defining the brand and excluding the alternatives; but hope is greater than despair. Christianity is an inclusive movement of the mind and spirit, present in a series of exclusivist organizations. The will to be free is always present in the structures. These stories have been related here to show that there is a better future for the Church, and that this better future is for Today’s Church.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-898595-45-8
Paperback Price: £13.95 / $25.00
Release Date: August 2004
Page Extent / Format: 160 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Foreword by Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury


Cairo Conversation
Hugo and Else
Seet Soi Tong
Patrick Williams
Fred and Mabel
Abraam el Baramousi
Teresa Domenica


“Watson calls these tales ‘love stories’. Love stories usually have happy endings. Although many of these stories end with the beloved’s death, sometimes tragically, they are nevertheless stories of christian love because they ‘show that there is a better future for the Church and that it is being lived now’. With Christians Observed Watson has redefined the love story and shown us how Christian love can truly live in our fallen, institutionalized world.” Watani International

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