So where do the profoundly disabled fit in; people whose bodies and minds are ‘broken’, who will not develop or progress at all? How do we perceive the value of such a life, let alone believe we can learn something from it?

This important book details a mother’s journey of faith from the moment she was told her baby was severely brain-damaged. Author Frances Young is a Methodist minister and former Edward Cadbury professor of theology at the University of Birmingham.

She first chronicled her life with her son in Face to Face (Epworth), published around the time Arthur left school in 1985. Arthur’s Call builds on this account. The author writes: ‘It’s now possible to describe the fundamental changes in my life as a move from struggling with the “why” questions to grasping that I’ve had privileged access to the deepest truths of Christianity.’

Throughout the book, Arthur’s story is intertwined with Young’s spiritual journey. She describes her wilderness years of deep despair when Arthur’s condition challenged many easy answers to questions of faith but later shaped her whole theological approach, including her view of the cross and redemption.

There’s a total lack of sentimentality here; the insights and understanding Young reaches are rooted in painful realism. In that sense, it is sometimes uncomfortable to read. However, on the whole the book is engaging, with profound theology that is accessible to a lay person.

This is a deeply moving story – challenging but ultimately joyful – and one that will provide the reader with a new sense of identity in Christ. SL

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