Faith Without Pretending (by Anne Townsend)

Back in the 1980s, I knew of Anne Townsend as the author of some common sense (and often inspiring) Christian books that were light enough to make them easy to read, but deep enough to be thought-provoking. I liked her style, and picked up a few of her books second-hand, or on special offer.

When I first read 'Faith without pretending' about twelve years ago, I was expecting a self-help kind of book about faith (and, perhaps, lack of faith). I was not expecting an honest, often moving autobiographical account that starts with the author describing what happened when she reached rock-bottom in depression.

I read it again recently, in just a few days. Even knowing what to expect, I had forgotten most of the details. The author describes her childhood and conversion to evangelical Christianity, all the time wanting to 'fit in' and do what would please those in authority.

She doesn't tell us much about her marriage to John; the story is really about her own faith, as it grows, rather under false pretences at times since she believes she should 'burn out' for Jesus - and sacrifices her peace of mind and that of her children along the way.

Sometimes disturbing, often moving, I found myself gripped again as I re-read the honest account of this courageous woman of God. It's a pity that so many people in the Church refuse to admit to failings and depression, thus effectively forcing others to wear a cheerful mask as they believe themselves to be backsliding, or worse.

I can't recommend this book highly enough - unfortunately it's out of print, although occasionally available second-hand.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 20th June 2011

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