9 March 2017

Don't Explore The Flower Cupboard Without Prayer & Fasting (Book Review)

Observational humour, at its best, seems to me to be the art of seeing what is strange and slightly ridiculous about the details of life, and the world, and engaging with it gently. “Rules for Reverends” does this elegantly. It presents the reality of clergy life, with all its quirks and contradictions, in short pithy statements, and does so in an honest and kind way.


The range of topics that are covered are quite wide, from organisational eccentricities to the day to day of pastoral care with the sick or those in need. For example: on worship: “The tiptoeing thing people do when they’re late into church doesn’t work.”
On special events: “What they don’t teach you at Theological College is how to hold a plate and a glass of wine and a fork at the same time. They really should.” And on handling public events: “Please remember to switch your mobile phones back on at the end of the service’ is a neat way to do it." Stating that this was a book of ‘rules’ could be off-putting to those who are already feeling the pressure of too many expectations and aren’t keen to take on any more.  It seems, instead, that Fletcher is exploring the rules that are already at work in the life of clergy, rather than writing a fresh list to burden clergy with. I hope that the title does not put you off, as it really is an excellent book.“Rules for Reverends” has the tone of an experienced minister passing on sage advice about how things usually are, and, along with cartoons by Dave Walker, it seems to manage wise advice with humour and grace. It’s a reassuring and encouraging read that treats honestly what is difficult about the job without ending up feeling bitter or unfair, and, whilst it is written with the clergy member in mind, its insights could be a great resource for the clergy family.


“Rules for Reverends” is available through Book Depository for a very affordable price.

~ Matt