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Christ, the Cross and the Concrete Jungle

By John Caldwell
August 2015 | Review by Gladys Nash
  • Publisher: EP Books
  • ISBN: 978-1-78397-075-9
  • Pages: 116
  • Price: 5.99
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It might have been expected that this young man would spend much of his adult life behind bars. Instead he encountered Christ and his life was transformed. Violence, domestic abuse and alcohol were the norm in his dysfunctional family life. He lived in an area witnessing poverty, unemployment, street fighting, suicide, crime and widespread addiction.
 
A naughty child who hated school, he went from delinquency, through to vandalism, alcohol, crime and drugs. He was a Catholic, but this meant little more than supporting Celtic Football Club. His ambition to pursue his boxing talent ended when he tasted alcohol at 15. Dropping out of college, he moved from job to job, disliking authority. Money in his pocket was usually spent on alcohol. Adult life was coming to reflect the dysfunctional norms of his family and neighbourhood. At 18 his life was out of control and he reached despair.
 
In a Gideons’ Bible, he read of the final condemnation of the wicked and knew he would not be one of those dressed in white robes. This and other reading began to shape his thinking — and an interest in going to church. With the confidence of a little alcohol, he went into a meeting at an independent church. The format surprised him but he stayed and was made welcome. Still drinking, he began to meet Christians and listen to their stories.
 
Read here of his coming to faith in Christ, the changes in his life, and then the struggles with his old life that followed. For a time he worked to support other young people controlled by addictions, but in reality was still struggling with those things in his own life. He tried hard to be a ‘good Christian’ but failed despairingly, until, as he walked further with the Lord, he learned of the grace of God and knew ‘joy inexpressible’, as well as times in the valley.
 
Having little early education he went on to do theological training and then teacher training. He now ministers in the Free Church of Scotland as well as doing part-time teaching.
 
The book is honestly written and does not glamorise a life in the shadows of society. Informative and instructive for any age, it would be a good holiday read or a worthwhile gift.

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