Choosing Joy will be published by Matador on 28 June 2022
Choosing Joy, a deftly-woven mosaic of memories, tells John Dempster’s story, with particular focus on his life-long quest to find a way of being which is at once joyful, life-affirming and true to his own experience.
There are honest descriptions of spiritual trauma and the anxiety and depression which complicate the author’s quest for an inner homecoming. He describes with forgiveness and at times wry humour the effects of the Christian formation he received in childhood; he charts his engagement with evangelicalism, Reformed Theology, the charismatic movement, post-modernism, and most recently faith ‘deconstruction’ and ‘reconstruction’. And he recalls moments of joy, grace and inner wholeness when a Great Love beckons.
John Dempster resolves to ‘choose joy’ – to live, regardless of his emotions, in the light of a fundamental love and joy lying at the heart of all things. But will this vision be strong enough to sustain him?
This vivid, unforgettable book is for people who have been wounded by their traumatic experiences of church; for those with mental health issues and their families; for those undergoing ‘deconstruction’ of their previous Christian belief; for those struggling to free themselves from the burden of other people’s expectations and find their authentic selves.
‘Choosing Joy is a work of integrity and courage, soul-stirring and faith-enhancing.’
Steve Aisthorpe, Church of Scotland Mission Development Worker Author of The Invisible Church and Rewilding the Church