Book launch for Eremos Founder
1st December 2019
Book Launch for Eremos Founder
Bless you heart attack for being in my life: Wrestling with death, health, self and spirit, a new book by Eremos founder Bishop Bruce Wilson, was launched in Sydney on 1 December 2019. Over 100 people attended the event hosted by Eremos and St James King Street.
The book is Bruce Wilson's story about his wrestle with the serious stuff gone wrong. Aged 65, Bruce Wilson suffered a misdiagnosed heart attack. He was offered 50/50 odds that emergency surgery might save his life. This gripping narrative tells of his journey to a health that literally hangs by a few threads and results uncomfortably in a new life that challenges almost everything he previously was and believed.
In sharing his account, Wilson draws on deep psychological, intellectual and spiritual resources available to us all. With profound paradox, he blesses the heart attack that began it all for being part of his life.
The book was launched by Scott Cowdell and Don Meadows. Don began his remarks noting that Bruce’s writing reminds us that the heart of Christianity is mystical, not rational. Offering insight into the book's title, Don read a quote from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn from the dedication page, "Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying up the rotting prison straw, I came to realise that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul."
Hugh McGinley from Coventry Press, the book’s publisher, said that this is a story of honesty and integrity about how Bruce’s life, theology and spirituality were affected by the experience he articulates in the book. Scott Cowdell, who also wrote the foreword of the book, mentioned Bruce’s story discloses new images of God as well as a rediscovery of the ‘Big Story’ of Christianity and a new experience of grace.
Don Meadows is a retired Anglican priest and psychotherapist and was a collaborator with Bruce Wilson as the founder of Eremos. He was also a former editor of EREMOS magazine and of The Australasian Journal of Psychotherapy. Scott Cowdell is a Research Professor in Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University, and Canon Theologian of the Canberra-Goulburn Anglican Diocese.
Bruce Wilson, 77, is a sociologist, theologian and Anglican bishop, best known for his 1980s best seller Can God Survive in Australia? Work in ministry has taken him from full time University Chaplain (UNSW), Inner City Vicar (Sydney’s Paddington), Theological College Principal (Canberra), Bush bishop (Bathurst to Bourke), Psycho-Spiritual Guide (Blue Mountains). He is married to Zandra, has two adult children and three grandsons.
Comments from Reviewers
“The most striking aspect of this unflinchingly personal self-examination is the wide-ranging collection of ideas. Augustine, Freud, Sartre, Girard - to mention only a few - come together in a substantial but vivid invitation to re-examine the realities of life around and within us.”
-- Don Meadows
"This is an account of a heart attack - a physical, emotional but also an intellectual and spiritual journey. Bruce Wilson, telling his story from a patient’s perspective, is inviting us into a bigger story. A story which can help each of us reflect on ourselves, our world, life and death. It is a story inviting us to reflect on experience by rediscovering some of the riches of our culture's heritage of intellectual and spiritual thought.”
-- Bishop Genieve Mary Blackwell, Assistant Bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne.
"Grounding his recent spiritual journey in ancient Christian teachings, Bruce Wilson is aware that but for modern medical technology his journey would have been thwarted by an early death. But avoiding death is not his focus, as he contends with heart disease, clinical complexity and determining where God is. Those facing life-threatening situations and those seeking God in the context of ‘everyday life’ are offered new insights from Bishop Wilson’s struggles.”
-- Professor Bernard W. Stewart AM, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney