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By: Keith Ravenscroft


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‘Better to have questions you can’t answer than answers you can’t question.’

The author describes these poems as ‘stumblings’ because they are stumbling attempts to understand what can seem beyond understanding. In his writing he confronts the issues that are inescapably a part of being human, as he sees them playing out in the maelstrom of his own life. He takes us into areas of desperation, confusion, even despair, but also of acceptance, fulfilment, ecstasy, obstinate faith, and above all of tender love.

The poems range widely through philosophical musings, urgent questioning about what it is to be human, irony, self-mockery, overwhelming passion – and always with an intensity that acknowledges that everything matters, everything has meaning if only we could decode it. And throughout this volume the writer attempts to comprehend and reach the elusive God who he believes in but fails so comprehensively to connect with as deeply as he longs to.

Any readers who are prepared to stumble with the writer on this poetic journey through life may find themselves in a place where they can at least begin to understand, accept, and even glory in their imperfect humanity as the writer does. And maybe hope to stumble into Grace, enlightened and affirmed.

Keith Ravenscroft is married with four grown-up children and three grandchildren. He studied English Literature (with an admixture of Philosophy) at Cambridge University and then spent most of his working life as a writer and creative director in advertising agencies in the UK and North America.

From a position of hardline atheism, Keith gradually came to faith in his middle years and trained as a Lay Minister in the Church of England. He has been engaged in preaching, teaching, and leading worship since 2007.

He and his wife Avril, a graphic artist and now an Anglican priest, have worked together as well as lived together for many years and during that time have been residents in Canada and Italy, as well as in the UK.

Apart from music, Keith’s great passions are Philosophical Theology and Christian Spirituality as expressed within the writings of poets and mystics throughout the ages.

Customer Reviews
4 reviews
4 reviews
  • Sue Hawkins

    Keith is serious in his soul searching - honest with his doubts and bold with his questioning. This, together with his compassion, his love of language, and his gift with words, encourages the reader in their own spiritual struggles. He articulates what most of us either cannot - or dare not - attempt, and we are left with a feeling of heartfelt gratitude for having encountered someone who understands us!

  • Mark Hackney

    The poetry of Keith Ravenscroft helps me to appreciate life from fresh angles; it hits you laterally, encouraging you to revisit assumptions while also suggesting fresh approaches and perspectives on that most problematic of subjects: life. I mark the reflected hope of a burning faith in 'It's a Long Way to Eternity', the framing of a cosmic enigma in 'Beyond Words', and the welcome mischief of 'The Problems of Theology'. You read a poem, you put the book down, and you go on a mental journey. And all is delivered with a seductive humility and a disarming frankness. Most of all, it ushers in what we desire most from the poet: a true sense of wonder.

  • Rob Green

    Stumblings by Keith Ravenscroft is quite simply a tour de force. Keith was for many years an atheist before God ‘called him home’ and he has since spent many years in Christian ministry. This background means he is very familiar with the delicate but crucial balance between faith and doubt. Many of his wonderful poems reflect the profound and precious truth that faith and doubt are not opposites but that they are both essential parts of the normal Christian life. He reminds us that we grow by asking questions, refusing easy answers and, yes, by often stumbling towards the goal set before us.

    It is not only that Keith says many extremely profound things through his poetry (things that we all need to hear), it is also the immense beauty of his expression that gives this collection of poems the power to move and transform the reader. They are deeply personal and yet they address us all. They are about the struggle we all sometimes go through to truly believe. Yet they are poems of faith in which the radiance of God’s love is seen, sometimes as through a mirror dimly, sometimes in the bright sunlight.

    They will move you, maybe to tears, they will make you think, they will enlighten you and, above all, deepen your faith. They are a ‘must read’. Thank you Keith for sharing so much of your faith journey with us and thereby helping our own journey as we too, sometimes running and sometimes stumbling, grow in faith and life.

  • Robert Boyd

    Readability is what strikes me on reading this volume at a single sitting. Accessible and comprehensible readability grounded in deep learning infused with a strong poetic sensibility.

    Ravenscroft’s straightforward but subtle Christian theology is not remote from C.S. Lewis’s ‘Mere Christianity’. Like Lewis, Ravenscroft can be ‘surprised by joy’. He can also, and powerfully, compute a dark night of the soul. Up here, down there is searing, as is Outer darkness inner light. By contrast, The body and the blood is a worthy homage to George Herbert; Funeral of a Solipsist, a witty put-down of Bishop Berkeley’s subjective idealism. This poet says to God, of his conversion to faith: You are to me my second chance/my bond of love, my holy dance/be with me as I seek your face/and strain to stumble into grace. Sentiments which, for me, might also refer to human love; moving and true. Accessible and comprehensible does not exclude images and lines which stick in the mind, then resonate, as of human touching — without that touch, we shrivel till we cease/become unmanned, unwomaned and unmade. There are just over 50 poems in Stumblings, a welcome number. One a week might be read, and lingered over, with pleasure and with growth, over the course of a year. Oh, may we stay as now we pray/In peace that ends our aching/Cradled within God’s tender care/In sleeping and in waking! I am delighted to recommend this volume; compact yet profound.

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