Library News – March

I have just put into the Library four books by Jonathan Aitken.  Two are memoirs which have gone on to the “People and their Lives” shelf, and two have gone into “Prayer and Meditation”.   

In the two memoirs “Pride and Perjury” and “Porridge and Passion” Aitken tells a remarkable story.   Born into wealth and privilege, he took for granted his superiority.   Eton and Oxford, journalism, politics, he took, for his class, a well-trodden path to money and power.   He says of himself, looking back, that he was arrogant and greedy, but that was the expected thing too.

He rose to cabinet rank in John Major’s government.  Then disaster struck.   He was accused by the Press of Ministerial misconduct, of accepting favours from Middle Eastern clients.  A stay in the Ritz in Paris was involved.  To protect his reputation he lied, was found out, was tried and convicted of perjury, and sent to prison.   It was a huge scandal in the late 1990s.   His career, his social standing were in ruins, and in defending himself he went bankrupt.  

It was the making of him.   As his troubles thickened, God began to call him.   Almost against his will he was taken to an Alpha course, which made a huge impact on him.  He began to pray regularly in a supporting prayer group.   He used his time in prison to grow in prayer and meditation, and saw how the opportunities for service opened up wherever he looked.   The values by which he had run his life were turned upside down and made new.   He was transformed.

The other two books “Psalms for People Under Pressure” and “Prayers for People Under Pressure” grew out of Aitken’s own experience of prayer.   He chooses a selection of each that have had particular richness for him and explains why.   I think you might find them very rewarding.

Rosemary Smith

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