Samuel Wells’ passion certainly shows in his book Power and Passion. It is obviously important for him that Christians realize their own power in Christ, and that they realize the fact that passion is not a negative thing. Passion for God is good. To illustrate his point, Wells uses six characters from the time in Jesus’ life called “the Passion.”
Each character is discussed in detail, beginning with his or her historical setting. Wells makes sure readers understand their historical context, though, of course, he cannot take time to study the entire social system of the era in-depth. Passages of Scripture that are pertinent to the character form a large part of each chapter. How did this person view passion? What did he or she think about power and about how power should be attained? Gradually, the reader sees that a person’s views about power and passion vastly affect their actions and attitudes. The stories we have heard often do the same thing; because of Peter’s betrayal of Jesus, we know that even the sin of denying can be forgiven.
Another important feature of Power and Passion is the discussion opportunity at the end. The “wonderings” are not pushy, but if considered honestly can lead to a better self-understanding in the reader. The prayers are sincere. This discussion space makes the book suitable for small group studies, as well as meaningful personal reflection. Lent is one good time to do this, though certainly it is not limited to that time.
Samuel Wells’ fourteen years ministering in the Church of England equipped him well to write for Christian audiences. His writing is punctuated throughout by passages from Scripture. Those wishing to make their passions useful to God will find Wells’ words extremely helpful. – Linette Yoder, Christian Book Previews.com
Samuel Wells vividly paints the stories surrounding Jesus’ cross and resurrection. We see the weakness of Pontius Pilate and Barabbas, and the compromised character of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. We discover the subtle power of Pilate’s wife. And in Peter and Mary Magdalene we find the true power of resurrection, bringing forgiveness and ending the stranglehold of death, thus transforming all human passion. Through close readings of the gospel texts, Wells demonstrates the significance of these characters for faith and life today.
In this book, structured with one chapter for each week of Lent, Wells guides us from the deathly power that put Jesus on the cross to the new power brought by Jesus’ resurrection. The book offers opportunities at the end of each chapter for prayer and discussion. The Archbishop of Canterbury has selected Power and Passion as his Lent book for 2007.