While training for the priesthood, a stint with a hospital chaplaincy team brought Mark face to face with a depth of suffering that blew his young, confident faith apart. Years later he was still picking up the pieces, but they began to show an entirely different picture of where and how God could be found. The Collage of God is for all who find it difficult to reconcile the realities of life with easy and comfortable notions about faith. In imaginative and beautiful language, and illuminated by many quotes from modern writers and poets, Mark Oakley reconstructs faith as a collage of traditions and texts, the myriad experiences of living, imagination, silence and prayer by which we respond to the grace of God revealed in fragile lives. A contemporary spiritual classic.
'To have composed this wealth of material into such a concise and coherent book is a considerable achievement. I've read it twice - from now on I shall dip into it, knowing that on almost every page there is something I want to be reminded of.' -- Wendy Cope 'Rich and diverse in illustrations...it underpins [a] refreshingly innovative approach for finding God. I was asked to review this book after an accident which I found hard to bear. Its gentle humour, wide sympathies and compassion cheered me greatly. I recommend this book unreservedly.' Towards Wholeness 'This is literally a collage of a human being's experience of God in moments of delight and near despair. Laughter and tears, delight and duty, are all touched upon ...I read it on a commuter train and it transformed my journey from one of purgatory to one of pilgrimage.' Retreats magazine 'It is a rare to find a book about the spiritual that radiates laughter but when one does, it is wonderfully refreshing... It is a book that invites us to compose our won collage, for it is by sharing our experiences of faith with one another, listening to each other's stories, that we journey as a company of the faithful. l have already bought several copies to give to friends. It is that good!' -- James Roose-Evans The Tablet 'In an honest and imaginative way, the author speaks about how faith is more like a collage of pieces, rather than an ordered tidy system or whole ... This book will be of interest to anyone who is trying to piece together or make sense of where God is hidden in their lives.' 'A lively, interesting, beautiful almost poetic book. It is well written from careful observation, attention having been given to that traditional mix of experience, tradition and scripture ... One might hope that the rest of the church will be infected by its honesty and joyful seriousness.' -- Nicholas Holtam, Vicar, Saint Martin-in-the-Fields 'It is alternately engaging and startling ... a book for someone who is trying to find a way of seeing the faith without being distracted by too much of the faith's cultural baggage. [Mark Oakley] provides the literate and literary of way of challenge, not by confrontation, but by revealing what has helped and puzzled him. It is a very readable and very givable book.' -- Kevin Scully 'The collage is exciting and vibrant, with humour and lightness of touch and also with real depth of colour.' -- Philip Wootton 2001 'Every now and again a book comes along that captures the intellect and imagination. Mark Oakley's "The Collage of God" is such a book. Highly personal, and highly readable, Oakley draws on an impressively wide range of poetry, prose, cinema and theatre ... This book travels along a helpful way and gently nudges its readers to their own conclusions.' -- Derek Browning 2001