Gospel of Falling Down

Gospel of Falling Down

The beauty of failure, in an age of success


Failure, rather than success, is at the heart of the life of Jesus and his message. He came to liberate us from the "gospel of success". It is not in "climbing the ladder of perfection" that we meet God, but in falling from it. And it is then that we discover the most beautiful spiritual gold.


Mark’s book is humble, searching, faith- filled, and yet risky and creative at the same time. He is vulnerable throughout, much of it showing the depth and fruitfulness of having suffered along the way. ~ Father Richard Rohr, Franciscan priest and Dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation

A heart-warming corrective, offering a perfect antidote to the urging for wholeness we so often hear from the New Spiritualities Movements. This book encourages us to value brokenness as much as accomplishment. ~ Philip Carr-Gomm, Chief of the Order of the Bards, Ovates & Druids

It's amazing just how far I was drawn into Mark's words. This wasn't just a book but an experience. I never realized that failure could be a creative process. ~ Editor, Voila Magazine

In his preface, Mark Townsend sets out two aims for his book - that the reader may come to know their own true value as a human being made in the image of God, feel liberated and be able to relax into life; and, secondly, that the reader may discover a renewed sense of magic and child-like wonder. He succeeds wonderfully with both of these goals, by drawing upon his expertise as a stage magician to show again and again how shakey is our perception of the world. Our certainties as to what we think we know, as to the "solidity" of the world around us, are underminded with alarming ease. This is a most unusual book. It is a book that can change lives. ~ Simon Small, Author of From the Bottom of the Pond

In considering how failure can reveal unexpected treasure, Mark Townsend uses his experience as a member of the Magic Circle, as an Anglican priest, and as a vulnerable human being, to show how we often interpret life events wrongly. He aims to show how falling short of the high standards we set ourselves as Christians can illuminate the real treasure of God’s transforming grace, if only we let it. Trying too hard to be the perfect Christian will mean working against God’s transforming love, missing the point of the Gospel, and making it harder to see Christ within. His slim volume is written in a down-to-earth style, liberally sprinkled with quotations, biblical and secular; several chapters have exercises at the end. Pages are interestingly laid out, with illustra-tions and different founts, even gaps — all to help readers appreciate his refreshing ideas in the spirit of self-discovery that is vital to learning and growth. He does this by using his own struggles and failures to show how readily we misinterpret things. Worldly expectations of success make us feel like failures when we do not reach our goals. He reminds us that, in worldly terms, Jesus’s victory looked like failure. What matters is our individual unique-ness. Failure may be needed to push us into understanding the truth and power of transforming grace. ~ Jenny Francis, Church Times

From personal experiences Mark Townsend openly thinks through failure and its impact on our relationship with God. A brilliant book and may I recommend it. ~ Barbara Mark, Christian Ecology Network

If your ministry is a scorching success, church packed and money rolling in, don’t go near this book. In a culture high on success, this book boldly explores falling and failure. Mark is an Anglican priest, a member of the Magic Circle and like many of us knows about ministry and mess. Exploring failure through Biblical themes and stories, he discovers how to quiet the siren voices of guilt and perfectionism deafening so many engaged in ministry. He notes that the failures, the sinners were so much nearer to the kingdom than those judged to be the religious high fliers of Jesus’ day. What’s new? Looking back over something of a ministry wasteland, I wish he’d written this book 40 years ago. Use your eyes and you’ll see that there is something truly magical about his theme. Failure is gospel not bad news. Success may be of the devil. High: A timely counter cultural book, well worth reading, particularly for ministers and those who care for them. Low: Try as I might, I’ll never make a magician. 4 stars ~ Christianity Magazine

Mark Townsend
Mark Townsend Mark Townsend is a combination of priest, magician and writer. He uses seemingly opposing forces as equal gifts in our search for the meanin...
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