Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt, by Richard Holloway
Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt
At a time when the world is gripped by the drama of a new pope, this memoir by a man who travelled from the slums of a small town north of Glasgow to hold one of the highest offices in the Anglican church is a riveting read. Holloway is a skilled writer of theology, the author of 27 books that chronicle his own spiritual journey, from the certainty of Let God Arise (1972) to the radical openness of Doubts and Loves (2001). Even so, it’s startling to find him sitting in a church in this book reflecting that little, if anything, remains to him of religion. Holloway joined a “high” Anglo-Catholic seminary at 14 – his musings on the sartorial, never mind liturgical, niceties of this are hilarious – but his work with Scotland’s urban poor, allied to his own rebellious streak, led him far from the intolerance and tribalism of all institutional belief systems. There’s something to cheer on almost every page here, not least his enviable honesty about his personal shortcomings.