Fully Alive

Tending to the Soul in Turbulent Times

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In a world experiencing turbulent change, we need people who are resilient, kind, open, generous, and brave. How do we become those people?

In Fully Alive, popular podcaster Elizabeth Oldfield uses the seven deadly sins as a framework to explore questions such as:

· How can I move from sloth to attention in order to make the most of my short life and stop getting distracted by trivialities?
· Is it possible to move from wrath to peacemaking? How do I become a depolarizing person in an age of outrage, tribalism, and division?
· What might it look like to move from gluttony to awe, finding transcendence in expansive, life-giving ways--not in a tub of ice cream or a bottle of wine?
· How can I move from pride to connection, overcoming the disconnection that keeps me from intimacy, community, and ultimately the divine?

Oldfield shows why, in a world heavy on judgment, she still finds the concept of sin liberating--and how, to her surprise, she keeps finding in her Christian faith ways to feel fully alive. Deeply serious yet amusingly relatable, this book helps us develop spiritual strength for when things fall apart.

1. The Human Propensity to F--- Things Up
2. Wrath . . . From Polarisation to Peace-making
3. Avarice . . . From Stuffocation to Gratitude and Generosity
4. Acedia . . . From Distraction to Attention
5. Envy . . . From Status Anxiety to Belovedness
6. Gluttony . . . From Numbing to Ecstasy
7. Lust . . . From Objectification to Sexual Humanism
8. Pride . . . From Individualism to Community
9. The G Bomb


"When I was writing Unapologetic more than a decade ago, I knew the job would soon need doing again. And again. Because the bridge between faith and contemporary experience constantly needs to be rebuilt as times change. So here it is, then: the bridge for the present moment, across which seekers for more meaning in their lives can travel in the knowledge that they won't be bullied, browbeaten, or talked down to. This book. This one. In your hand. Right now."

Francis Spufford, author of Unapologetic and Light Perpetual

"In this beautiful book, Elizabeth Oldfield gives voice and vigor to a paradox of our time--that even as Christianity is officially on the wane, it is a bearer of wisdom, intelligence, and rituals of lavish value to our world in all its pain and promise. This book is for modern humans who, like her, have gone 'off script' in finding religion more relevant, not less so, in this young century. It is a great gift to all in search of a deeper life, of 'spiritual core strength'--of a full, redemptive aliveness."

Krista Tippett, president, executive producer, and host of On Being

"Elizabeth Oldfield has a gift for writing about the things that matter most in a way that's honest, warmhearted, and down-to-earth. This remarkable book points not to some unreachable ideal of life but to a deeper, more soulful, and meaningful experience of the life we're actually living."

Oliver Burkeman, author of Four Thousand Weeks

"A rich and soul-searching exploration of what it means to believe in a shifting age. This is a rare thing--an open, human, and vulnerable profession of faith. I learned a lot."

Katherine May, New York Times bestselling author of Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

"To believe today is always to believe in spite of. Elizabeth Oldfield bears witness to a faith that faces the monsters and yet can't shake the profound sense of being loved by a God beyond the gods of our tiny religious idolatries. Oldfield's honest, hopeful, humane wisdom is the fruit of something spectacularly rare these days: listening. A welcome voice in our secular age."

James K. A. Smith, author of How (Not) to Be Secular, You Are What You Love, and How to Inhabit Time

"This book is fantastic! An emotionally intelligible and deeply engaging inventory of the treasures hidden in that beaten-up old box labeled 'Christianity.' Oldfield not only knows how to turn a phrase; she writes with rare, almost uncanny sensitivity to how modern ears hear, fully aware of how much baggage her readers may carry with the subject matter. In her hands the old becomes new, and the new regains its sparkle. Fully Alive belongs in the top tier of that ever-shrinking genre of religious-friendly books you can confidently give to, well, anyone."

David Zahl, director of Mockingbird; author of Low Anthropology

"I will be buying this book for everyone I know who is interested in what makes for a good life and what gives meaning to our human experience. In dark times, this book is an invitation to have another look at a way of seeing the world, a way that has brought light and hope to many."

Gwen Adshead, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Devil You Know

"Luminous in a manner that a medieval anchorite might have appreciated, while simultaneously wise in the ways of coping with a pram on a crowded bus."

Tom Holland, award-winning historian, author, and broadcaster

"This is the book I didn't know I needed. Elizabeth Oldfield is the Sherpa who might persuade me not to give up climbing the mountain. I know few people as committed to living deeply as Elizabeth, but in spite of that she's neither pompous nor pious (phew). This is deep stuff, personal yet learned, funny and vulnerable. If you loved Francis Spufford's Unapologetic, you will love this."

Sally Phillips, actress and comedian

"Reading Fully Alive is like sitting down for coffee with a well-read and passionate friend. Elizabeth is courageous, insightful, generous, and gentle. Her book is a rare find: it never rejects complexity in its search for clarity and never allows authority to crowd out compassion and curiosity--I felt very nourished by the work--there is wisdom here."

Jenn Ashworth, author of Ghosted: A Love Story

"In turbulent times, what is there for us to hold onto? In Fully Alive, Elizabeth Oldfield suggests gratitude, humility, connection, and community. Her writing is honest, touching, often funny, and always thought-provoking. I loved it."

Charlie Gilmour, author and activist

"Plainspoken, fearless, disarmingly tender. Oldfield is a leader by example, and her book is a glowing argument for faith--one that speaks urgently to our fractured world."

Rhik Samadder, journalist, writer, broadcaster, and actor

The Author

  1. Elizabeth Oldfield
    Ami Robertson

    Elizabeth Oldfield

    Elizabeth Oldfield hosts The Sacred, a podcast about our deepest values, the stories that shape us, and how we can build empathy and understanding between people who are very different. She is the former director and now senior fellow of the think tank...

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