Gordon Wakefield, the editor of this volume’s 1983 predecessor, began his introduction with the observation that the word spirituality is “very much in vogue among Christians of our time.” What a difference a quarter century makes: the interest in spirituality has extended even farther, and in every imaginable direction.
It would not have been possible to adequately address such tremendous and, in many ways, intriguing growth with a cautious, incremental revision of a standard guide such as the Westminster (or, in the UK, SCM) dictionary, so it is heartening to see that editor Philip Sheldrake, of the University of Durham, has taken a bold approach. This new version is about 300 pages longer, includes more than 200 new entries, and brings even more contributors into the project—upward of 180.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).