With wit, humour and a good deal of self-deprecation in his memoir, Ascent, Crest, Perspective, Dr Ross James reflects on 40 years of living and working internationally and arrives at a surprising conclusion.

Ross is a storyteller who uses personal journals and correspondence to tell the story of what happened after he left a family funeral business and yielded to the leading of Providence.

Ross explains an Ascent, a 20-year period of preparation as a journalist, academic and researcher. The ascent of preparation levelled out on the Crest of purpose, a 20-year period of his life’s work, motivated by the teachings of Jesus whose life exemplified care for the marginalised and poor. He lived and worked in several Asian countries then relocated to Australia and led initiatives to develop community-centred media projects throughout Asia.

After detailing the Ascent and explaining the Crest, in Perspective Ross reflects on achievements concurrent with clinical depression and accompanied by despair and loss of joy. Some excerpts from his personal journals are painful reading; some revelations are vulnerable honesty. Yet, Ross accepts a proposition that depression might have been a ‘gift of a handicap’ which compelled him to depend on Providence to overcome his limitations. His startling conclusion is that he is, after all, a bamboo camel, designed with specifications to fulfil a providential purpose.

This book is neither a text on Christian mission or depression nor a devotional about a victorious Christian life. It is a memoir, a truly authentic reflection of someone’s dependence on Providence to maintain a steadfast life lived in response to circumstances that few are called upon to endure.

What they said

Highlights the significance of resilience and steadfastness in a challenging world where life and projects don’t always turn out the way we want. Lloyd Porter>>

It is an adventure of faith, told with the deft hand of a storyteller, and invites us to trace God’s hand. Peter Brain>>

It drips with perspective that comes from having climbed the mountain but reflected with honesty and humility on the path taken. Graham Mabury>>

This book is not a theological account of Providence, but it will show you what a life looks like as it unfolds, even if it means that you discover you have been designed as a bamboo camel! Michael Fischer>>

A journey full of surprising stories, funny moments, and poignant insights.
John (JD) Donoghue>>