March 2017 Featured Books
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Each month we choose a selection of titles that we think you will find stimulating and satisfying to read. So come back to the Monthly Selections section of our website regularly.
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[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 16 December 2017]
Published two years after his death, Days of Awe and Wonder showcases some of Borg’s most enduring and insightful writings, including many previously unpublished works. This provocative and uplifting anthology illuminates Borg’s explorations of the miraculous and wonderful, his understanding of conviction and fulfilment, and his contention that we must keep an open mind and question assumptions and certainties in all our religious journeys.
A leading scholar of the historical Jesus, he taught us that by developing a deeper understanding of Jesus and the New Testament, we can discover a more authentic way of being.
“In these pages, Borg’s deepest wisdom shines through—framed in the best of biblical scholarship, Jesus shines forth as a ‘spirit person’ who invites all people into lives of awe and wonder for the sake of the world. Read and meet Jesus again and fall into God’s all-encompassing love.” Diana Butler Bass, author of Grounded.
Also by Marcus Borg:
On the occasion of his 70th birthday, Borg shared how he formed his bedrock religious beliefs, contending that Christians in America are at their best when they focus on hope and transformation and so shows how we can return to what really matters most. The result is a manifesto for all progressive Christians who seek the best path for following Jesus today.
Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power and How They Can Be Restored. Pbk 248pp. ISBN 9780061976582. HarperOne (2013). $32.00. [Allow 3 weeks]
Borg argues that the very language Christians use has become dangerously distilled, distorted, and disconnected from the beliefs which once underpinned it. He calls for a radical change to the language we use to invoke our beliefs—the only remedy that will allow the Church’s words to once again ring with truth, power, and hope.
The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith. Pbk 234pp. ISBN 9780060730680. HarperOne (2004). $32.00. [Allow 2-3 weeks]
An engaging and inspiring guide to Christian living, this shows that the essential ingredients of a Christian life – faith, being born again, the kingdom of God, the gospel of love – make vital sense today.
Borg addresses the yearnings of those who want a fully contemporary faith that welcomes rather than oppresses our critical intelligence and openness to the best of historical scholarship. Borg shows how a rigorous examination of historical findings can lead to a new faith in Christ, one that is critical and, at the same time, sustaining.
The Irresistible Revolution: Living As an Ordinary Radical (Updated and expanded 10th anniversary edition). Shane Claiborne. Pbk 390pp. ISBN 9780310343707. Zondervan (2016). $34.00. [Allow 2-3 weeks].
In this updated edition, Claiborne uses unconventional examples from his own life to stir up questions about the church and the world, while challenging readers to truly live out their Christian faith. With new material throughout the book and a full new chapter, he brings readers up to date on the “revolution” – adding new stories, sharing what his community looks like now, and bringing fresh inspiration to live out this message in practical ways.
Claiborne describes an authentic faith rooted in belief, action, and love, inviting us into a movement of the Spirit that begins inside each of us and extends into a broken world.
“The irresistible revolution isn’t just about going to heaven when you die but bringing heaven down as you live. The love we’re talking about is big enough to set both the oppressed and the oppressors free. It’s about healing our broken hearts, healing our broken streets, and healing our broken world. The revolution we are talking about begins inside each of us and extends to the ends of the earth.” Shane Claiborne
Our seduction into beliefs in competition, scarcity, and acquisition are producing too many casualties. We need to depart a kingdom that creates isolation, polarized debate, an exhausted planet, and violence that comes with the will to empire. The abbreviation of this empire is called a consumer culture.
We need a new narrative, a shift in our thinking and speaking. An Other Kingdom takes us out of a culture of addictive consumption into a place where life is ours to create together. This satisfying way depends upon a neighbourly covenant – an agreement that we together, will better raise our children, be healthy, be connected, be safe, and provide a livelihood. The neighbourly covenant has a different language than market-hype. It speaks instead in a sacred tongue.
Authors Peter Block, Walter Brueggemann, and John McKnight invite you on a journey of departure from our consumer market culture, with its constellations of empire and control. Discover an alternative set of beliefs that have the capacity to evoke a culture where poverty, violence, and shrinking well-being are not inevitable – a culture in which the social order produces enough for all.
A powerful new Christian take on mindfulness.
The beauty of mindfulness is that it’s incredibly simple both to get and to practice. And the are priceless: calmness and reduced stress, more creativity, greater awareness, compassion. And yet there’s a danger that mindfulness can be used in a purely consumerist and self-serving way to help people to become better adapted cogs in a still-toxic model of work and life.
Brian Draper challenges us to live not just mindfully but soulfully. Not merely to be less stressed, but to flourish, dynamically and creatively – to be present – through living intentionally and compassionately.
A pope of the people, Pope Francis is cherished around the world and continues to be well loved by the faithful and non-religious alike. During his short papacy so far, his commitment to compassion and humility have already cemented his position as one of the most popular popes of all time and his words are a comfort and inspiration to millions. Pope Francis’ Little Book of Compassion offers quotes of faith and hope from this incredible man, concentrating on the teachings of his Holy Year of Mercy, including prayer, charity, forgiveness, and solidarity.
Arranged thematically, in a handy, portable format, it covers:
- Compassion through Mercy
- Compassion through Prayer
- Compassion through Forgiveness
- Compassion through Solidarity
- Compassion through Charity and Service
- Compassion through Hospitality
- Compassion through Jesus
Butler Bass argues that what appears to be a decline in religious observance, actually signals a major transformation in how people understand and experience God. The distant God of conventional religion has given way to a more intimate sense of the sacred that is with us in the world. This shift, from a vertical understanding of God to a God found on the horizons of nature and human community, is at the heart of a spiritual revolution that surrounds us – and that is challenging not only religious institutions but political and social ones as well.
Grounded explores this cultural turn as Bass unpacks how people are finding new spiritual ground by discovering and embracing God everywhere in the world around us—in the soil, the water, the sky, in our homes and neighbourhoods, and in the global commons. Faith is no longer a matter of mountaintop experience or institutional practice; instead, people are connecting with God through the environment in which we live. Grounded guides readers through our contemporary spiritual habitat as it points out and pays attention to the ways in which people experience a God who animates creation and community.
Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior. NOW IN PAPERBACK. Bart D Ehrman. Pbk 326pp. ISBN 9780062285225. Harperone (2017). $34.00. [Allow 2-3 weeks].
One of the most renowned and controversial Bible scholars in the world today examines oral tradition and its role in shaping the stories about Jesus we encounter in the New Testament – and ultimately in our understanding of Christianity.
Throughout much of human history, our most important stories were passed down orally – including the stories about Jesus before they were written down in the Gospels. In this fascinating and deeply researched work, Erhman investigates the role oral history has played in the New Testament – how the telling of these stories not only spread Jesus’ message but helped shape it.
A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman draws on a range of disciplines, including psychology and anthropology, to examine the role of memory in the creation of the Gospels. Explaining how oral tradition evolves based on the latest scientific research, he demonstrates how the act of telling and retelling impacts the story, the storyteller, and the listener—crucial insights that challenge our typical historical understanding of the silent period between when Jesus lived and died and when his stories began to be written down.
Meticulous scholarship in a compelling and eye-opening narrative that will change the way we read and think about these sacred texts.
Ehrman reveals how Jesus’s divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church. The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. This book tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first.
“In this book’s opening pages the author states clearly her intent in writing this resource, which is nothing less than naming what she calls the elephant in the room no one wants to name, and especially no one within religious institutions…
The subtitle of the book – Faith Seeks Understanding – captures accurately what this book sets out to accomplish and I believe achieves in a most succinct, readable, and informative manner. As such, this book will be a valuable resource for all manner of people both inside and outside of religious institutions.
The author conveys well the complex issues that frame instances of sexual abuse. She helpfully identifies some of the key warning indicators along with some of the key psychological frames of reference that we need to understand to grasp the full extent of adult sexual abuse and particularly how and why it occurs within the context of religious institutions…
I commend this book as a valuable pastoral resource. It is vital for all involved in any pastoral ministry.” Mary Caygill in Methodist newspaper Touchstone, March 2017
Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting With a Loving God After Experiencing a Hurtful Church. NOW IN PAPERBACK Carol Howard Merritt. Pbk 256pp. ISBN 9780062392305. Harperone (2017). $31.00. [Publishing 9 January 2018].
An effective plan to help those suffering from wounds inflicted by the church find spiritual healing and a renewed sense of faith.
Raised as a conservative Christian, minister and author Carol Howard Merritt discovered that the traditional institutions she grew up in inflicted great pain and suffering on others. Though she loved the spirituality the church provided, she knew that, because of sexism, homophobia and manipulative religious politics, established religious institutions weren’t always holy or safe. Instead of offering refuge, these institutions have betrayed peoples hearts and souls. People have suffered religious abuse, she writes, which can be different from physical injury or psychological trauma.
Merritt provides a way to restore personal faith and connection to God for those who have been hurt or betrayed by established institutions of faith. Merritt lays out a multistage plan for moving from pain to spiritual rebirth, from recovering theological and emotional shards to recovering communal wholeness.
For billions of people, having a religious belief system provides purpose in life. For some, religion serves as a guide for moral behaviour. Today’s world is one in which our understanding of world religions is both important, and increasingly complex.
After many years exploring the foundations of various world religions, Boyett has written this comprehensive, easy-to-understand exploration of the twelve major world religions through a meticulous, yet unbiased lens. He offers an impartial look at where each of these belief systems intersects, how they differ, and why some have been, or are currently, misunderstood.
Today’s most visionary thinkers reveal the cutting-edge scientific ideas and breakthroughs you must understand.
Scientific developments radically change and enlighten our understanding of the world, whether it’s advances in technology and medical research or the latest revelations of neuroscience, psychology, physics, economics, anthropology, climatology, or genetics.
And yet amid the flood of information today, it’s often difficult to recognize the truly revolutionary new ideas that will have lasting impact. In the spirit of identifying the most significant new theories and discoveries, John Brockman asked 198 of the finest minds: What do you consider the most interesting recent scientific news and what makes it important ?
Set amid the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program. The film Hidden Figures is currently showing in NZ cinemas.
Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as ‘Human Computers’, calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts, these ‘coloured computers’ used pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of humankind’s greatest adventure with the intimate stories of five courageous women whose work forever changed the world.
Awakening Compassion at Work: The Quiet Power That Elevates People and Organizations. Monica Worline and Jane Dutton. Pbk 256pp. ISBN 9781626564459. Berrett-Koehler Pub (2017). $46.00. [Allow 2-3 weeks].
We are living in an epidemic of disengagement and despair that calls us to action. Awakening Compassion at Work answers the call, showing us new ways to enliven the humanity of work and in so doing addresses the suffering of the world and creates an innovative, optimistic, and engaged workforce.
Scholars and consultants, Monica Worline and Jane Dutton, approach compassion in organisations through the lens of new research that helps us see what compassion is, how we can create it in our everyday work, and the benefits it offers to both individuals and organisations. They reveal why compassion is integral to recruiting and retaining talented people, essential to delivering high quality service and rapid innovation, and inextricably linked to engagement, collaboration, and adaptability. They include a tool for assessing your organisation’s “compassion potential.”
This book invites change agents, employees, managers, and leaders to tap into the power of compassion for strategic change, and to build skill in creating compassion and invigorating the humanity of our basic institutions.
The book that started the Quiet Revolution.
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favour working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.
In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the 20th century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions.
Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.