November 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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To “prepare for Christmas” in our society is to be sucked into a vortex of indulgence, from decor to gifts to calorie-rich foods.
Layer upon layer of tinsel, lights, and wrapping paper create the illusion of abundance, disguising the feeling of emptiness in our souls. The arrival of the Messiah, by contrast, is true abundance disguised by the impression of scarcity. Training our eyes to see through the rough stable, the adolescent mother, and the anxious escape to Egypt, we can see in that poverty and powerlessness the wonder of God’s abundant life and grace coming down to dwell among us.
This powerful devotional by best-selling author Walter Brueggemann includes daily reflections on the Scriptures and stories of Advent in order to invite us to see beyond the world’s faux extravagance and realise the true feast laid out before us. Twelve prayers are also included for the twelve days of Christmas.
New Zealanders, while generally peaceable and tolerant people, have seldom shied away from war.
Even in the current era, Anzac Day is a major event here, and the haka performed by our national rugby team is one of our most recognisable cultural exports. But throughout New Zealand’s history there have also been frequent efforts to oppose war and promote peace, and these have often drawn upon traditions within the Christian faith.
New Zealand Christians were not uniformly or impeccably peaceable; pacifists were usually either a minority in the more established churches, or members of smaller denominations that were firmly anti-war, such as the Quakers. It took strong convictions and a good deal of bravery to question war in the face of majority opinion. Those ‘saints’ who pushed for peace were invariably stirrers.
This book focuses on Christian peacemaking and opposition to war in the period from the 19th century until the end of the Second World War. It provides critical insights into New Zealand Christianity, as well as peace activism, politics, and New Zealand society more generally.
Also by Geoffrey Troughton:
The secular character of New Zealand has become an accepted ‘fact’ of our time. Nevertheless, Christian organisations and discourses have played an important role in framing New Zealand’s life and identity.
In many ways, they continue to do so. Despite recent declines in church attendance, the persistence of religious tolerance, spiritual belief and celebration of Christian festivals and ideals suggests that Christianity plays a more enduring and significant role in New Zealand life than the country’s secular reputation would indicate.
The book examines some often neglected aspects of New Zealand’s history – from missionaries and Christian Māori to charismatic preachers and puritan novelists, from sectarian conflict and competition to increased co-operation and unity. Together these highlight the interweaving of Christianity with culture, and the interplay of sacred and secular throughout New Zealand’s history.
Nouwen devoted much of his later ministry to emphasising the singular concept of our identity as the Beloved of God. In an interview, he said that he believed the central moment in Jesus’ public ministry to be his baptism in the Jordan, when Jesus heard the affirmation, “You are my beloved son on whom my favour rests.”
“That is the core experience of Jesus,” Nouwen writes. “He is reminded in a deep, deep way of who he is … I think his whole life is continually claiming that identity in the midst of everything.”
This is a daily devotional intended to empower readers to claim this truth in their own lives. Featuring the best of Nouwen’s writing from previously published works, this devotional will propel the canon forward as it draws on this rich literature in new and compelling ways. It will appeal to readers already familiar with Nouwen’s work as well as new readers looking for a devotional to guide them into a deeper awareness of their identity in Jesus.
Controversial during his lifetime and ever since, the apostle Paul is not an easy historical figure to understand or like.
Many have accused him of being homophobic and misogynistic, anti-Semitic, dogmatic, narrow-minded, prejudiced, and downright obtuse.
Yet longtime Paul scholar William O. Walker believes some of the animosity toward Paul stems from the fact that, if people are reading Paul’s letters at all, they are not reading them carefully enough, they are interpreting them on the basis of certain preconceived notions about Paul, they are not taking into account the cultural context in which the letters were written, or they are unaware of the some of the conclusions of modern scholarship regarding the letters.
In this book, Walker:
- Explains what can be known about Paul based on historical evidence, distinguishing among authentic, pseudonymous, and contested letters
- Corrects common misconceptions about Paul in popular culture
- Situates Paul’s letters alongside other New Testament and Greco-Roman texts
“Walker has brilliantly succeeded in packaging ten of the more puzzling features or surprising issues that lead the reader to the heart of what we know (or thought we knew), about Pauline thought and the Pauline letters. An uncompromising critical scholar, Walker has designed [this book] for a relatively popular readership, though anyone interested in Paul will profit by the author’s carefully crafted and well-written exploration of these surprising issues that deal with Paul’s letters and thought. An ideal guide for adult discussion groups.” David E. Aune, University of Notre Dame Emeritus
Discover the real history of the Exodus and why it matters.
Biblical scholars, Egyptologists, archaeologists, historians, literary scholars, anthropologists, and filmmakers are drawn to it. Unable to find physical evidence until now, many archaeologists and scholars claim this mass migration is just a story, not history. Others oppose this conclusion, defending the biblical account.
Like a detective on an intricate case no one has yet solved, pioneering Bible Friedman cuts through the noise — the serious studies and the wild theories — merging new findings with new insight. From a range of disciplines, state-of-the-art archeological breakthroughs, and fresh discoveries within scripture, he brings real evidence of a historical basis for the exodus — the history behind the story. The biblical account of millions fleeing Egypt may be an exaggeration, but the exodus itself is not a myth.
Friedman does not stop there. Known for his ability to make Bible scholarship accessible to readers, Friedman proceeds to reveal how much is at stake when we explore the historicity of the exodus. The implications, he writes, are monumental. We learn that it became the starting-point of the formation of monotheism, the defining concept of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Moreover, we learn that it precipitated the foundational ethic of loving one’s neighbours — including strangers — as oneself. He concludes, the actual exodus was the cradle of global values of compassion and equal rights today.
This major new book on Christian mission aims to contribute toward an understanding of how the dynamic message of Christ might be liberated to be heard as genuinely good news today, in the process potentially transforming Christianity, provided there is willingness to face opposition from a world resistant to the exposure of its injustices.
Smith seeks to overcome the gap between the academy and the congregation, by suggesting ways in which cutting-edge biblical scholarship can be a positive and liberating force for Christianity in the 21st century.
The book is prefaced by Tom Wright’s claim that Christians have for too long, ‘read scripture with 19th century eyes and 16th century questions,’ and that it is urgently necessary they learn to read `with first century eyes and twenty first century questions.’
The central section of the book concentrates on reading the narratives of the Galilean ministry of Jesus within their first century context, then exploring Paul’s mission in the setting of the urban and imperial world of Rome, before offering reflection on the Apocalypse in the changed world following the destruction of Jerusalem. Smith then concludes his treatise facing the ‘21st century questions,’ seeking to build a hermeneutical bridge to our globalised world.
No one likes to eat alone; to approach a table filled with people, only to be told that despite the open chairs there isn’t room for you. The rejection stings. It leaves a mark. Yet this is exactly what the church has been saying to far too many people for far too long: “You’re not welcome here. Find someplace else to sit.”
How can we extend unconditional welcome and acceptance in a world increasingly marked by bigotry, fear, and exclusion?
Pastor Pavlovitz invites readers to join him on the journey to find, or build, a church that is big enough for everyone. He speaks clearly into the heart of the issues the Christian community has been earnestly wrestling with: LGBT inclusion, gender equality, racial tensions, and global concerns. He asks if organised Christianity can find a new way of faithfully continuing the work Jesus began 2,000 years ago, where everyone gets a seat. Pavlovitz shares moving personal stories and his careful observations as a pastor to set the table for a new, more loving conversation on these and other important matters of faith. He invites us to build the bigger table Jesus imagined, practicing radical hospitality, total authenticity, messy diversity, and agenda-free community.
Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong To: Spirituality Without Stereotypes, Religion Without Ranting. Lillian Daniel Pbk 208pp. ISBN 9781455595884. Faithwords (2017). $31.00. [Allow 2-3 weeks]
When Lillian Daniel apologised to a total stranger for every bad thing that had ever been said or done in the name of Christianity, he was surprised that she was responsible for all that.
“The Inquisition? Don’t even raise it, I’m way ahead of you. I was mad about it before you even heard of it, that’s how open-minded I am. Salem witch trials? I know! So embarrassing. Can I hang out with you anyway? You’re too kind.” “Religion is responsible for all the wars in history,” they would say, and I’d respond, “You’re so right. Don’t forget imperialism, capitalism, and racism. Religion invented those problems too. You can tell that because religious people can be found at all their meetings.”
In this book, Daniel argues that it’s time for Christians to stop apologising and realise that how we talk about Christian community matters. With disarming candour laced with just the right amount of humour, Daniel shows why it matters how we talk about Christian community while urging open-minded Christians to learn better ways to talk about their faith.
Also by Lilian Daniels: When “Spiritual But Not Religious” Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church. Lillian Daniel. Pbk, 224pp. ISBN 9781455523092. Jericho Books (2014). $33.00 [Allow 2-3 weeks]
Minister and celebrated author Lillian Daniel gives a new spin on church with stories of what a life of faith can really be: weird, wondrous, and well worth trying.
From a rock-and-roller sexton to a BB gun-toting grandma, a church service attended by animals to a group of unlikely theologians at Sing Sing, Daniel shows us a portrait of church that is flawed, fallible–and deeply faithful. With poignant reflections and sly wit, Daniel invites all of us to step out of ourselves, dare to become a community, and encounter a God greater than we could ever invent.
Riotous, ripping yarns from a polymath who can’t add or subtract but who has won awards for cartooning, print journalism, documentary film-making and writing dramas.
Drawn Out is a hilarious, heartbreaking, heart-warming account of Tom Scott’s tragicomic childhood, his manic student-newspaper days, his turbulent years stumbling through the corridors of power, his fallings out with prime ministers, his collaborations with comic legends John Clarke, A.K. Grant and Murray Ball, his travels to the ends of the earth with his close friend Ed Hillary, and more…
Click here to listen to Tom Scott being interviewed by Kim Hill on Radio NZ
For the first time in over 30 years, John le Carré returns to the Cold War in this thrilling masterpiece.
Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, has retired to his family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London are to be scrutinised by a generation with no memory of the Cold War. Somebody must be made to pay for innocent blood once spilt in the name of the greater good.
Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own story, John le Carré has given us a novel of superb and enduring quality.
Another rollicking picture book featuring the mighty Scarface Claw in the much-loved Hairy Maclary and Friends series.
It is a peaceful morning and Scarface Claw is happily snoozing in a spot in the sun, tail curled around and feet tucked in.
there was a shudder and sway,
the whirr of an engine,
then off and away.
And then off goes the truck down the drive – with Scarface ON TOP! Clinging on to the roof of the truck, Scarface zips along streets with his owner, Tom, oblivious to his rooftop passenger and everyone trying to get his attention as he drives along … who will come to poor Scarface Claw’s rescue?
Inspired by true stories of cat owners driving off without realising their cats are on the roofs of their cars, Scarface Claw’s latest adventure will have readers getting just as involved in the story as the bystanders trying to get Tom’s attention!
Discover the story of New Zealand through this richly illustrated visual history by award-winning illustrator Gavin Bishop.
Over a thousand years ago, the wind, sea currents and stars brought people to the islands that became known as Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud.
Navigate your way through this sumptuously illustrated story of New Zealand. Explore the defining moments of our history, captured by celebrated children’s book creator Gavin Bishop, from the Big Bang right through to what might happen tomorrow. Discover Maori legends, layers of meaning and lesser-known facts.
A truly special book, Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story deserves a space on every bookshelf, to be taken off and pored over, thumbed and treasured, time and again.
2018 Year B Annuals
Click here for your selection of Worship, Preaching and Devotional resources for Year B – 2018 Includes Fresh from the Word 2018 & Upper Room Disciplines 2018.
Specials on Trade Me
We have over 150 titles loaded on Trade Me, many of which are now reduced to $5.00 or less (but only while stock lasts). These are all in stock now. 50 are listed as auctions at any one time. They are all Buy Now only, so order straight away to secure your books. The listings last 5 days, so come back every few days to see a fresh list. Click here for our current listings on TradeMe.
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