The Courage to Act seminar – St Andrews on the Terrace
Hal Taussig and his wife Susan Cole, and Wellington’s Lloyd Geering and Scottie Reeve are among those speaking at The Courage to Act seminar at St Andrews on the Terrace, Wellington on Friday 3 November and Saturday 4 November 2017.
We will be running a bookstall on the Friday night and all day Saturday offering books by these authors and others.
Visit the St Andrews Trust’s website for more information about the seminar and to register: http://satrs.org.nz/events/
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Twenty-One Elephants: Leaving Religion for The Reckless Ways of Jesus.
The Heart of Christianity:
A New Spiritual Home:
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[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 25 October 2017]
It is time for a new New Testament.
There are 27 books in the traditional New Testament, but the early-Christian community was far more vibrant than that small number might lead you to think. Over the past century, many of those texts that were lost have been found and translated, yet they are rarely read in contemporary churches; they are discussed mainly by scholars or within a context only of gnostic gospels. In A New New Testament Hal Taussig seeks to change that.
Many of these documents were as important to shaping early-Christian communities and beliefs as what we have come to call the New Testament; these were not the work of shunned sects or rebel apostles, not alternative histories or doctrines, but part of the vibrant conversations that sparked the rise of Christianity.
Yet these scriptures are rarely read in contemporary churches; they are discussed nearly only by scholars or within a context only of gnostic gospels.
Why should these books be set aside?
Why should they continue to be lost to most of us?
And don’t we have a great deal to gain by placing them back into contact with the 27 books of the traditional New Testament—by hearing, finally, the full range of voices that formed the early chorus of Christians?
To create this New New Testament, Hal Taussig called together a council of scholars and spiritual leaders to discuss and reconsider which books belong in the New Testament. They talked about these recently found documents, the lessons therein, and how they inform the previously bound books. They voted on which should be added, choosing ten new books to include in A New New Testament.
Reading the traditional scriptures alongside these new texts—the Gospel of Luke with the Gospel of Mary, Paul’s letters with The Letter of Peter to Philip, The Revelation to John with The Secret Revelation to John—offers the exciting possibility of understanding both the new and the old better.
This new reading, and the accompanying commentary in this volume, will reinvigorate a centuries-old conversation and to bring new relevance to a dynamic tradition.
Listen to the podcast of Hal’s 2013 interview with John Shuck here:
All profits go to support DCM’s work with people experiencing homelessness in Wellington. Homeless was launched on World Homeless Day (10 October) at Wellington Central Library.
‘Stand your ground/grip your prayer – these are gripping poems, poems with a social conscience, standing their ground.’ — Anna Jackson
‘John Howell takes us into a world where accustomed notions of “home” have been defaced, distorted and obliterated. It’s a familiar but uncomfortable place to be. In an era defined by the refugee crisis and, in our own cities, escalating homelessness, Howell’s poems are not only a call to attention, they are, fundamentally, a declaration of fellow-feeling and aroha.’ — Gregory O’Brien, poet, author, artist
‘Homelessness is an issue that brings into sharp focus the individual – and collective – tragedies of contemporary societal inequity. As sociologists we tend to focus on the trends provided by statistical analysis supplemented by the stories of those affected, but John Howell’s poems provide another dimension as he explores the emotions and aspects of homelessness in lyric form. For any concerned New Zealander (and that should be all of us), I strongly recommend these poems as a powerful way of understanding homelessness.’ — Paul Spoonley, sociology professor, Massey University.
Twenty-One Elephants: Leaving Religion for The Reckless Ways of Jesus. Scottie Reeve. Pbk, 209pp. ISBN 9780473383701. 21 Elephants NZ (2017). $30.00. [4 in stock]
Scottie, an ordained Anglican deacon and a social entrepreneur, leads Blueprint Church in Wellington. He spent 9 years working with young people through Zeal, and launched two downtown espresso bars which employ young people into their first jobs.
After coming to faith in the middle-class northern suburbs of Wellington, a chance meeting found Scottie Reeve exposed to another side of living in the city. Immersed in stories of addiction, violence and pain, Scottie found that his faith wasn’t big enough for the questions before him.
Questions like: What if Jesus didn’t call us to just a more comfortable, popular and successful life? What if the promises of upward mobility and accumulation actually stand at odds with the way he invited us to?
This is his story. It’s about a whole-of-life spirituality and mission that messes with our relationships, reputation, families, money and living situations, in order to serve the community.
If you enjoyed The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne, you will also find this book rewarding.
“Scottie Reeve is an intelligent, energetic, creative and extraordinarily gifted leader and social entrepreneur, exactly the kind of spiritually-alive person I want to be influenced and inspired by.” Brian D McLaren, Author.
In one continuous story this book combines cosmological and biological evolution with the subsequent development of human thought made possible by the emergence of language.
The idea of evolution is the most life-changing concept to have emerged in modern times, but most people know of it only in fragments. The evolution of the universe, of planet Earth, of life and of human culture is a truly breathtaking story that can be told in many ways. In one continuous story this book combines cosmological and biological evolution with the subsequent development of human thought made possible by the emergence of language.
Sir Lloyd shows that the commonly supposed conflict between religion and science arises from a failure to appreciate the role of what he calls the ‘human thought world’. The realm of the gods, created by human imagination, was the ancients’ way of understanding nature. For them it was both their science and their religion. By sketching the history of ‘God’, Lloyd shows that the centrality of this idea provided an essential premise for the emergence of empirical science.
This has enabled the human species to dominate planet Earth and usurp roles once attributed to God. The story of evolution helps us understand the past — but the future of the human race now rests on our shoulders.
Lloyd’s wife Shirley, having so often heard him say, “I went there on me bike”, insisted he record the intrepid cycling journeys he made around New Zealand as a young man in the 1930s and ’40s.
Lloyd Geering was born in Rangiora in 1918, educated chiefly in Otago, and holds honours degrees in Mathematics and Old Testament Studies. Ordained as a Presbyterian minister, he served in Kurow, Dunedin and Wellington. He held Chairs of Old Testament Studies at theological colleges in Brisbane and Dunedin before being appointed as the foundation Professor of Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. He was married to Nancy McKenzie in 1943 (d. 1949), to Elaine Parker in 1951 (d. 2001) and in 2004 to Shirley White of Christchurch. He has three children, nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Since his retirement in 1984 Lloyd has continued to lecture widely throughout New Zealand and overseas. He was a regular columnist on religious topics for the Auckland Star and the NZ Listener. He was awarded an Honorary DD by the University of Otago in 1976, a CBE in the New Year Honours in 1988, made a PCNZM in 2001, and admitted to the Order of New Zealand in 2007.
At nearly 99 years old, Sir Lloyd Geering is well qualified to look back over the last century, consider the massive social changes he has lived through, and evaluate human progress.
Born in 1918, Lloyd reflects on two world wars, the Great Depression, and changes he has experienced in education, family life, growth of personal freedom, leisure and entertainment, life in the churches, and more.
He concludes Portholes to the Past with cautious optimism:
“… it may not be too much to hope that from the fragments of dismantled Christendom we may rediscover and reinvigorate the moral values of justice, truth and environmental guardianship. Together with the spiritual forces of faith, hope and love, these qualities may yet enable us to create a viable human future.”
In his down-to-earth and lively style, Mitchell, who experienced politics first-hand as a long-serving Labour MP for Grimsby, denounces the economic policy of the last three decades as “a long march down Dead-End Street” – a neoliberal experiment that has benefited the rich and eroded the “good society” with its welfare state and governments’ commitment to the betterment of the people. He charts the development of a neoliberal creed, market-driven and with governments devoted instead to efficiency, cost-cutting and austerity at the people’s expense, and draws parallels between Thatcherism in the United Kingdom, Rogernomics in New Zealand, and all that came after them.
Mitchell observes how neoliberalism has failed to deliver on its promises, including that of the “trickle-down” effect, resulting in much greater inequality in both countries. Ultimately, he finds useful lessons in its failure and possible pointers to a fairer society for all.
Modern Christians are steeped in a language so distorted that it has become a stumbling block to the religion, says internationally renowned Bible scholar Marcus J. Borg. Borg argues that Christianity’s important words, and the sacred texts and stories in which those words are embedded, have been narrowed by a modern framework for the faith that emphasizes sin, forgiveness, Jesus dying for our sins, and the afterlife. Here, Borg employs the “historical-metaphorical” method for understanding Christian language that can restore for us these words of power and transformation.
- Redemption: now narrowly understood as Jesus saving us from sins so we can go to heaven, but in the Bible it refers to being set free from slavery.
- Savior: now refers to Jesus as the one who saves us from our sins, but in the Bible it has a rich and wonderful variety of meanings having nothing to do with the afterlife.
- Sacrifice: now refers to Jesus’s death on the cross as payment for our sins, but in the Bible it is never about substitutionary payment for sin.
In Speaking Christian, Borg delivers a language for twenty-first-century Christians that grounds the faith in its deep and rich original roots and allows it once again to transform our lives.
In The Heart of Christianity, world-renowned Jesus scholar and author of the bestseller Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time argues that the essential ingredients of a Christian life—faith, being born again, the kingdom of God, the gospel of love—are as vitally important today as they have always been, even during this time of conflict and change in the church.
Borg wants to show us, as today’s thinking Christians, how to discover a life of faith by reconceptualizing familiar beliefs. Being born again, for example, has nothing to do with fundamentalism, but is a call to radical personal transformation. Talking about the kingdom of God does not mean that you are fighting against secularism, but that you have committed your life to the divine values of justice and love. And living the true Christian way is essentially about opening one’s heart—to God, and to others. Above all else, Borg believes with passion and conviction that living the Christian life still makes sense.
This unique handbook combines the theory and practice of the celebration of Sophia-whose name literally means “wisdom” – in one indispensable volume.
In this new edition of Wisdom’s Feast, the authors combine exercises, liturgies, sermons, study guides, prayers and meditations to create the first book of its kind-one that provides for experiencing Sophia in a ritual setting.
Wisdom’s Feast includes: An introduction to Sophia Activities for women’s groups, churches and academic settings Exercises on the most prominent Sophia themes in the Bible Meditations and sermons A comparative study of the biblical Sophia and other goddess figures Studies of Sophia as mother, creator, wisdom and teacher.”
A new kind of Christianity is emerging at the grass roots. Full of heart-felt expression, artistic creativity, and liberal social values, progressive churches and small Christian communities have established themselves across the denominational spectrum.
Reporting on a national research study that undercuts the impression that right-wing Christianity is the only new development on the contemporary American religious landscape, Hal Taussig identifies thousands of progressive churches and para-churches and describes five characteristics of this new movement. He then proceeds to analyse its blind spots, project its future, and suggest how to start a progressive church .
The 71 songs in this book started out as responses to The Psalms but Mark soon found himself wandering to all sorts of places, the Psalms being good jump-off points. The songs are numbered instead of having titles, in the hope that this leaves a degree of open-ended-ness, so that God can say to you what you need to hear. Dip into them at random. May there be a few holy surprises here for you.
“Mark Laurent’s ‘psalms’ are a conversation between head and heart, full of wisdom and truth. We read the wisdom, recognise truth, and hunger for more. They are lovely and I think many people will identify with them.” Joy Cowley, author, retreat leader
“Redemption Songs will be a breath of fresh air, comfort and encouragement to those like me who find that the Jesus walk is a mixture of highs and lows. Mark has shown us a heart which longs for the heart of God, and the heart of God which longs for us.” Anna Johnstone (author of The Jesus Walk)