August 2022 Book List

August 2022 Book List

Freeing Jesus, (now in paperback), by Diana Butler Bass, invites us to rediscover Jesus in all his many manifestations, to experience Jesus beyond the narrow confines we have built around him.

In Beyond the Darkness, Clarissa Moll shares with us that while sorrow is a dark and painful road, we don’t need to walk it alone.

In Analog Christian, Jay Y. Kim considers the ways the digital age and its values affect the life of the church. 

Topics of other new books in this selection include:

  • Eight Axioms to Cultivate a Robust Faith
  • Why Reading Matters for Ministry
  • Religious Experience in a Secular Age, and
  • How to Prevent the Next Pandemic.

Looking ahead:

  • Look out for a short newsletter from us next week featuring a new print and eBook 3rd edition of Rosalie Sugrue’s Theme Scheme and an eBook boxed set of all four of her resource books in one volume.
  • In two weeks time we will tell you about worship, preaching and devotional books for 2023 / Year A.

We are now taking orders for
Seasons of the Spirit 2022-2023 Year A
worship and Christian education materials, see:
https://pgpl.co.nz/seasons-of-the-spirit-2022-2023-year-a/

Order and pay for your Print or USB packs by 31 July 2022
and save 10% with the early order discount.


An additional fee applies for deliveries to Rural Delivery addresses
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Overseas customers, please email us at books@pgpl.co.nz for a total cost, which will include airmail postage. See https://pgpl.co.nz/shipping-orders for more information about ordering and payment options, and our current postage charges.


[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 31 July 2022]


Freeing Jesus:
Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence

Now in paperback.
Diana Butler Bass.
Pbk 320pp. ISBN 9780062659538.

HarperOne (2022).
$44.50.
[Allow 4-5 weeks].

Bass challenges the idea that Jesus can only be understood in static, one-dimensional ways and asks us to instead consider a life where Jesus grows with us and helps us through life’s challenges in several capacities: as Friend, Teacher, Saviour, Lord, Way, and Presence.

Freeing Jesus invites us to rediscover Jesus in all his many manifestations, to experience Jesus beyond the narrow confines we have built around him. It renews our hope in faith and worship at a time when we need it most.

“Combining childhood memories and mature theological musings, personal story and Christian history, Gospel texts and present-day contexts, Bass invites all feeling caged by doctrine, silenced by tradition, or afraid of doubt to find not just freedom, voice, and the glory of mystery, but also to find Jesus on their own terms and in their own lives.” Amy-Jill Levine, author of The Bible With and Without Jesus and The Misunderstood Jew



Beyond the Darkness:
A Gentle Guide for Living with Grief and Thriving After Loss.
Clarissa Moll.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9781496458933.

Tyndale Momentum (2022).
$44.50.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Sorrow is a dark and painful road. You don’t need to walk it alone.

The Bible says that “God is near to the broken hearted,” but what does that look like when you’re lost in the darkness of agonising grief? How do you engage with your sorrow when the world tells you to shoulder through or move on?

Award-winning writer and podcaster Clarissa Moll knows this landscape of loss all too well. Her life changed forever in 2019 when her husband, Rob, died unexpectedly while hiking – leaving her with four children to raise alone. Moll offers her powerful personal narrative as well as honest, practical wisdom that will gently guide you toward flourishing amidst your own loss.

In the pages of Beyond the Darkness, you’ll learn how to:

  • meet and engage with loss in your everyday life,
  • uncover the lies the world has told you about your grief, and
  • point your feet toward hope, and
  • find a way to navigate your new life with loss and God beside you.

Whether you’ve lost someone dear to you or you are supporting a loved one as they mourn, you can learn to walk with grief. And as you do, you might be surprised to discover the path is wide enough for another companion, the Good Shepherd of your soul. Grief may walk with us for the rest of our lives, but Jesus will too.

Also on this topic: The Grief Walk by Alister Hendery. Print / eBooks



Analog Christian:
Cultivating Contentment, Resilience, and Wisdom in the Digital Age.
Jay Y. Kim.
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9781514003169.

IVP (2022).
$44.50.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Today’s technologies commodify our attention, keeping us scrolling and swiping at all costs. What’s the damage to our souls? Looking at the ways the digital age and its values are affecting Christian discipleship, Jay Kim explores how we can cultivate the contentment, resilience, and wisdom to not only survive but to thrive as we navigate the digital age.

Kim considers the ways the digital age and its values affect the life of the church. He asks the same question of Christian discipleship:

  • As the digital age inclines us to discontentment, fragility, and foolishness, how are followers of Jesus to respond?
  • What is the theological basis for living in creative resistance to the forces of our day?
  • How can Christians cultivate the contentment, resilience, and wisdom to not only survive but to thrive as we navigate the specific challenges of our age?

“The irony of the internet’s promises of love, connection, and pleasure is that it is designed to deliver such superficial and false versions of those things. It sinks our roots into a soil that is not capable of bringing the health it touts. Far from disparaging our digital world, Jay Kim offers us a winsome look at a wise way to navigate these forces and presents us with a more compelling alternative. Swiping and scrolling give way to listening and dwelling . . . to a robust path of joy, blessedness, and Jesus.”
Nancy Ortberg, CEO of Transforming the Bay with Christ



Having the Mind of Christ:
Eight Axioms to Cultivate a Robust Faith.
Matt Tebbe; Ben Sternke.
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9781514003596.

IVP (2022).
$46.25.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

“Why doesn’t the Christian life work like I thought it would?”

While we often start with good intentions, it feels like real transformation is elusive at best, and maybe even impossible. We deeply want to live in the freedom that Christ offers, but we are acutely aware of the gap between a transformed life and our reality. Having the Mind of Christ tackles the issues of lasting life change.

When we feel some kind of inspiration or need to seek change in our lives, we start with behaviours: new to-dos, tactics, techniques, or spiritual disciplines that we hope will bring about the transformation we desire. While these behavioural changes can bear good results, they just as often fail to produce the lasting change we deeply desire. That’s because transformation requires more than a change in practice – it requires a change in paradigm.

Pastors Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke share eight axioms that help reframe the way that we see God, ourselves, and others. By seeing through new lenses, we can open ourselves to the transformational change that God wants for our lives.

“Too often contemporary Western Christianity undermines its own claims of love and good news. Having the Mind of Christ acknowledges the inconsistencies and presses in with a deep longing for integrity, bringing healing as it goes. This book provides language and companionship for those doing the hard work of reimagining a way forward for the church of the twenty-first century, helping us recover from (and repent of) abusive faith practices, restoring us to the life-giving way of Jesus.” Mandy Smith, pastor and author of The Vulnerable Pastor



The Road Away from God:
How Love Finds Us Even as We Walk Away.
Jonathan Martin.
Pbk 205pp. ISBN 9781540902160.

Baker Books (2022).
$48.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

It’s no easy journey disentangling the good news of the gospel from the toxic theologies that have rendered Jesus unrecognisable. It’s no wonder the church has sent many walking.

Martin reimagines Luke’s story of two disillusioned disciples walking the Emmaus road away from the holy city where they had watched their hope die a gruesome death right before their eyes.

For anyone who is feeling their faith unravel, reckoning with religious trauma, or walking the long road of deconstruction, Martin speaks compassionate hope into the journey of today’s disillusioned disciples, revealing that the resurrected Christ is profoundly present with them – even on what seems to be the road away from God.

With “a pastor’s heart and poet’s touch,” as Rachel Held Evans once wrote of Martin, this is a book to help you feel seen in your spiritual journey and all its complexities, and to find resurrection even where you least expect it.



The Pastor’s Bookshelf:
Why Reading Matters for Ministry.
Austin Carty.
Pbk 182pp. ISBN 9780802879103.

Eerdmans (2022).
$49.75.
[Allow 4 weeks].

It’s time to give pastors permission to read books besides the Bible.

For busy pastors, time spent reading feels hard to justify, especially when it’s not for sermon prep. But what if reading felt less like a luxury and more like a vocational responsibility – a spiritual practice that bears fruit in every aspect of ministry, from preaching to pastoral care to church leadership?

Austin Carty believes that this is exactly how pastors ought to think about reading. The Pastor’s Bookshelf shows how worthwhile reading is more about formation than information and how, through reading, a pastor becomes a fuller, more enriched human being with a deeper capacity for wisdom and love, better equipped to understand and work for God’s kingdom.

“Christians are a people of the Word, yet we are formed more and more today by wanton, careless words. Those who will lead the church well will be those who are formed by good words – those who know the power words have over our hearts and minds. Those who read good books well will be such leaders. Pastors who read and live by the wisdom in this book will be changed, as will their ministries and the people to whom they minister. This book belongs on every pastor’s shelf.” Karen Swallow Prior, author of On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books



Encountering Mystery:
Religious Experience in a Secular Age.
Dale C. Allison J.
Pbk 263pp. ISBN 9780802881885.

Eerdmans (2022).
$53.25.
[Allow 4 weeks].

What would your reaction be if someone told you that, one night while sitting alone, she saw through the window a brilliant light descend from the sky until it was so large that it filled the room – and that it radiated a feeling of “pure love”? And what would you say if a friend confided that one night he woke up and could not move, felt he was being suffocated, and sensed an evil spirit in the room?

By default in the secular age we are sceptical about anything mysterious or supernatural. Biblical scholar Dale Allison makes the argument that stories of religious experience are meaningful and not to be marginalized – and that we have a moral prerogative to lovingly engage with such stories regardless of whether we have had similar experiences.

More likely than not, most people would respond to the stories above with embarrassment and concern about the person’s grasp of reality, or they would attempt to explain them away through rational or scientific means.

But the truth is that religious experiences like these are not as uncommon as they seem  – although talking about such experiences often is. This is the case even in a faith tradition such as Christianity, despite the Bible’s numerous accounts of miraculous and mysterious happenings.

Through a close look at phenomena such as moments of inexplicable terror or rapturous joy, visions, near-death experiences of the afterlife, encounters with angels, heavenly voices, and premonitions, Allison shows how ordinary practices of faith need not be at odds with individual religious experiences. Above all, he enjoins us to be honest about the persistence of religious experience in a secular age and to make space for those who encounter mystery in their lives.



Good and Beautiful and Kind:
Becoming Whole in a Fractured World.
Rich Villodas.
Hbk 240pp. ISBN 9780525654414.

Waterbrook Press (2022).
$56.75.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

How did we lose goodness, kindness, and beauty? And more important, how do we get them back into our lives? These are the two questions crying out in our streets, homes, churches, and from deep within our souls.

Pastor and author Rich Villodas is convinced that only Jesus offers a way of being human that is both strong and tender enough to tear down the walls of hostility we experience daily.

In Good and Beautiful and Kind, he reveals how…

  • These three essentials are stolen by sin, powers and principalities, and trauma.
  • We can get goodness, beauty, and kindness back through contemplative prayer, humility, and the cultivation of calm presence.
  • The traits of healthy conflict, forgiveness, and justice lead to wholeness, healing, and a new collective future – when rooted in the ancient way of Jesus.

Filled with fresh energy, classic truth, and practical solutions, this is your road map for stepping beyond distraction and division to love like Jesus. Doing so will change the atmosphere within you…and around you!


Keeping Time:
Time, Liturgy and Christian Discipleship.
Tim Gorringe.
Pbk 248pp. ISBN 9781789592191.

Sacristy Press (2022).
$58.50.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

A fresh account of the liturgical year and how it shapes our lives as Christian disciples.

Christians experience the passage of time through the filter of a distinct structure – from Advent to All Saints. The liturgical year can influence our understanding of our own time, human history, and even cosmic time.

Since the rise of agriculture humans have made sense of time through the rhythms of the agricultural and pastoral year. These rhythms are reflected in the liturgical year but given a new context in terms of the history of Israel and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

Keeping Time begins by examining the basic units of time – days, hours, weeks, months, years – and looks briefly at how they have been reflected on. This leads on to an account of the liturgical year.

Reforming the liturgy is an ongoing process, and Timothy Gorringe makes some suggestions for change – especially with regard to Creation Season, which has not yet been properly integrated into the lectionary. It ends by considering the “sanctoral cycle”, the calendar of those whose example has been found particularly inspiring, asking who is remembered, how, and why.



Salty:
Lessons on Eating, Drinking, and Living from Revolutionary Women.
Alissa Wilkinson.
Hbk 204pp. ISBN 9781506473550.

Broadleaf Books (2022).
$59.75.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

If you could have a dinner party with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?

That’s the question film critic and food writer Alissa Wilkinson answered as she gathered a hypothetical table of women who challenged norms and defied conventional wisdom.

Ella Baker, Alice B. Toklas, Hannah Arendt, Octavia Butler, Agnes Varda, Elizabeth David, Edna Lewis, Maya Angelou, Laurie Colwin: these smart, engaging, revolutionary, and creative 20th century women were all profoundly influenced by their own relationships to food, drink, and other elements of sustenance.

In Salty, Wilkinson explores the ways food managed to root these women into their various callings. For some, it was cultivating perseverance in the face of hardship. For others, it was nurturing a freedom to act, even in the face of opposition, toward justice and equality. For others, it was an examination of what it means to be human with all its desire, heartbreak, sacrifice, isolation, and liberty.

Salty is Wilkinson’s invitation to you. Join these sharp, empowered, and often subversive women and discover how to live with courage, agency, grace, smarts, snark, saltiness, and sometimes feasting – even in uncertain times. Ultimately you will leave this table with a greater understanding of food, drink, gathering, thinking, loving, and navigating the world.



How Religion Evolved:
And Why It Endures.
Robin Dunbar.
Hbk 352pp. ISBN 9780241431788.

Pelican (2022).
$60.50.
[Allow 4 weeks].

  • When did humans develop spiritual thought?
  • What is religion’s evolutionary purpose?
  • And in our increasingly secular world, why has it endured?

Every society in the history of humanity has lived with religion. Dunbar tracks its origins back to what he terms the ‘mystical stance’ – the aspect of human psychology that predisposes us to believe in a transcendent world, and which makes an encounter with the spiritual possible.

As he explores world religions and their many derivatives, as well as religions of experience practised by early hunter-gatherer societies, Dunbar argues that this instinct is not a peculiar human quirk, an aberration on our otherwise efficient evolutionary journey.

Rather, religion confers an advantage: it can benefit our individual health and wellbeing, but, more importantly, it fosters social bonding at large scale, helping hold fractious societies together. Dunbar suggests these dimensions might provide the basis for an overarching theory for why and how humans are religious.



How to Prevent the Next Pandemic.
Bill Gates.
Hbk 304pp. ISBN 9780593534489.

Knopf Publishing Group (2022).
$65.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over. But even as governments around the world try to get it under control, they’re also starting to talk about what happens next.

How can we prevent another pandemic from killing millions of people and devastating the global economy? Can we even hope to accomplish this?

Bill Gates believes the answer is yes, and he has written a largely upbeat book that lays out clearly and convincingly what the world should learn from COVID-19, explains the science of fighting pandemics, and suggests what all of us can do to help prevent another one.



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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