February 2019 Selection

February 2019 Selection

Your February selection includes a new Walter Brueggemann title on hymn singing, Nadia Bolz-Weber’s book calling for a sexual reformation, and books about ministrygrief, depression and anxiety. Maria Popova (creator of the Brain Pickings blog) ponders love and finding meaning in life in Figuring. And Rob Bell’s What Is the Bible? is now out in paperback.

Please click this link for our 2019 Lent and Easter list

Wellington, Porirua and Hutt Valley customers – Come and sing with my choir Festival Singers in 2019. See the invitation to our open rehearsal on 18 Feb at the bottom of this page.


See the Ordering section below for information about ordering these titles, (including alternatives to using our PayPal shopping cart buttons). our postage charges and orders for overseas customers.

[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 30 January 2019]

A Glad Obedience:
Why and What We Sing.
Walter Brueggeman.
Pbk 208pp. ISBN 9780664264642.
Westminster John Knox (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

In this helpful and engaging volume, Brueggemann discusses both why we sing and what we sing.

“To know why we sing,” Brueggemann writes, “may bring us to a deeper delight in our singing and a strengthened resolve to sing without calculation before the God ‘who is enthroned on the praises of Israel’ (Ps. 22:3).

The Christian practice of hymn singing, says renowned biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann, is a countercultural act. It marks the Christian community as different from an unforgiving and often ungrateful culture. It is also, he adds, an “absurd enterprise” in the midst of the hyper-busy, market-driven society that surrounds us.

The first part of the book examines the Psalms and what they can teach us about the reasons that corporate song is a part of the Christian tradition.

The second part looks at fifteen popular hymns, including classic and contemporary ones such as “Blest Be the Ties That Binds,” “God’s Eye Is on the Sparrow,” “Once to Every Man and Nation,” “Someone Asked the Question,” and “We Are Marching in the Light of God,” and the reasons why they have caught our imagination.

I Pray Anyway:
Devotions for the Ambivalent.
Joyce Wilson-Sanford.
Pbk 262pp. ISBN 9780986338601.

Red Shoe Publishing (2017).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

This book tells of the author’s return to a prayer/devotions practice as she shares her own very naked, very funny, very touching prayers and reflections. The book also shares Joyce’s personal history of bumps and bruises both in her life and in her spiritual growth. This is not a didactic book. The author has no answers for others but shares how and why she prays.

Her inclusive approach, practical voice and humorous compassion welcome anyone wanting to have their own devotional practice beyond their own ambivalence – to pray anyway.

Joyce speaks the language of the spiritually independent and articulates the ambivalence of the growing group who are religiously disenfranchised. Joyce’s life has had its share of profound challenges and she has gone through many permutations of devotional practices –including having none – and now has emerged with a very real engaging wisdom that she shares in this book.

A Sexual Reformation.
Nadia Bolz-Weber.
Hbk 224pp. ISBN 9781601427588.
Convergent (2019).

[Allow 2-3 weeks]. 

Raw, intimate, and timely, Nadia Bolz-Weber’s latest book offers a full-blown overhaul of our harmful and antiquated ideas about sex, gender, and our bodies.

This is a journey of holy resistance. Along the way, as antidotes to shame, heresy, and all-too-familiar injustice, Bolz-Weber dispenses grace, freedom, and courage. She shares stories, poetry, and scripture, cultivating resilient hope and audacious love rooted in good news that is “powerful enough, transgressive enough, and beautiful enough to heal not only the ones who have been hurt but also those who have done the hurting.”

“Nadia has an amazingly faith-filled way to say good things in a hard way and hard things in a good way. She does it again with one of our most wounding, dangerous, and needed subjects – Christian gender and sexual teaching! This will heal many.” Richard Rohr, O.F.M.

Liturgy on the Edge:
Pastoral and Attractional Worship.
Samuel Wells.
Pbk 176pp. ISBN 9781640651562.

Church Publishing (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Written by the staff and dedicated lay members of the St Martin’s community, this book is an invitation to us all to be more inclusive and compassionate when planning worship and other services.

Topics include pastoral care for those affected by crime and homelessness, great sacred music, laying-on-of-hands, podcasting/webcasting, and holiday observances that extend love and service to all neighbours across denominations and walks of life.

It explores questions of both formal and informal engagement with liturgy, prayer book revision, and practical how-tos for acute congregational needs. Urban parishes will find inspiration and resources within these pages.

Hearing and Responding to God’s Voice.
Susan Robb.

Pbk 144pp. ISBN 9781501879746.
Abingdon Press (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

This six session study course explores how God calls us to a life that we could never imagine on our own. Throughout the Bible, God interrupts the lives of ordinary men and women, calling and empowering them to lives of service they never could have imagined on their own!

Discover how to hear and respond to the unique call God is placing on your life through the stories of ordinary people found in the Bible.

Called will examine the lives of the Abraham, Samuel, Esther and Mary Magdalene, Jonah, and the beloved disciple.

The same God that called these unlikely characters calls you, too, to bring hope and transformation to the world.

Click here for the first session sample video: https://youtu.be/GZjdC-zymrM


Also available:

Leader Guide:
Hearing and Responding to God’s Voice. Susan Robb.
Pbk 64pp. ISBN 9781501879760.
Abingdon Press (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

This Leader Guide contains everything needed to guide a group through the six-week study including session plans, activities, and discussion questions, as well as multiple format options.


Hearing and Responding to God’s Voice.
Susan Robb.
DVD US region 1 format.
ISBN 9781501879784.
Abingdon Press (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

The six-session DVD features Susan Robb guiding participants through the study. The video sessions are 10-12 minutes long and, when combined with the six book chapters, make an ideal six-week group study.

Small Things with Great Love:
A 9-Day Novena to Mother Teresa, Saint of the Gutters.
Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle.

Pbk 64pp. ISBN 9781640601130.
Paraclete Press (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Through this novena of prayer, our faith is energised as we “sit at St. Teresa of Calcutta’s feet” to learn lessons of love, and invoke her intercession for our urgent, as well as our lesser needs – big and small. She will help!

What can we learn from the Saint of the Gutters? How might her wisdom and intercession help us in our present needs? After all, Mother Teresa was very small in stature, even frail in some respects, and she was a woman – the supposed “weaker sex.”

However, this petite woman’s “yes” to God truly changed the world forever. She opened the world’s eyes to our duties to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and told us that a far worse hunger exists in our Western world. She continues to encourage us to reach out in love to those in need.

Recalling Our Own Stories:
Spiritual Renewal for Religious Caregivers.
Edward P Wimberly.
Pbk 156pp. ISBN 9781506454771.

Fortress Press (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

This book offers a way to renew your motivation for ministry by reconnecting to your original call, visualising again how God has acted and remains intricately involved in our lives. Wimberly demonstrates how religious caregivers, often facing burnout, can tap the sources of renewal that reside in the faith community.

Wimberly enables caregivers to map out and come to grips with cultural expectations of their profession. He also helps readers explore and edit the mythologies that make up their self-image, attitudes toward others, expectations about their performance and role, and convictions about ministry.


Maria Popova.
Hbk 592pp. ISBN 9781524748135.
Pantheon Books (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Popova explores the complexities of love and the human search for truth and meaning through the interconnected lives of several historical figures across four centuries – beginning with the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion, and ending with the marine biologist and author Rachel Carson, who catalysed the environmental movement.

Stretching between these figures is a cast of artists, writers, and scientists – mostly women, mostly queer – whose public contribution has risen out of their unclassifiable and often heart-breaking private relationships to change the way we understand, experience, and appreciate the universe.

Emanating from these lives are larger questions about the measure of a good life and what it means to leave a lasting mark of betterment on an imperfect world: Are achievement and acclaim enough for happiness? Is genius? Is love?


Your Companion Through Grief.
(Out of the Depths series).
Greta Griffith Smith.
Pbk 64pp. ISBN 9781501871306.

Abingdon Press (2018).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

The Out of the Depths series addresses common pastoral crises in a faithful, encouraging, and factual way that provides support to parishioners in crisis beyond the initial pastoral conversation. These booklets are essential care resources to be given out by pastors and pastoral care teams.

Each booklet begins with a thoughtful consideration of the topic at hand, which is followed up by 30 brief devotions. These devotions are designed to be manageable in an overwhelming time, encouraging, and honest.

The books include accessible material describing the dynamics of the crisis situation and typical reactions, which provides the reader with a sense of grounding and direction through increased knowledge.

Your Companion Through Depression and Anxiety
(Out of the Depths series).
Harriet Bryan; James E Hightower.
Pbk 64pp. ISBN 9781501871344.

Abingdon Press (2018).
[Allow 2-3 weeks]. 

(See the description of this series in the listing for Your Companion Through Grief – on left)

Shattered by Grief:
Picking Up the Pieces to Become Whole Again.
Claudia Coenen.
Pbk 240pp. ISBN 9781785927775.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers. (2018).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

This practical guide helps readers work through their grief through expressive therapies and activities, based on the techniques Coenen honed as a professional counsellor after the unexpected loss of her husband. She provides clear methods to process grief, experience its pain and learn how to live fully again.

Readers are encouraged to completely engage with their grief through storytelling, self-care and ritual, and honest reflection.

The book navigates readers through the healing process while allowing them the freedom to explore their pain in a way that best fits their unique situation. Rejecting the idea of a ‘quick-fix’ to grief, it suggests ways in which tragedy and loss can be a springboard for rejuvenation and transformation.

My Anxiety Handbook:
Getting Back on Track
Sue Knowles; Bridie Gallagher; Phoebe McEwen.
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9781785924408.

Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2018).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

By helping young people with anxiety learn to recognise and manage their symptoms, this anxiety survival guide teaches 12 to 18 year olds how they can overcome their biggest worries. Co-written with a college student who has experienced anxiety herself, it is a relatable and straightforward guide.

As well as providing tried-and-tested advice and exercises that are proven to reduce feelings of anxiety, it includes recovery stories from young people who have managed their symptoms successfully.

By showing that anxiety is a normal human emotion that many people face, this book helps young people understand the ins and outs of their own anxiety and helps them to challenge the difficult patterns they may get into. Practical chapters on sleep, exam stress, transitions, and seeking extra help, make is a go-to guide for any tween, teen or young person living with anxiety.

Neighborhood Church:
Transforming Your Congregation into a Powerhouse for Mission.
Krin Van Tateehove.

Pbk 120pp. ISBN 9780664264789.
Westminister John Knox (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

How can we embody the values of love, grace, and justice? As faith communities, how can our collective embodiment of these values shine even brighter?

The answers to these questions must always unfold right here, right now, exactly where God has planted us. This book will inspire churches to become vibrant and engaging community partners with the families and neighbourhoods living around them.

The authors give practical, essential tools that lead to communal conversion, develop the DNA of listening, spur fruitful partnerships, promote integrated space, and sustain long-term visions. They believe these tools will spark true revival and unleash the power of incarnational ministry.

Four Ministries, One Jesus:
Exploring Your Vocation with the Four Gospels.
Richard A Burridge.
Pbk 240pp. ISBN 9780802876737.

Eerdmans (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks]. 

Combining the skills of a leading biblical scholar with the wisdom derived from years spent training candidates for ordination, Burridge offers rich reflections on the four gospel portraits of Jesus and shows how they not only inform the calling to ordained ministry but also help sustain the practice of Christian ministry in its various dimensions.

This book is for all who feel called to a life of Christian ministry and want to ground their calling in the teaching and example of Jesus, as provided in the four gospels. Burridge helps readers consider vital questions such as: how to sustain reading, Bible study, and theological reflection in ministry; how to extend pastoral care to people outside as well as inside the Christian community; how to care for self and family; and how to stay attuned to the Spirit by cultivating a fresh and vigorous life of prayer.

United Methodists of the Temple, Tabernacle, and Table.
Stanley R Copeland; Scott Gilliland.
Pbk 190pp. ISBN 9780692190418.
Colinasway (2018).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

“I found the book easy to read and helpful. It is sensitive to the existing views of readers, but is making the case that God’s love is broad, and the act of separating ourselves is contrary to God’s love. The MCNZ still has matters on its agenda regarding LGBTQ persons. I recommend this book.” Rev David Bush, General Secretary, Methodist Church of NZ

“Like other denominations before it, the United Methodist Church is faced with the challenge of how to include the LGBTQ community in their faith journey. Will the church allow or sanction same sex weddings. Will the church allow LGBTQ followers of Christ into ordained ministry …This book will help you experience what they have experienced. Don’t struggle with these issues from a distance. Don’t reach conclusions from an impersonal and no real life experiences. Live this out through the eyes of a church that has made it it’s mission to love all people into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Learn through their experiences of challenging in love that which divides us.” Amazon.com review

Reclaiming Our Forgotten Heritage:
How Understanding the Jewish Roots of Christianity Can Transform Your Faith.
Curth Landry.
Pbk 240pp. ISBN 9781400209408.

Thomas Nelson (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Rabbi Landry reveals how understanding the Jewish roots of Christianity leads to a more vibrant, secure, and powerful Christian walk.

The church was created by Jesus, who was born Jewish yet primarily rejected by his family and his people. His early followers were both Jewish and gentile, and the church’s early culture was rooted in Judaism and a Jewish understanding of God’s relationship to his people. Over time, however, Christianity became increasingly more Roman than Jewish, and the church lost its identity.

Rabbi Curt Landry’s personal story is remarkably similar. Born out of wedlock to a Jewish mother and a Catholic father, Landry was put up for adoption. For over thirty years, he had no understanding of his heritage, his roots, or who his parents were. But when he discovered the truth of his story, his life changed completely.

What Is the Bible?:

How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything.
Rob Bell.
Pbk 336pp. ISBN 9780062194275.
Harperone (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Bell takes us deep into Bible passages to reveal the humanity behind them. You can’t get to the holy without going through the human.

When considering a passage, we shouldn’t ask “Why did God say . . .?”

To get to the heart of the Bible’s meaning, we should be asking:

  • What’s the story that’s unfolding here and why did people find it important to tell it?
  • What was it that moved them to record these words?
  • What was happening in the world at that time?
  • What does this passage / story / poem / verse / book tell us about how people understood who they were and who God was at that time?

In asking these questions, Bell goes beyond the one-dimensional question of “is it true?” to reveal the Bible’s authentic transformative power.

First the Jews:
Combating the World’s Longest-Running Hate Campaign.
Rabbi Evan Moffic.
Hbk 256pp. ISBN 9781501870835.
Abingdon Press (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Focusing on the events since September 11, 2001, Rabbi Evan Moffic considers the 21st century anti-Semitism and the historical pattern of discrimination to other groups that often follows new waves of discrimination against Jewish communities.

With a hopeful and collaborative tone, he suggests actions for all people of faith to combat words and actions of hate while lifting up practical ways Christians and Jews can work together.

 First the Jews offers new insights and unparalleled perspectives on some of the most recent, pressing developments in the contemporary world.

God Can’t:
How to Believe in God and Love After Tragedy, Abuse, and Other Evils.
Thomas Jay Oord.
Pbk 214pp. ISBN 9781948609128.
Sacrasage Press (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Most people think God can overcome evil singlehandedly. Oord says God needs co-operation for love to reign now and later. This leads to a better view of the afterlife he calls, “relentless love.” It rejects traditional ideas of heaven, hell, and annihilation.

Relentless love holds to the possibility all creatures and all creation will respond to God’s love.

God Can’t is written in understandable language. Thomas Jay Oord status as a world-renown theologian brings credibility to the book’s radical ideas. He explains these ideas through stories, illustrations, and scripture.

“If conventional notions of God make less and less sense to you, you’ll find Thomas Jay Oord’s new book a breath of fresh air. Simply put, God Can’t presents an understanding of God that thoughtful, ethical people can believe in.” Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration


Blessed Are the Misfits:
Great News for Believers Who Are Introverts, Spiritual Strugglers, or Just Feel Like They’re Missing Something.
Brant Hansen.
Pbk 233pp. ISBN 9780718096311.

Thomas Nelson (2017).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

If modern church culture makes perfect sense to you, and you always fit in seamlessly, don’t read this. As for the rest of us…

This book is good news for people who are desperately looking for it. It’s also for those who want to believe in Jesus, but inwardly fear that they don’t belong, worry that don’t have the requisite emotion-based relationship with God, and are starving for good news.

In his unique style, Hansen looks to answer questions that millions of people carry with them each day:

  • If I don’t relate to God as emotionally as others do, is something wrong with me?
  • How does God interact with those who seem spiritually numb?
  • What if we aren’t good at talking to people about our faith, or good at talking to people at all?
  • What if I’m told I’m too analytical, that I “think too much”?
  • Is depression a sure sign of a lack of faith?

Blessed Are the Misfits is going to generate discussion, and lots of it. It’s simultaneously highly provocative and humbly personal. It’s also leavened with a distinct, dry, self-effacing humour that is a hallmark of Hansen’s on-air, writing, and public speaking style.


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Sing with Festival Singers in 2019
Visit our website for more details:


Other recent email newsletters

Click here for:
Lent and Easter 2019 resources 

Year C – 2019 Devotional, Worship and Preaching resources
Including Fresh From the Word 2019

And click here for links to our other recent selections.

Stock list on our website

There are now over 700 titles listed on our website.
Click here for a summary of all the books, CDs and DVDs

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.

Are you looking for a specific book?

Please also ask us to find any other books you are interested in. We will give you a price and time to deliver. Emailing us at bookspgpl@gmail.com works best.

Want to get published in 2019?

Check out the Publish your book with us page on our website, which explains how we can work with you to publish your book in print and as an eBook.