January 2018 Selection

January 2018 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 5 January 2018]

Strength for the Journey:
A Pilgrimage of Faith in Community (2nd edition).
Diana Butler Bass.
Pbk 304pp. ISBN 9780898692525.
Church Publishing. (2017).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Butler Bass illustrates the dynamic strength and persistence of mainline Protestantism.

A member of 8 churches over 20 years, she explores the major issues that have confronted mainline denominations, congregations, and parishioners during those years—from debates over women clergy to conflicts about diversity and community, to scrimmages between tradition and innovation.

Philip’s reading of this book is that, while on the surface disputes within churches are about theology or worship style, often the root cause is a struggle for power between established members of a church and those who have joined more recently.

Listening and Spiritual Conversation.
Sue Pickeri
ng (NZ)
Pbk 192p
p. ISBN 9781848259102. Canterbury Press. (2017).
llow 2-3 weeks].

This essential new companion will help anyone (lay or clergy) engaged in pastoral care master an essential skill – hearing and speaking from a spiritual perspective.

It is divided into two main sections – Missional Listening and Spiritual Conversation – and includes:

Part 1: Missional Listening

  • Holy listening a ” to God, ourselves, and our communities
  • Sharpening our awareness of God at work in our own lives
  • Deepening our trust in the Holy Spirit
  • Theological reflection a ” the weaving of scripture, tradition, culture and experience
  • Building relationships that empower

Part 2: Spiritual Conversation

  • Respectful engagement
  • Spiritual needs and a Christian response
  • Sharing our own stories and those of Jesus
  • Costly loving.

Transcending Generations:
A Field Guide to Collaboration in Church.
Meredith Gould.
Pbk 152pp. ISBN 9780814645628.
Liturgical Press. (2017).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

A guide for church leaders who want to communicate and collaborate with adults of all ages.

Sociologist and culture critic Meredith Gould focuses on issues shared by people of faith, regardless of chronological age, psychosocial development, or generational cohort.

Readers are guided through practical ways to move forward together while honouring authentic differences. Includes questions for individual inquiry and group discussion.

The Intercessions Resource Book.
John Pritchard.
Pbk 176pp. ISBN 9780281078219.
SPCK. (2018).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Compelled by the belief that Christians want to come to God with others’ needs, John Pritchard  presents fresh ideas for public and private prayer.

He uses everyday language, images and experiences. There are three main sections.

Mainstream worship, offers prayers for:

  • each of the 12 months
  • major festivals and their seasons
  • special days like Mothering Sunday, and
  • on themes such as light, storms and fear

The second section provides intercessions for use in informal worship and small groups.

The third focuses on personal prayers, and includes a section for extroverts.

Preaching the Women of the Old Testament.
Lynn Japinga.
Pbk 232pp. ISBN 9780664259693.
Westminister John Knox (2017).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Japinga interprets the stories of over 40 fierce, faithful, and strong biblical women, including Eve, Rebekah, Dinah, Tamar, Miriam, Deborah, Jael, Abigail, Bathsheba, and Vashti.

She demonstrates how the character’s story has been read in Christian tradition and offers sermon ideas that connect contemporary issues to each story.

Ideal for pastors who want to know more about the many women of the Old Testament and learn how to better incorporate them into their sermons.

Talking Back to the Bible:
A Historian’s Approach to Bible Study.
Edward G Simmons.
Pbk 273pp.
ISBN 9781480927094.
Dorrance (2016).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Simmons’ central message is that we can find meaning in our universe through a relationship with God, even while recognising the unavoidable risks posed by scientific discoveries, inevitable historical change, and the ultimate incomprehensibility of God from a human vantage point.

The book consists of a series of short Bible studies presenting:

  1. insight into the humanity of Jesus
  2. an understanding of discipleship and relationship with God transcending many current theological debates
  3. a candid discussion of the impact of science and historical study on Resurrection beliefs; and
  4. insights from science and historical study as major themes from the Old Testament are discussed in terms of relationship with God.

The author uses personal experiences and the latest scholarly research as the Bible becomes the conversational partner recommended by Marcus Borg.

Essays on Ethics:
A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible.
Jonathan Sacks.
Hbk 384pp. ISBN 9781592644490.
Maggid (2016).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Believing the Hebrew Bible to be the ultimate blueprint for Western morality, Rabbi Sacks embarks upon an ethical exploration of the weekly Torah portion, uncovering its message of truth and justice, dignity and compassion, forgiveness and love.

Questions explored include:

  • Why was Abraham ordered to sacrifice his son?
  • Was Jacob right in stealing the blessings?
  • Why were we commanded to destroy Amalek?
  • What was Moses’ sin in hitting the rock?, and
  • How did the Ten Commandments change the Jewish people, and humankind, for good?

Seasoned by Seasons:
Flourishing in life’s experiences.
Michael Mitton.
Pbk 160pp. ISBN 9780857465405.
BRF (2017).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

What can we learn, and how can we be encouraged in each season of our lives? This book will empower you to discover for yourself the truths and messages of scripture, and might well change the way you view life’s changes.

Like the seasons themselves, our lives are variable and can change in a moment. Mitton acknowledges this and offers Bible reflections for the variety of life’s seasons:

  • spring, the season of emerging new life
  • summer, the season of fruitfulness
  • autumn, the season of letting go
  • winter, the season of discovering light in the dark.


Reimagining Worship:
Renewing Worship in a Changing Church.
Helen Bent; Mark Earey; John Leach; Trevor Lloyd.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9781848259133.
Canterbury Press (2017).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Worship is a dynamic, living encounter that should never be static. In this comprehensive volume, a wide range of experienced liturgists, musicians and pastoral practitioners consider the principles that will determine the character and quality, as well as the content, of our worship in the future.

It explores how new forms can meet new needs while remaining faithful to the church’s essential understanding of worship. 20 chapters consider how emerging forms of worship can be:

  • Relational, accessible and inclusive
  • Rooted in Scripture, the Creeds, and Spirit-filled
  • Sacramental, symbolic and multi-sensory
  • Transformative, pastoral and prophetic.

Caring Worship.
Howard Vanderwell.
Pbk 133pp. ISBN 9781532617232.
Cascade Books (2017).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

In a perfect world we might expect that all worshipers would be ready for a worship service of thorough praise and adoration. But that is not the case.

Those who come for worship bring with them all the cares, anxieties, and stresses of life in this broken world. All are needy people. Some will find help for those needs in the pastor’s office during a one-on-one conversation; some may find it in a pastoral visit; but many will never experience either of those. The opportunity to minister to their needs will occur during that special time when all are gathered for worship.

This book takes a new and fresh look at the worship liturgy. It insists that the liturgy, regardless of denomination or style, is not merely preparatory to the main event–the sermon–but is rather the time in which the worshiper can be healthily cared for.

With The End In Mind:
Dying, Death And Wisdom In An Age Of Denial.
Kathryn Mannix.
Pbk 352pp. ISBN 9780008245597.
Collins (2017).
[Allow 4 weeks].

Told through a series of beautifully crafted stories taken from 40 years of clinical practice, Mannix answers the most intimate questions about the process of dying with touching honesty and humanity. She makes a compelling case for the therapeutic power of approaching death not with trepidation but with openness, clarity and understanding.

A book for us all: the grieving and bereaved, ill and healthy.

Through the stories of 30 people, Mannix shows how the dying embrace living, not because they are unusual or brave, but because that’s what humans do.

By turns touching, tragic, funny and wise, the stories offer us illumination, models for action, and hope. Read this book and you’ll be better prepared for life as well as death.

Are We Screwed?:
How a New Generation Is Fighting to Survive Climate Change.
Geoff Dembicki.
Hbk 305pp. ISBN 9781632864819.
Bloomsbury (2017).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

A declaration of resistance, and a roadmap for radical change, from the generation that will be most affected by climate change.

The Millennial generation could be first to experience the doomsday impacts of climate change. It’s also the last generation able to do something about them. With time ticking down, 31-year-old journalist Dembicki journeyed to Silicon Valley, Canada’s tar sands, Washington DC, Wall Street and the Paris climate talks to find out if he should hope or despair. What he learned surprised him. Millions of people his age want to radically change our world, and they are at the forefront of resistance to the politicians and CEOs steering our planet towards disaster.

Dembicki gives a firsthand account of this movement, and the shift in generational values behind it, through the stories of young people fighting for their survival. It begins with a student who abandons society to live in the rainforest and ends with a Muslim feminist fomenting a political revolution. We meet a Brooklyn artist terrifying the oil industry, and a Norwegian scientist running across the melting Arctic.

Are We Screwed? makes a bold argument in these troubled times: A safer and more equitable future is more achievable than we’ve been led to believe.

Also available as an unabridged Audio Book:

Are We Screwed?:
How a New Generation Is Fighting to Survive Climate Change.

MP3 CD Audio book.
Geoff Dembicki; Matt Jamie.
9 Hours. ISBN.9781543665598.
Brilliance Audio (2017).
[Allow 4-5 weeks].

Quiet Power:
The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids.
Susan Cain.
Pbk 270pp. ISBN 9780147509925.
Puffin (2017).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

The monumental bestseller Quiet ($32.50) has been recast in a new edition that empowers introverted children and teens

The original book focused on the workplace, and Susan realised that a version for and about children was also badly needed. This book is all their world—school, extracurricular activities, family life and friendship. You’ll read about children who have tackled the challenges of not being extroverted and who have made a mark in their own quiet way. You’ll hear Susan Cain’s own story, and you’ll be able to make use of the tips at the end of each chapter. There’s even a guide at the end of the book for parents and teachers.

This insightful, accessible, and empowering book, illustrated with amusing comic-style art, will be eye-opening to extroverts and introverts alike.

Gospel of Jesus:
According to the Jesus Seminar
(Revised – 2nd edition).
Arthur J Dewey; Robert W Funk eds.
Pbk 130pp. ISBN 9781598151589.
Polebridge Press (2014).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

This single composite gospel, created out of the sayings and reports that were deemed probably historical by the Jesus Seminar, is an essential resource for anyone seeking to detect the words of Jesus as they were heard by his earliest listeners.

The voice of Jesus has for centuries been obscured and his vision skewed even by well-intended gospel writers, who transmitted his words to serve their own concerns. The Gospel of Jesus frees Jesus’ voice from the accretions of time and lets his challenging wisdom stand out.

Silent Days, Silent Dreams.
Allen Say. Hbk.
63pp. ISBN 9780545927611.
Arthur a Levine. (2017).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

James Castle was born two months premature in 1899, on a farm in Garden Valley, Idaho. He was deaf, mute, autistic and probably dyslexic. He didn’t walk until he was four; he would never learn to speak, write, read or use sign language. Yet, today Castle’s artwork hangs in major museums throughout the world.

Caldecott Medal winner Allen Say takes readers through an imagined look at Castle’s childhood, allows them to experience his emergence as an artist despite the overwhelming difficulties he faced, and ultimately reveals the triumphs that he would go on to achieve.

Poignant, moving and a reminder not to make limiting assumptions about any child’s abilities and potential.

Suitable for ages 8 and older.

A Child’s Book of Values:
Classic Stories from Around the World.
Interactive Edition – Free apps to download.
Esteve Pujol i Pons.
Hbk. 112pp. ISBN 9780809167821.
Paulist Press (2017).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

A collection of 26 stories from different cultures around the world. Each story illustrates a different virtue. Download the free app (Android and IOS) in this interactive edition to see action, pictures, games, and other surprises in many of the stories, which will delight children.

With engaging full-colour illustrations and clever design elements, this is a book to pick up and read to little ones and to give to older children to read themselves. School libraries will find this to be a wonderful addition to their collection.

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day.
Béatrice Alemagna.
Hbk. 48pp. ISBN 9780062657602.
HarperCollins (2017).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Generations of great thinkers have extolled the creative purpose of boredom. This picture book with startlingly beautiful words and pictures will spur imagination and a break from boredom or screen time.

“All I want to do on a rainy day like today is play my game. My mom says it’s a waste of time, but without my game, nothing is fun! On the other hand, maybe I’m wrong about that…”

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day has been recognized with a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators. Don’t miss this picture book that beautifully encourages unplugged exploration.