May 2021 Selection

May 2021 Selection

Wellington writer Ian Harris’ book New World New God was our best seller in 2018. We are delighted to tell you about his new book Hand in Hand which encourages us to rethink what faith can mean in this new millennium.

Several books we feature in this selection deal with aspects of Church mission and ministry. Some books have just been released and others published a few years ago are featured for the first time:

  • Alan J. Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk on being a missional leader
  • C Christopher Smith about intentionally slowing down and the importance of books
  • Ryan M. Panzer provides concrete recommendations for the practice of ministry in a digital age
  • Scot McKnight talks about being in fellowship with people who are different from us
  • Tara Beth Leach offers a radiant vision for Christians to rediscover a robust, attractive witness.

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[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 30 April 2021]

Hand in Hand:
Blending Secular and Sacred to Enlarge the Human Spirit.
Ian Harris.
Pbk 230pp. ISBN 9781988595368.

The Cuba Press (2021). 
[4 in stock,
then allow 7-10 days].

Scrape away the barnacles, re-examine the origins of Christian faith, take full account of modern knowledge and experience, open your mind to new possibilities, rethink what faith can mean in this new millennium – that’s the plea Ian Harris makes in this challenge to reset faith within today’s secular frame.

Ian Harris’s New World New God ($30.00) showed how this reset can bring to light new interpretations for God, Jesus, the Bible and the great Christian festivals. Hand in Hand goes back a step to show why such a reset is necessary.

Harris sees the secular not as hostile to faith, but as the neutral setting for religion in the modern world. He debunks the view that science is its polar opposite, and urges the churches to embrace the new reality as a positive for Christian understanding and for life.

“A powerful book that will speak to all those exploring faith and spirituality, and a challenge to the churches to look beyond ecclesiastical walls.” Bishop Richard Randerson


God Was with Me All Along:
A Guide for Capturing Your Memories and Telling Your Stories.
Mary Lou Redding.
Spiral 160pp. ISBN 9780835819534.

Upper Room (2021).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

This book guides people to look at their lives and reflect on ways God has been present in all sorts of situations. Author Mary Lou Redding offers prompts to help individuals recall and write their memories and stories.

The 16 sections of the book cover topics such as “The Family Tree,” “Milestones and Red-Letter Days,” and “Speed Bumps, Detours, and Wrong Turns,” among others. People writing their stories can choose the sections of the book that appeal to them the most – they do not have to follow the order in the book.

Redding also includes a guide for writing with a group and offers a flexible number of sessions. She suggests that people approach this book in whatever way works best for them. She reminds those who are writing their stories: “This is your book, your story, your chance to step back and look at one part of God’s tapestry.”

Redding recognizes that God is weaving a tapestry of love and redemption for all the world. Each person’s story is part of that tapestry.

The Missional Leader:
Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World.
Alan J Roxburgh;   Fred Romanuk.
Pbk 238pp. ISBN 9781506463339.

Fortress Press (2020).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Consultants Alan J. Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk address two questions:

  • How do we do missional? and
  • What does missional leadership look like?

Drawing on their many years of experience, the authors show readers how to bring God’s word into the community outside the church’s walls. They focus on how to lead missionally on the ground, in the local setting, even amid leaders’ experience of massive change within the church and in the wider world.

The challenge for many church leaders is that they are not equipped to lead a church in shifting from a consumer model of church to one that is missional. They were trained in a Christendom mindset–to meet the needs of the church’s members.

This book assists leaders in shifting from dominant models of leadership rooted in strategic planning – with mission and vision statements, desired outcomes, measurements along the way, and determined goals. It provides a praxis for beginning where people are, rather than where the leader wants them to go.

This is not a book of quick fixes and slick slogans, but one that sets out a comprehensive and in-depth treatment for a different way of leading.

Reading for the Common Good:
How Books Help Our Churches and Neighborhoods Flourish.
C Christopher Smith.
Pbk 179pp. ISBN 9780830844494.

IVP (2016).
[Allow 4 weeks].

Living faithfully in a neighbourhood involves two interwoven threads: learning and action. Christopher Smith, co-author of Slow Church ($42.50), looks at the local church as an organization in which both learning and action lie at the heart of its identity.

He explores the practice of reading and, in his words, “how we can read together in ways that drive us deeper into action.” Smith continues, “Church can no longer simply be an experience to be passively consumed; rather, we are called into the participatory life of a community. Reading is a vital practice for helping our churches navigate this shift.”

We have been created to live and work in community. But all too often we see ourselves primarily as individuals and run the risk of working at cross-purposes with the organizations we serve.

“In this hectic age, with its flood of electronic scraps aimed at five-second attention spans, how refreshing it is to meet a champion of slow, sustained and meditative reading of books. And not just any books, but ones that nurture compassion and community.

Chris Smith illustrates in his own work and in his account of the work of his church what it means to love one’s neighbour. It means more than kindly feelings. It means kindly actions. It means caring for others, beginning with those who share the place where we live, and above all those who are most in need. The wealth Smith celebrates is not to be found in stock markets or bank accounts, but between the covers of books, between person and person, and in the loving heart.”

Slow Church:

Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus
C Christopher Smith; John Pattison.
Jonathan  Wilson-Hartgrove (Foreword).
Pbk 247pp. ISBN 9780830841141.

IVP (2014).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

In the beginning, the church ate together, travelled together and shared in all facets of life. Centred as they were on Jesus, these seemingly mundane activities took on their own significance in the mission of God. This book invites us to leave franchise faith behind and enter into the ecology, economy and ethics of the kingdom of God, where people know each other well and love one another as Christ loved the church.

“The only way the church can be the church as God wants it is when the people of the church slow down enough to become the church. Good themes, excellent quotations, compelling stories and solid research mark what is one of the freshest alternatives to church life as it is today. Buy this, but don’t read it fast. Read it slow.” Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

Smith’s Englewood Review of Books  website offers info about new Christian books  and you can subscribe to his email newsletters.

Faithful Presence:
Seven Disciplines That Shape the Church for Mission.
David Fitch.
Pbk 231pp. ISBN 9780830841271.

IVP (2016).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

How can the church engage the world, not by judgment nor accommodation but by becoming the good news in our culture?

Offering seven distinct spiritual practices, David Fitch helps you re-envision church, what you do in the name of church, and the way you lead a church. Reimagine the church as the living embodiment of Christ, reflecting God’s faithful presence to a desperate world.

The disciplines are:

  • The Lord’s Table
  • Reconciliation
  • Proclaiming the Gospel
  • Being with the Least of These
  • Being with Children
  • Fivefold Gifting
  • Kingdom Prayer

“Like leaven in the dough, like a mustard seed in the soil, like light in the darkness, the church must be faithfully present in our communities as an outpost of heaven. David Fitch’s new book will help us all to practice the kingdom lifestyle now. I encourage you to read, share, and live it!”–Krish Kandiah, founder and director, Home for Good, author of Paradoxology

Refuge Reimagined:
Biblical Kinship in Global Politics.
Mark R. Glanville; Luke Glanville.
Pbk 272pp. ISBN 9780830853816.
IVP (2021).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

The global crisis of forced displacement is growing every year. At the same time, Western Christians’ sympathy toward refugees is increasingly overshadowed by concerns about personal and national security, economics, and culture. We urgently need a perspective that understands both Scripture and current political realities and that can be applied at the levels of the church, the nation, and the globe.

Mark R. and Luke Glanville offer a new approach to compassion for displaced people: a biblical ethic of kinship. God’s people, they argue, are consistently called to extend kinship – a mutual responsibility and solidarity – to those who are marginalized and without a home.

Drawing on their respective expertise in Old Testament studies and international relations, the two brothers engage a range of disciplines to demonstrate how this ethic is consistently conveyed throughout the Bible and can be practically embodied today.

Also on this topic:
Welcoming the Stranger:
Signposts for Building Bridges and Making Peace.
By Nick Regnault

eBooks  |  Print

Speak It Plain:
Words for Worship and Life Together.
Meta Herrick Carlson.
Hbk 200pp. ISBN 9781506450636.

Fortress Press (2020).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Carlson delivers prayers, blessings, litanies, and liturgies for key moments in corporate worship and intimate gatherings of God’s people. This collection is intended as a companion to other resources already being used for planning worship and living together in Christian community.

She invites pastors and other leaders to pay attention to the great theology that sometimes is hidden beneath our high church language, patriarchal customs, and insular questions. Her language models healthy boundaries and marks life events, such as separation or divorce, political or civic grief, and anointing people in transition.

She hopes her prayers and litanies will help you speak it plain, that the weight of unspoken trauma will lose its power, the work of the people will be reclaimed by the people, and the assembly will be inspired to deeper connections between worship and the questions we are asking today.

Includes prayers for many occasions, seasonal blessings, and a variety of litanies and liturgies for use in various worship settings and special services. Selections intended for group use with group responses are available for download for all purchasers of the book.

Grace and Gigabytes:
Being Church in a Tech-Shaped Culture.
Ryan M. Panzer.
Pbk 184pp. ISBN 9781506464138.
Fortress Press (2020).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Drawing on experiences from a career as an instructional designer in the technology industry and a lifetime of leadership in the Lutheran church, Panzer argues that digital technology is not a set of tools, but a force for cultural transformation that has profound implications for ministry.

He explores shifts in culture that have heightened amid accelerated adoption and use of digital media. Just as previous revolutions in technology have disrupted culture, especially processes of cultural meaning-making related to faith and spirituality, so we are living through a powerful revolution of digital technology, culture, and spiritual thought.

This revolution calls the church to change. This needed change requires not so much a shift in tactics: launching a website, building a podcast, or starting a social media page.

The change is a philosophical pivot: prioritizing collaboration, making the flow of knowledge more dynamic, celebrating connection and creativity, and always affirming the question.

Panzer discusses each of these philosophical pivots, describing their technological origins. He tells stories of ministries that have aligned to this cultural moment. And he provides concrete recommendations for the practice of ministry in a digital age.

A Fellowship of Differents:
Showing the World God’s Design for Life Together
Scot McKnight.
Pbk 272pp. ISBN 9780310531470.

Zondervan (2016).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

In this compelling book about diversity and community, McKnight shares his personal experiences and his study of the Apostle Paul to answer this significant question: What is the church supposed to be?

Local churches matter far more than we often know because they determine what Christian life looks like for you.

McKnight explores the church as God’s world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the table to share life with one another as a new kind of family, showing the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be.

Radiant Church:
Restoring the Credibility of Our Witness.
Tara Beth Leach.
Pbk 216pp. ISBN 9780830847624.

IVP (2021).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Something is not right. Many Christians are alarmed by the decline in church attendance and seek a culprit. Too often, we point the finger away from the church, make culture the enemy, and build walls between us and others. Is there a better way?

Tara Beth Leach could easily be one of those millennials giving up on the church. Instead, she is a pastor who loves the church and is paradoxically hopeful for its future. In an era where the church has lost much of its credibility, Leach casts a radiant vision for Christians to rediscover a robust, attractive witness.

We can be sustained by practices that will tune our hearts to God’s and form us into the radiant communities God intends for us and those around us.


Living with the Climate Crisis:
Voices from Aotearoa.
Tom Doig (ed).
Pbk. ISBN 9781988587530.

Bridget Williams Books (2020).

See sale priced copy here:
March 2022 Stocktake Sale

The devastating summer of Australian bushfires underlined a terrifying sense of a world pushed to the brink. Then came Covid-19, and with it another dramatic lurch away from business as usual. Some observers are worried that the all-consuming effort to control the pandemic will distract us from the long term challenge of limiting catastrophic climate change.

At the same time, many people are hoping for a ‘green Covid-19 recovery’: a cleaner, fairer and safer world. This BWB Text brings together mātauranga Māori and Pasifika perspectives, voices from academia, activism, journalism and economics to bear witness to these troubled times.

Contributors: Patrick Crewdson, Shaun Hendy, Ingrid Horrocks, Maia Ingoe, Suzi Kerr, Ollie  Langridge, Meg Mundell, Jess Pasisi, Jacqueline Paul, Tamatha Paul, James Renwick, Aroha Spinks and Taa Ramsay Vili.

Purposeful Sexuality:
A Short Christian Introduction.
Ed Shaw.
Pbk 80pp. ISBN 9781789742831.

SPCK (2021).
[Allow 4 weeks].

If God means for us to save sex for marriage, why doesn’t he just zap us with sexuality on our wedding night? Why do most of us experience sexual feelings throughout our adult lives, not just in the safe confines of marriage? Is limiting marriage to the union of a man and a woman anything but outdated prejudice? What is our sexuality actually for?

Today’s culture overwhelmingly tells us that sex is essential for human flourishing. Far too often the church perpetuates the same message – as long as you are married.

But far from being liberating, this idolising of sex leaves us even more sexually broken than before.

With refreshing honesty and clarity, Shaw calls on the church to rediscover its confidence in the Bible’s teaching about our ability to experience or express sexual feelings. He points us to how God’s word reveals that sexuality’s ultimate purpose is to help us better know God and the full power of his passionate love. He shows us how this is surprisingly good news for all our joys and struggles with sexuality.


Creative Care:
A Revolutionary Approach to Dementia and Elder Care.
Now in Paperback.
Anne Basting.
Hbk 288pp. ISBN 9780062906182.

HarperOne (2021).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Early in her career, Basting noticed a problem: today’s elderly – especially those experiencing dementia and Alzheimer’s – are often isolated in nursing homes or segregated in elder-care settings, making the final years of life feel lonely and devoid of meaning. To alleviate their sense of aloneness, Basting developed a radical approach that combines methods from the world of theatre and improvisation with evidence-based therapies that connect people using their own creativity and imagination.

Rooted in 25 years of research, these new techniques draw on core creative exercises, such as “Yes, and….” and “Beautiful Questions.” This approach fosters storytelling and active listening, allowing elders to freely share ideas and stories without worrying about getting the details “correct.”

Basting’s research has shown that these practices stimulate the brain and awaken the imagination to add wonder and awe to patients’ daily lives – and provide them a means of connection, both with the world and with those caring for them.

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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