Mid-April 2020 Selection

Mid-April 2020 Selection

Dear customers

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This selection includes books about church ministry, mission in the local community, talking about faith and the Bible with children, social justice activism, and the state of the world, including ecological issues.

There are new books by popular authors Stephen Cottrell about ordained ministry and Bart Ehrman about the history of the development of ideas about Heaven and Hell.

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[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 8 April 2020]

Part-Time Is Plenty:
Thriving Without Full-Time Clergy.
Jeffrey MacDonald.
Pbk 180pp. ISBN 9780664265991.
Westminster John Knox (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

Churches experiencing numerical and financial decline may dread the day when they can no longer afford a full-time pastor. Freeing up funds that would go to a full-time salary sure would help the budget – maybe even enough to turn things around – but is it even possible to run effective ministries with just a half- or quarter-time professional?

Journalist and part-time pastor Jeffrey MacDonald says Yes – churches can grow more vibrant than ever, tapping into latent energy and undiscovered gifts, revitalising worship, and engaging in more effective ministry with the community.

Readers get a much-needed playbook for helping congregations to thrive with a part-time ministry model. They learn to see the model in a new light: to stop viewing part-time as a problem to be eradicated and to instead embrace it as a divine gift that facilitates a higher level of lay engagement, responsibility, playfulness, and creativity.

Let There Be Light:
30 Days with a Great Spiritual Teacher. Hildegard of Bingen, John Kirvan (editor).
Pbk 120pp. ISBN 9781594719776.

Ave Maria (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

An easy-to-use devotional that encourages you to experience the light of God in your daily life. This book offers you a personal, 30-day retreat based on the spiritual insight and wisdom of St. Hildegard of Bingen, the Benedictine who was canonised in 2012. Rather than a mystic who wrote out of an intense personal experience of God, St. Hildegard is more properly seen as a visionary and a prophet who provides complex images in her writing that are ripe for interpretation.

As you reflect on the images offered to her by God, Hildegard offers you a path to live in the light of God each moment of the day.  The book offers a brief and accessible morning meditation drawn from the author’s writings, a simple mantra for use throughout the day, and a night prayer to focus your thoughts as the day ends.

Connections: Year A, Volume 3:
Season After Pentecost.
Joel B Green; Thomas G Long; Luke A Powery; Cynthia L Rigby; Sharp Carolyn J eds.
Hbk 400pp. ISBN 9780664262396.

Westminster John Knox (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

This volume contains lections for the Season after Pentecost

For each worship day this book links the individual lection reading with Scripture as a whole as well as to the larger world. In addition, it places each Psalm reading in conversation with the other lections for the day to highlight the themes of the liturgical season. Sidebars offer additional connections to Scripture for each Sunday or worship day.

Designed to empower preachers as they lead their congregations to connect their lives to Scripture, the book features a broad set of interpretive tools that provide commentary and worship aids o the Revised Common Lectionary.

This nine-volume series is a practical, constructive, and valuable resource for preachers who seek to help congregations connect more closely with Scripture.

How Reclaiming Human Worth and Embracing Radical Kindness Will Bring Us Back Together.
Ashlee Eiland.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9780525653431.
Waterbrook Press (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

From a talented storyteller, peacemaker, and advocate comes a powerful invitation to bridge the canyons of difference and disunity that exist all around us. With grace and humility, Ashlee invites you to chart your own formative journey and recognise your inherent value, cultivating empathy so you can see the image of God in your most difficult neighbours.

Eiland shares her compelling story of being a black woman living on two sides of the fence: as the token black girl in majority-white spaces, and as the “whitewashed” black girl in majority black spaces. As she discovers her own unique worth through these recollections, Ashlee learns that extending radical kindness toward every person – regardless of their social status, political views, or religious beliefs – gives us hope and rekindles our common humanity.

“In her tenderly written book, Ashlee draws on a range of personal experiences to explore how life fashions identity. She reflects on big themes, from the love of family to the brutality of racism and the search for belonging, and calls us to greater awareness of the stories and systems still shaping our lives and communities. Through her deeply personal words, Ashlee leads us toward a grace-filled vision of humanity in which we see the imago Dei in ourselves and one another and live it in the everyday. ‘Human(Kind)’ indeed.”
Jo Saxton, leadership coach and author of The Dream of You

Spiritual Conversations with Children:
Listening to God Together.
Lacy Finn Borgo.
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9780830846696.
IVP Books (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

We are born into this world with a natural longing to connect to God and other human beings. When children have a listening companion who hears, acknowledges, and encourages their early experiences with God, it creates a spiritual footprint that shapes their lives. How can we increase our capacity to engage children in spiritual conversations?

Borgo offers an overview of childhood spiritual formation and introduces key skills for engaging conversation – posture, power, and patterns – from a Christ-centred perspective.

The book includes:

  • Sample interactive dialogues with children
  • Ideas for engaging children with play, art, and movement
  • Prayers to use together

Whether you are a parent or grandparent, pastor or spiritual director, you will find this to be a friendly guide into deeper ways of listening.

Wondering about the Bible with Children:
Engaging a Child’s Curiosity about the Bible.
Elizabeth Caldwell.
Pbk 160pp. ISBN 9781501899034.
Abingdon Press (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

Help the Bible become a life-long companion for faith and spiritual growth for the children in your church.

Caldwell encourages natural curiosity and wonder as they read the biblical faith stories.

This book addresses questions such as:

  • How do we talk about miracle stories, healing stories, and the creation stories? What about violence?
  • What’s my role in helping children learn about the Bible and feel comfortable asking questions about what they read?
  • When kids ask about the relevancy of the Bible for today, what do we say?
  • How we read and interpret the Bible with children may mean the difference between whether or not it will continue to be an important source for their faith development as they become young adults. We want to teach them in ways that they don’t have to unlearn later.

The Hidden Goddess:
The Quest for the Divine Feminine in the Judeo-Christian Tradition – From Asherah to Mary Magdalene.
Laurie Martin-Gardner.
Pbk 104pp. ISBN 9781785359088.

Moon Books (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

Delve into the Bible to uncover the goddesses that have been buried within it. As well as discussing familiar figures such as Eve and Mary, the book also features Asherah, Sophia, Lilith, and others, exploring their histories, their roles in early Judaic Christian belief and their subsequent suppression.

“…a readable and accessible antidote to the stereotype that the divine feminine is absent in the biblical traditions. A great resource for women and men seeking the Goddess in unlikely places.” Professor Mary Ann Beavis, Ph.D., St. Thomas More College

Also on this topic:
Sophia and Daughters Revisited:
Reflections on Women of Biblical Connection.
Rosalie Sugrue.
PGPL (2019)

Print $30.00, eBooks $14.99.

Images of Christians:
8 Studies for Individuals or Groups
(Lifeguide Bible Studies).
Bill Weimer.
Pbk 58pp. ISBN 9780830831180.

IVP (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

Scripture offers various metaphors and motifs for God’s people: sheep, salt and light, branches, clay jars, friends, disciples, and more. This eight-session Bible Study explores some of the images that can form and shape our life with God.

Topics are:

  1. Disciples, Mark 8:27-38
  2. Beloved Friends, 3 John 1:1-14
  3. Givers, 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 9:6-15
  4. Ambassadors, 2 Corinthians 5:14-21
  5. Rescuees, Colossians 1:9-14, 21-23
  6. Reconcilers, Philemon 1:1-25
  7. Runners, Hebrews 12:1-13
  8. Worshipers, Revelation 5:1-14; 19:1-8
    & Leader’s Notes

What Teenagers Are Teaching the Church about Joy.
Kenda Creasy Dean; Wesley W Ellis; Justin Forbes; Abigail Visco Rusert.
Pbk 176pp. ISBN 9780802877802.
Eerdmans (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

What would youth ministry look like if it were based on a pursuit of authentic Christian joy?

Grounding youth ministry in joy rather than in fear models a way forward for the church. It reminds us that youth ministry is not a tool for anxious congregations to use to ensure their survival. Rather, youth ministry – like all ministry – is a way to help people name and experience God’s delight, free from fear and anxiety about their futures.

There are reflection questions at the end of each chapter, which make the book easy for youth ministers, volunteers, and pastors to pick up and use immediately – tapping into young people’s instinctive desire for joy for the entire church, as well as for ministry with teenagers.

Loving Your Community:
Proven Practices for Community-Based Outreach Ministry.
Stephen Viars.
Pbk 240pp. ISBN 9780801094781.

Baker Books (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

This practical guide for equipping local churches, and individual Christians, seeking to do effective community-based outreach, includes real-life examples of how these strategies have been successfully implemented.

  • Are you and your church making a difference in your community?
  • Are you meeting needs in a positive, proactive, and loving way?

Too often when churches are presented with a need outside their walls, they operate on the principle of, “Say no unless you have to say yes.”

Drawing on more than 30 years of service to the community surrounding Faith Church in Indiana, pastor Viars shows you how to develop a dynamic, giving relationship with your community, one in which your natural response to needs is “Yes! How can we help?”

No matter the size, location, demographics, or issues in your community, the approach found in this practical book will help you improve people’s lives, draw them into productive conversation about the hope you have in Christ, and glorify God.

An Unhurried Life:
Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest
(Revised and Expanded).
Alan Fadling.
Hbk 216pp. ISBN 9780830846726.
IVP Books (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

“I am a recovering speed addict.” Beginning with this confession, pastor and spiritual director Alan Fadling describes his journey out of the fast lane and into the rhythms of Jesus. Following the framework of Jesus’ earthly life, Fadling shows how the work of “unhurrying” ourselves is central to our spiritual development in pivotal areas such as resisting temptation, caring for others, praying, and making disciples.

We are all called to do work, Fadling affirms, and productivity is not a sin. It is the attitudes behind our work that can be our undoing. So how do we find balance between our sense of calling and the call to rest? An Unhurried Life offers a way.

This revised edition, now in hardcover, includes a new five-session group guide and appendix with suggestions for five-minute retreats.

Seeds of Justice:
Organizing Your Church to Transform the World.
Alex Tindal Wiesendanger.
Pbk 160pp. ISBN 9781626983656.

Orbis Books (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

Why do the values of Gospel justice we hear preached on Sundays seem so different from the reality we see in our communities? How can our churches actually change policies and laws that deeply violate the teachings of Jesus?

Drawing on long experience working in churches and faith-based communities around issues of social justice, Alex Tindal Wiesendanger offers a handbook to translate a commitment to social justice into effective action.

Beginning with the need to move beyond charity to justice, he then guides readers from being activists to becoming agents of transformation within their church and the world. This involves learning how to build power through relationships and listening. Finally, it means developing congregations capable of wielding power in the public sphere.

Heaven and Hell:
A History of the Afterlife.
Bart Ehrman.
Hbk 352pp. ISBN 9781501136733.

Simon & Schuster (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

Where did the ideas of heaven and hell come from, and why do they endure? What happens when we die?

One of Ehrman’s startling conclusions is that there never was a single Greek, Jewish, or Christian understanding of the afterlife, but numerous competing views. Moreover, these views did not come from nowhere; they were intimately connected with the social, cultural, and historical worlds out of which they emerged. Only later, in the early Christian centuries, did they develop into the notions of eternal bliss or damnation widely accepted today.

In clear and compelling terms, Ehrman recounts the long history of the afterlife, ranging from The Epic of Gilgamesh up to the writings of Augustine, focusing especially on the teachings of Jesus and his early followers. He discusses ancient guided tours of heaven and hell, in which a living person observes the sublime blessings of heaven for those who are saved and the horrifying torments of hell for the damned. Some of these accounts take the form of near death experiences, the oldest on record, with intriguing similarities to those reported today.

As a historian, Ehrman doesn’t provide a definitive answer to the question of what happens after death. But he does the next best thing. By helping us reflect on where our ideas of the afterlife come from, he assures us that even if there may be something to hope for when we die, there is certainly nothing to fear.

This Is God’s Table:

Finding Church Beyond the Walls
Anna Woofenden.
Pbk 272pp. ISBN 9781513804835.

Herald Press (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

 As churches across the Western world wither, what would it take to find a raw, honest, gritty way of doing church – one rooted in place, nurtured by grace, and grounded in God’s expansive love? What would it take to carry the liturgy outside the gates? What if we were to discover that in feeding others, we are fed? This is God’s table. Come and eat.

This is the story of an audacious journey. It’s the story of what happens when people garden, worship, and eat together–and invite anyone and everyone to join them. Pastor Anna Woofenden describes the way that the wealthy and the poor, the aged and the young, the housed and unhoused become a community in this once-empty lot. Together they plant and sustain a thriving urban farm, worship God, and share a weekly meal. Together they craft a shared life and a place of authenticity where all are welcome.

Bread for the Resistance:
Forty Devotions for Justice People.
Donna Barbe.
Pbk 168pp. ISBN 9780830843961.

IVP Books (2019).
[Allow 4 weeks].

Sometimes you get tired, doing this thing we call justice. You feel burned out or disillusioned. Sometimes you just need a word from the Lord. In these daily devotions, Donna Barber offers life-giving words of renewal and hope for those engaged in the resistance to injustice. When your legs are tired from marching and your knees are bruised from kneeling, you can experience rest and healing.

“As a Christian leader with a lifelong commitment to whole-gospel discipleship, I often struggle to find a devotional guide that speaks into all aspects of my faith and life. Donna Barber’s book is a treasure. Her courageous honesty and vulnerability, rooted in a profound and vibrant relationship with Jesus that leads her into a life of radical faithfulness, brings me home every time. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who needs bread for the journey.” Alexia Salvatierra, co-author of Faith-Rooted Organizing

Like There’s No Tomorrow:
Climate Crisis, Eco-Anxiety and God.
Frances Ward.
Pbk 254pp. ISBN 9781789590883.

Sacristy Press (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

Christians often don’t know how to respond to the climate crisis and messages of possible destruction caused by human activity. Frances Ward shows how Christians can live and act with hope and faith in God in the face of eco-anxiety.

Christians often find it difficult to talk or preach or engage with the possibility of climate catastrophe and an uninhabitable earth, for the questions are enormous. Faith in God needs to engage with the reality of the tragic loss of creation through anthropogenic impact.

  • If we’re living in the end times, then how should we live?
  • Wracked with grief, anxiety and guilt, with foreboding deep as death?
  • How is it possible to live hopefully, even as we face realistically the inevitability of the radical impact of an unpredictable climate, rising sea levels, the collapse of biodiversity?
  • How do we remain faithful to God and loving to our neighbour, particularly if our neighbours are exiles and immigrants because their homes are no longer inhabitable?
  • What do we tell our children and grandchildren, so they don’t grow up completely overwhelmed by anxiety, such that mental illness levels continue to soar?

Frances Ward attempts to think through some of these questions; to continue to have faith, hope, and love in response to God. It is a Christian response to eco-anxiety, a theological and contemplative reflection to sustain a fierce hope that hopes against hope. It is a deep lament that provokes a fierce hope to enable humanity to live life to the full, like there’s no tomorrow.

Our House Is on Fire:
Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis.
Greta Thunberg, SvanteThunberg; Malena Ernman; Beata Ernman.
Pbk 288pp. ISBN.9780143133575

Penguin (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

When climate activist Greta Thunberg was eleven, her parents Malena and Svante, and her little sister Beata, were facing a crisis in their own home. Greta had stopped eating and speaking, and her mother and father had reconfigured their lives to care for her. Desperate and searching for answers, her parents discovered what was at the heart of Greta’s distress: her imperiled future on a rapidly heating planet.

Steered by Greta’s determination to understand the truth and generate change, they began to see the deep connections between their own suffering and the planet’s. Written by a remarkable family and told through the voice of an iconoclastic mother, here is the story of how they fought their problems at home by taking global action. And it is the story of how Greta decided to go on strike from school, igniting a worldwide rebellion.

“A must-read ecological message of hope… Everyone with an interest in the future of this planet should read this book.” David Mitchell, The Guardian

Mystical Activism:
Transforming a World in Crisis.
John C. Robinson.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9781789044188.

John Hunt Publishing (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

“Mystical Activism is a book that is urgently needed in this time of environmental and cultural crisis, reminding us that frightening statistics and apocalyptic predictions are not enough – that the wisdom and will that can save our planet can only come from deep experience of the sacredness of life on Earth. This book is a beautiful, practice-filled guide to accessing mystical consciousness and committing to using the soul gifts we find there in service to a world teetering on a knife’s edge between collapse and transformation.” Ron Pevny, Director of the Center for Conscious Eldering and author of Conscious Living, Conscious Aging.

We each hold the power to change the world right where we are. To call these “end times” is not hyperbole. We are in trouble and the signs are everywhere: extreme political divisions; xenophobic violence; enormous wealth inequity; poverty and homelessness; racism, sexism, and ageism; arms build-ups and unending wars; and, most critical of all, terrifying climate disruption associated with human-made global warming.

We are the cause of these dark times. Driven by left-brain beliefs, illusions and obsessions, humanity races headlong toward the collapse of civilisation.

Robinson contends that the solution to these mounting crises also lies in the human psyche, arising from a most surprising source: the right-brain’s natural mystical consciousness. Our survival depends on whether we grasp and resolve this paradox in time.

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.

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 books@pgpl.co.nz works best.