Mid-November 2019 Selection


Mid-November 2019 Selection

I respect former US president Jimmy Carter‘s politics and his ongoing community service while well into his 90s. Our mid-month selection is headed by his latest book Faith. This is followed by a book of Walter Brueggemann’s conversations about scripture, faith and relationships. I have also included two books about the mystic tradition, one about Therese of Lisieux and the other a collection by Murray Bodo.

Yancey Strickler sets out a manifesto for a more generous world, Lis Harris documents the lives of a Jewish family and a Palestinian family living in Jerusalem, and Amy-Jill Levine’s children’s picture book asks Who Is My Neighbor? There are also books about ministry in cities and about ministry in smaller towns.

I hope you find something of lasting value in this list.

Click here for our 2019 Advent and Christmas List
here for our selection of
Year A, 2020 preaching, worship and devotional books,
including Fresh from the Word 2019 – now in stock.

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[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 14 November 2019]

A Journey for All.
Jimmy Carter.
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9781501184437.

Simon & Schuster (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

In this powerful and personal reflection, former US President Jimmy Carter contemplates how faith has sustained him in happiness and disappointment and considers how we may find it in our own lives.  All his life, Carter has been a courageous exemplar of faith. Now he shares the lessons he learned.

Carter describes his belief in religious freedom, moral politics, and the place of prayer in his daily life. He examines faith’s many meanings, he describes how to accept it, live it, how to doubt and find faith again. This is a serious and moving reflection from one of America’s most admired and respected citizens.

He writes, “The issue of faith arises in almost every area of human existence, so it is important to understand its multiple meanings. In this book, my primary goal is to explore the broader meaning of faith, its far-reaching effect on our lives, and its relationship to past, present, and future events in America and around the world. The religious aspects of faith are also covered, since this is how the word is most often used, and I have included a description of the ways my faith has guided and sustained me, as well as how it has challenged and driven me to seek a closer and better relationship with people and with God.”

An On-Going Imagination:
A Conversation about Scripture, Faith, and the Thickness of Relationship
Walter Brueggeman; Clover Reuter Beal; Timothy Bea.
Pbk 128pp. ISBN 9780664264130.
Westminster John Knox (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann has always excelled at making the Bible approachable and engaging. Drawn from a series of public conversations with Brueggemann and his former student and longtime friend Clover Reuter Beal, this book explores Brueggemann’s most influential biblical-theological concepts and methods:

  • Why should we still bother with the Bible today?
  • What is the purpose of prayer, and what can it do for our lives?
  • How is keeping the Sabbath countercultural?
  • What does it mean to say that the God in the Bible is “a God in recovery”?

Intimate, provocative, and challenging, An On-Going Imagination offers an enlightening introduction to Brueggemann’s work for readers who want to learn more and a way back into the Bible for people who feel alienated from it by those on the right and the left who claim to have it all figured out.

Brueggemann and Beal reawaken us to the fascinating strangeness of biblical tradition and its incredible power to help us imagine new ways of seeing and being in the world. 

Together for the City:
How Collaborative Church Planting Leads to Citywide Movements
Neil Powell; John James.
Pbk 240pp. ISBN 9780830841530.

IVP Books (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

We need a bigger vision for the city. It’s not enough to plant individual churches in isolation from each other. The spiritual need and opportunity of our cities is too big for any one church to meet alone.

Pastors Neil Powell and John James contend that to truly transform a city, the gospel compels us to create localized, collaborative church planting movements. They share lessons learned and principles discovered from their experiences leading a successful citywide movement.

The more willing we are to collaborate across denominations and networks, the more effectively we will reach our communities – whatever their size – for Jesus. Come discover what God can do in our cities when we work together.

A maze of grace.
Natalie Yule Yeoman.
Pbk 306pp. ISBN 9780995115439.

The Cuba Press.(2019). 
[Allow 7-10 days].

In 2015, Dunedin teacher, writer and musician, Natalie Yule Yeoman was diagnosed with breast cancer. A Maze of Grace is the story of her response to the illness over a year, through diary entries, correspondence, poems, medical reports and family writings.

By cultivating her inner resources, including her Christian belief and disarming sense of humour, Natalie was able to find new ways of coping with the devastation of the illness as it progressed to secondary tumours and became incurable. Hers is a story of diagnoses, delays, mistakes, inquiries and apologies – but it is also a story of faith and community, hope and family.

Natalie’s wish is that her discoveries on this pilgrimage will be helpful for anyone going through a health crisis. For others, the story of this wahine toa who still lives life to the full will be quite simply an inspiration.

“This book warms both heart and soul. There are many ways to cope with adversity and Natalie’s account may not apply to everyone but it does offer many wise insights and illustrates the magnificence of the human spirit.” Dr David Perez, oncologist

The Way of Simple Love:
Inspiring Words from Therese of Lisieux.
Gary Caster.
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9781632532824.

Franciscan Media (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Through her autobiography and an extensive collection of letters, St. Thérèse helped people understand that nothing was too little to give Jesus, and nothing done out of love for him was insignificant. Perhaps this is why so many lives still resonate with hers.

It is easy to feel insignificant and unimportant. Yet, the clear and compelling language of her story and her letters remains the perfect antidote to such feelings. Fr. Gary Caster writes, “While the language she uses might be new to you, the insights she offers are as eternal as the God who loves us and longs for each of us to be united with him, in the Son, through the Holy Spirit, for all eternity.”

These inspiring words from her writings have been selected and arranged according to important themes of the spiritual life: confidence, holiness, humility, abandonment, obedience, the love of God, mercy, charity, and suffering. Her devotion to Jesus, Mary, and the Eucharist shine through all of her writings.

Twelve Who Reveal God’s Love (Enlarged/Expanded).
Murray Bodo.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9781632532848.

Franciscan Media (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Christianity is a mysterious faith. Some of these mysteries can be described with Scripture or doctrine, but others can only be experienced. Those graced with these experiences, these intimate glimpses of God, are called mystics. Murray Bodo’s sensitive guidance leads us into the heart of what these mystics have expressed about God and how their insight can deepen our own experience of the boundless mystery of a loving God.

This updated and expanded edition includes new chapters on St. Clare and St. Bonaventure.

In Jerusalem:
Three Generations of an Israeli Family and a Palestinian Family.
Lis Harris.
Hbk 272pp. ISBN 9780807029688.
Beacon Press (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

A fresh lens on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that examines the life-shaping reverberations of wars and ongoing tensions upon the everyday lives of families in Jerusalem.

Harris has been working on In Jerusalem for over a decade, and she has gotten to know each extended family over this length of time. She also draws on the important recent work of Israeli and Palestinian historians that re-examines the extent of the devastation and violence against Palestinians during the founding of Israel and at key moments in its history.

An American, secular, diasporic Jew, Lis Harris grew up with the knowledge of the historical wrongs done to Jews. In adulthood, she developed a growing awareness of the wrongs they in turn had done to the Palestinian people. This gave her an intense desire to understand how the Israelis’ history led them to where they are now.

Shuttling back and forth over ten years between East and West Jerusalem, Harris came to know members of each family – young and old, religious and secular, male and female. As they shared their histories with her, she looked at how each family survived the losses and dislocations that defined their lives; how, in a region where war and its threat were part of the very air they breathed, they gave children hope for their future; and how the adults’ understanding of the conflict evolved over time.

Harris has created a moving portrait of one of the most complicated and controversial conflicts of our time.


Paul the Progressive?:
The Compassionate Christian’s Guide to Reclaiming the Apostle as an Ally.
Eric C Smith.
Pbk 160pp. ISBN 9780827231726.

Chalice Press (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

The apostle Paul often gets a bad rap with progressive Christians, primarily due to his reputation as being anti-woman, anti-Jew, anti-sex, pro-slavery, and a guilt-mongerer. But what if Paul isn’t really Progressive Christianity’s Enemy #1, but rather a strong biblical ally for justice and inclusion?

A generation of biblical scholars have sparked a revolution in thinking about the apostle Paul. Now, bible scholar and progressive Christian pastor Eric C Smith is helping Christians to see how that revolution makes a difference for people engaged in the work of justice and inclusion.

Smith revisits Paul in the light of modern biblical scholarship, telling the story of a Paul who challenged the norms of his day, broke down barriers of gender and ethnicity, and re-imagined God’s plan for the world in terms of radical inclusion and salvation available to everyone.

Interpreting the New Testament.
Francis J Moloney; Sherri Brown.
Pbk 210pp. ISBN 9780802875198.

Eerdmans (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

This new textbook effectively introduces students to the art and craft of biblical interpretation. New Testament scholars Sherri Brown and Francis Moloney begin by orienting students to the world of the Bible, exploring contemporary methods for interpreting the biblical literature, and showing how the Old Testament is foundational to the formation of the New Testament.

The book proceeds to lead readers through the books of the New Testament by genre:

  • The Narratives: Gospels and Acts
  • Paul and His Letters
  • Hebrews and the Catholic Epistles
  • Apocalyptic Literature and the Book of Revelation

Unlike book-by-book introductory textbooks that tend to overshadow the primary biblical text with lots of detailed information, Brown and Moloney facilitate the study of the New Testament itself. Their concluding chapter reflects on the challenge of the New Testament to our present world.

Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.
Benjamin L Corey.
Pbk 240pp. ISBN 9780062471604.

HarperOne (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Corey thought he was suffering a crisis of faith, but it turned out to be a spiritual awakening. He became aware that the constant fear of hell and judgment that defined his Christian faith, was out of sync with the idea that God acts from love and promises to deliver us from fear.

In the wake of this realisation came newfound insights – from reading the Bible to re-examining American life and the church’s role in the wider world. Corey learned that what he had been taught was a distorted version of Christianity that was not only untrue but caused real spiritual harm.

He also discovered that he wasn’t alone. Many Christians are yearning to distinguish between the Christianity that has become a rigid American civil religion and the authentic Christian faith embodied in Jesus. As he recounts his own spiritual journey, Corey offers a powerful and inspiring message of hope for every Christian increasingly frustrated with the church today.

Do not be discouraged, he assures them. You do not need to give up your faith; you can rediscover the reality of a vibrant Christianity that delivers us from fear and inspires and guides us all today.

Worship Like Jesus:
A Guide for Every Follower.
Constance M Cherry.
Pbk 128pp. ISBN 9781501881473.
Westminster John Knox (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Worship Like Jesus guides Christ-followers through the essential features of Christian worship, transforming our understanding and experience of worship. This can lead people – even entire congregations – to experience worship in exciting and profound ways as never before. This type of worship also leads people into deeper and more committed discipleship. Imagine a community of fully engaged, deeply committed disciples!

Revered author and scholar Constance Cherry offers this practical and foundational resource for ministry leaders and their worship communities.

At the end of each chapter, an exercise is suggested to help people take a practical step toward greater participation and engagement. A Leader Guide is included as an Appendix. This equips pastors, worship leaders and others to facilitate group study of the book. It is a powerful tool for transforming leadership teams and entire congregations.

Who Is My Neighbor?
Amy-Jill Levine; Sandy Eisenberg Sasso; Denise Turu illust.
Hbk 32pp. ISBN 9781947888074.

Flyaway Books (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Blues and Yellows just don’t mix, and that’s how it’s always been. No one remembers why. But then comes the day Midnight Blue takes a tumble along the road. His friends Navy and Powder Blue don’t even stop to help! It’s only when a Yellow comes along that everything changes forever.

This creative story is sure to prompt rich conversations, encouraging new ways of seeing our neighbours and ourselves. A note for parents and educators is included.

The Reading Life:
The Joy of Seeing New Worlds Through Others’ Eyes.
C S Lewis.
Hbk 192pp. ISBN 9780062849977. HarperOne (2019).

[Allow 2-3 weeks].

More than 50 years after his death, revered intellectual and teacher C. S. Lewis continues to speak to readers, thanks not only to his intellectual insights on Christianity but also his wondrous creative works and deep reflections on the literature that influenced his life. Cultivated from his many essays, articles, and letters, as well as his classic works, The Reading Life provides guidance and reflections on the love and enjoyment of books.

Engaging and enlightening, this well-rounded collection includes Lewis’ reflections on science fiction, why children’s literature is for readers of all ages, and why we should read two old books for every new one.

Discover Joy in Work:
Transforming Your Occupation Into Your Vocation.
Shundrawn A Thomas.
Hbk 224pp. ISBN 9780830845743.
IVP Books (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

We are meant to experience joy in our work. But many of us struggle to find a sense of purpose or fulfillment in what we do. Is it possible for us to truly flourish in our work? Business executive Shundrawn Thomas reveals how work is intended to produce lasting value and should be meaningful and productive. A healthy attitude toward work and the workplace requires intentionality and effort. Thomas helps us to a greater understanding of our abilities and passions, which in turn will help us develop into the people we are meant to be.

He addresses issues of work ethic, character formation, and work-life synergy to find better harmony between what we do and who we are. Through empirical research and real-life stories, Thomas reveals fundamental truths in easy-to-remember concepts for joy at work regardless of occupation, age, or career stage. You are designed to flourish in your workplace. Come on this journey to transcend your occupation and discover your true vocation.

Holy Disunity:
How What Separates Us Can Save Us
. Layton E Williams.
Pbk 215pp. ISBN 9780664265663.

Westminster John Knox (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Layton E. Williams proposes that our primary calling as humans is not to create unity but rather to seek authentic relationship with God, ourselves, one another, and the world around us. And that means actively engaging those with whom we disagree.

Our religious, political, social, and cultural differences can create doubt and tension, but disunity also provides surprising gifts of perspective and grace. By analysing conflict and rifts in both modern culture and Scripture, Williams explores how our disagreements and differences–our disunity–can ultimately redeem us.

I See You:
How Love Opens Our Eyes to Invisible People.
Terence Lester.
Pbk 184pp. ISBN 9780830845729.

IVP Books (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

It can be easy to overlook the poor and homeless. But truly seeing leads us to act with compassion and justice. Sharing personal encounters and real-life stories, Lester calls us to see the invisible people around us through God’s eyes, restoring their dignity and helping them flourish.

And when we recognise our own inner spiritual poverty, we have greater empathy for others, no matter their circumstances. Let love open your eyes.

A Big Gospel in Small Places:
Why Ministry in Forgotten Communities Matters
Stephen Witmer.
Pbk 216pp. ISBN 9780830841554.

IVP Books (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

As a ministry strategy, focusing on big places makes sense. But the gospel of Jesus is often unstrategic. In this book, pastor Stephen Witmer lays out an integrated theological vision for small-place ministry. Filled with helpful information about small places and with stories and practical advice from his own ministry, Witmer’s book offers a compelling, comprehensive vision for small-place ministry today.

Jesus loves small places, and when we care deeply about them and invest in them over time, our ministry becomes a unique picture of the gospel–one that the world badly needs to see.

Life with St Benedict:
The Rule reimagined for everyday living.
Richard Frost.
Pbk 208pp. ISBN 9780857468130.

BRF (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

The Rule of St Benedict has much to say about faith, work and daily living. In a time when many are seeking space, silence and spiritual depth, the Rule retains relevance in a world where change is often feared, stability can be elusive, and busyness interferes with listening to God. Life with St Benedict provides daily reflections on the Rule as an aid to enabling personal spiritual growth and prayer.

Benedictine communities use a well-established pattern of daily readings to enable the entire Rule to be considered over a four-month period. Life with St Benedict follows this pattern. Each four-month long period begins on 1 January, 2 May and 1 September and each entry shows three dates on which it can be read. There are 122 readings and reflections in each period.

Post-theistic Prayers for Progressive Congregations
Roger Lee Ray.
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9781532684166.

Resource Publications (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

A user friendly resource for congregations, church leaders and people interested in experiencing a more progressive devotional and meditation experience. The Meditations are modern, timely and relevant. They do not invoke an orthodox super-transcendent deity or call on superstition or magic to deal with real-world issues and concerns. These “prayers” or meditations are intended to impact the person who is praying and not simply cajole, bargain, or somehow call upon the involvement of an “other-worldly” deity to solve human issues or problems.

These meditations are empowering because they implore people of any faith to use their own human physical, emotional and spiritual resources to address contemporary concerns.

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.