Mid-November 2021 Selection

Mid-November 2021 Selection

Topics of books in this selection include:

  • How to lead prayers in public
  • Being human in the Christian tradition
  • Stories based on collections at the Alexander Turnbull Library
  • Journeying through grief
  • A one-year lectionary based on stories of women in the Bible, and 
  • A critique of neoliberalism

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[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 14 November 2021]

Will You Pray with Me:
A Guide for Those Who Pray in Public.
Steve Langhofer; Anne Williams.
Pbk 144pp. ISBN 9781791013431.

Abingdon Press (2021).

See sale priced copies here:
March 2022 Stocktake Sale

Learn to capably lead others in prayer, in any setting, on any occasion.

This is a short course, in book form, for all who lead others in prayer. The authors teach methods and techniques for writing and leading prayers in traditional church services, special services, for hospital visits, in impromptu situations, and in many other less conventional spaces and circumstances. They include multiple examples of different types of prayer, with analysis alongside the prayer texts to help the reader understand what the methods look like in ‘real life’.

The book begins with a set of basic principles, the essential skills and strategies for leading prayer. Subsequent chapters cover writing techniques, tips and habits for effective delivery of prayers aloud, and guidance for specific challenges, including prayer during times of social distancing and pandemic. Also included is a rich selection of prayers for readers to use in their own church services or other settings, or for personal devotion.

Ideal for pastors, chaplains, congregational care ministers, lay worship leaders, and students in seminary or other ministry training courses.

No Cure for Being Human:
(And Other Truths I Need to Hear).
Kate Bowle.
Hbk 224pp. ISBN 9780593230770.

Random House (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Kate Bowler believed that life was a series of unlimited choices, until she discovered, at age 35, that her body was wracked with cancer. She searches for a way forward as she mines the wisdom (and absurdity) of today’s “best life now” advice industry, which insists on exhausting positivity and on trying to convince us that we can out-eat, out-learn, and out-perform our humanness. We are, she finds, as fragile as the day we were born.

With dry wit and unflinching honesty, Kate Bowler grapples with her diagnosis, her ambition, and her faith as she tries to come to terms with her limitations in a culture that says anything is possible. She finds that we need one another if we’re going to tell the truth: Life is beautiful and terrible, full of hope and despair and everything in between – and there’s no cure for being human.

The Celebration Place.
Dorena Williamson; Erin Bennett Banks illust.
Hbk 32pp. ISBN 9781514002582.

IVP (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

No longer is church a divided space Now it’s a celebration place! Church is more than just a building – it’s a gathering of God’s people to celebrate who God is and all that God has done. It’s also where we learn about God’s vision for justice and unity. That was the message that Dr Martin Luther King Jr. shared, and it continues to be an important message for us today.

Because of God’s great love, church should be the best celebration place! This delightful rhyme, accompanied by colourful illustrations, will be enjoyed by children and the adults who read with them.

Also included is a note from the author to encourage further conversation about the content. Discover IVP Kids and share with children the things that matter to God!

Made in the Image of God:
Being Human in the Christian Tradition.
Michael Fuller and David Jasper (editors), et al.
Pbk 288pp. ISBN 9781789591705.
Sacristy Press (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

What does it mean to be human and made in the image of God?

This collection of essays explores the question from a wide range of theological and philosophical perspectives.

The question of our humanity has never been more pressing or uncertain.

  • As human beings, is our nature simply biological?
  • What is the place of philosophy and theology in determining our self-understanding?
  • Are we dependent on our relationships with one another?
  • Are we creatures created by God?
  • Is our physical death an end of our being?

All these questions are discussed in this book, which addresses the question of what it is to be human, made in the image of God. Its 12 essays cover a wide range of perspectives ranging from the Bible to issues in science and gender.

God Turned Toward Us:
The ABCs of Christian Faith.
Will Willimon.
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9781791018894.

Abingdon Press (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

God Turned Toward Us is no ordinary book about Christian beliefs and practices. Rather, it is a sometimes jarring, always interesting, consistently insightful, and persistently provocative invitation to “talk the talk and walk the walk” of Christian discipleship. Addressing topics from A (Abortion) to Z (Zaccheus), Bishop Willimon prods us to listen more attentively to the God who continues to speak amid the confusion and turmoil of our times. This is a valuable resource for individuals and groups who genuinely want to hear a word from the Lord.”
Kenneth Carder, Retired Bishop of The United Methodist Church

A challenge of the Christian life is learning to talk Christian. Somebody has got to tell us, give us the words that open the door to the faith called Christian. Each of us is due the delight of discovery that in submitting to God’s talk to us.

This book of reflections on the words the church uses to communicate the faith, is organised by the words the church teaches us to use to talk about ordinary life apprehended by a God who is Jesus Christ-short, meditative reflections upon key concepts that guide Christians, new or longstanding.

Gospel of the Kingdom:
Exploring the Gospel of Mark.
Patrick Whitworth.
Pbk 150pp. ISBN 9781789591798.

Sacristy Press (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

In this accessible guide to the shortest and oldest of the Gospels in the New Testament, Patrick Whitworth explores some of the key texts and themes of the Gospel of Mark.

From the outset, Marks Gospel proclaims Jesus as the Messiah (Christ) and Son of God and centres on Jesus’s announcement of the God’s kingdom. It is this kingdom that is at the heart of Jesus’s ministry and passion and entrances Mark.

Breath-taking in style, vivid in content, powerful in concept, the Gospel of Mark makes known Jesus of Galilee in a way which is ever fresh and ever challenging to the ways of the world and self-centred human life; and calls for a response of repentance, conversion and faith.

Mark’s Gospel was written in Rome, the political centre of the ancient world. Its author was a follower of ‘the Way’ and likely an eyewitness of the ministry of Jesus. The Good News according to Mark relies on the recollections of the apostle Peter and was the pioneering prototype of the New Testament Gospels.

Te Kupenga:
101 stories of Aotearoa from the Turnbull.
Michael Keith; Chris Szekely.
Hbk.272pp. ISBN 9780995143173.

Massey University Press (2021).
[Allow 10 days].

Published to mark 100 years since the establishment of the famous Alexander Turnbull Library, one of New Zealand’s great storehouses, this energetic, comprehensive book approaches the history of Aotearoa New Zealand through 101 remarkable objects. Each tells a story, be it of discovery, courage, dispossession, conflict, invention, creation, or conservation.

The objects range from letters and paintings to journals, photographs, posters, banners and books. The place each has in the patchwork of the narrative creates a vivid overall view of the people of this place and the unique histories they have made together.

An invaluable resource for schools and the home, and a great way to dive into our history, Te Kupenga takes us deep inside the remarkable Turnbull collection and sheds light on who we are.

To look inside, click here

Out of the Blue:
A guide through the journey of grief and healing. Mary Redmayne.
Pbk 64pp. ISBN 9780473536633.

Mahara Press (2020). 
[Allow 10 days].

The journey of grief after the sudden loss of a loved one can be terribly hard. So painful.

Mary Redmayne shares a path through grief which came to her with God’s prompting during a walk in the New Zealand bush. Her evocative photographs, prayers, and poetry supplement and support the text, along with Bible quotes and suggested songs and music which come with a playlist.

The second half offers inspiration for healing through a wide range of sensory and meditative experiences, and uplifting photographs.

While everyone’s grief is so individual, this book lets you know you are not alone.

“Mary gives us, in this beautiful & kind book, a song of ascent; a grace-filled way to carry our grief out of the darkness and into light. Kanuitemihi.” Reverend Māmari Stephens

“Thank you so much for Out of the Blue. It has been such a blessing to read and sit with for me in this time. The way that Mary pairs the grief journey with the New Zealand bush is both humble and honouring and through this pathway she opens a generous, comforting and real connection with the Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life.” + Bishop Eleanor Sanderson

Also on this topic:

The Grief Walk:
Losing, Grieving, and Journeying on to Something New.
Alister G. Hendery.
216pp PDF, ePub, Mobi eBooks
PGPL (2020). 
[Order eBooks at Payhip.
Immediate download].


Shifting Grounds:
Deep Histories of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.
Lucy Mackintosh.
Hbk 300pp. ISBN 9781988587332.

Bridget Williams Books (2021). 
[Allow 10 days].

In a city that has forgotten and erased much of its history, there are still places where traces of the past can be found.

Deep histories, both natural and human, have been woven together over hundreds of years in places across Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, forming potent sites of national significance. This stunning book unearths these histories in three iconic landscapes:

  • Pukekawa/Auckland Domain,
  • Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill and
  • the Ōtuataua Stonefields at Ihumātao.

Approaching landscapes as an archive, Lucy Mackintosh delves deeply into specific places, allowing us to understand histories that have not been written into books or inscribed upon memorials, but which still resonate through Auckland and beyond.

Shifting Grounds provides a rare historical assessment of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s past, with findings and stories that deepen understanding of New Zealand history.

“‘A marvellous book that illuminates the stories of these much loved landscapes in new and striking ways. After reading Shifting Grounds you see these places differently, and treasure them all the more.”
Anne Salmond, Distinguished Professor of Māori Studies and Anthropology, University of Auckland

A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church: Year W.
Wilda C. Gafney.
Pbk 360pp. ISBN 9781640654747.

Church Publishing (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

  • What would it look like if women built a lectionary focusing on women’s stories?
  • What does it look like to tell the good news through the stories of women who are often on the margins of scripture and often set up to represent bad news?
  • How would a lectionary centering women’s stories, chosen with womanist and feminist commitments in mind, frame the presentation of the scriptures for proclamation and teaching?

This single-volume lectionary commentary covers the four Gospels over one year.

The scriptures are androcentric, male-focused, as is the lectionary that is dependent upon them. As a result, many congregants know only the biblical men’s stories told in the Sunday lectionary read in their churches. This more expansive, more inclusive lectionary will remedy that by introducing readers and hearers of scripture to “women’s stories” in the scriptures.

Naming Neoliberalism:
Exposing the Spirit of Our Age
Rodney Clapp.
Hbk 250pp. ISBN 9781506472652.

Fortress Press (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Neoliberalism – a panoply of cultural, political, and economic practices that set marketized competition at the centre of social life – is rife in our age. Clapp lays out for pastors, thoughtful laypersons, and students, what neoliberalism is, where it has come from, and how it can be confronted through and in the church.

“This concise and accessible analysis takes us beneath the fear, inequality, war, hunger, and environmental devastation of the present age and shows us how they operate. Rodney Clapp unpacks the ideologies that try to convince us that the world must be so, and then offers resources from the Christian tradition to enact a more liveable world. No one is more skilled at bridging the scholarly and pastoral contexts than Rodney Clapp.”
William T. Cavanaugh, DePaul University

“Let’s be honest. As pastor of a politically split church, I am not looking for ways to introduce more politics into congregational life. In an age of tweets and squawking, I thirst for the Peace of Christ. But after reading Rodney Clapp’s Neoliberalism, I also see how hungry and lonely I have been, while wandering in this desert of culture wars, for some weight and wisdom from a spiritual tradition that is older, larger and deeper than I am. Somehow, Clapp uses a hot button topic to model how to have a cool Christian conversation, across the aisles of politics or pews. I would gladly introduce this book to my church members, for its sense of perspective but most of all for its contagious hope for a church where God is still speaking louder and more lovingly than the pundits.”
Lillian Daniel, senior pastor of First Congregational Church of Dubuque, Iowa and author of ‘Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong to.’

Looking East in Winter:
Contemporary Thought and the Eastern Christian Tradition.
Rowan Williams.
Hbk 272pp. ISBN 9781472989246.

Bloomsbury Continuum (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

An original and illuminating vision of a Christian world still none too familiar to Western believers and even to students of theology, showing how the deep-rooted themes of Eastern Christian thought can prompt new perspectives on our contemporary crises of imagination and hope.

Taking in the world of the great spiritual anthology, the Philokalia, and the explorations of Russian thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, discussing the witness of figures like Maria Skobtsova, murdered in a German concentration camp for her defence of Jewish refugees, and the challenging theologies of modern Greek thinkers like John Zizioulas and Christos Yannaras, Rowan Williams opens the door to a ‘climate and landscape of our humanity that can indeed be warmed and transfigured’.

In many ways, we seem to be living in wintry times at present in the Western world. In this new book, Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and a noted scholar of Eastern Christianity, introduces us to some aspects and personalities of the Orthodox Christian world, from the desert contemplatives of the fourth century to philosophers, novelists and activists of the modern era, that suggest where we might look for fresh light and warmth. He shows how this rich and diverse world opens up new ways of thinking about spirit and body, prayer and action, worship and social transformation, which go beyond the polarisations we take for granted.

Community as Church, Church as Community.
Michael Plekon.
Pbk 274pp. ISBN 9781725287532.

Cascade Books (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

US parishes are resurrecting by reinventing their ministries, by repurposing their building to better serve their neighbourhoods, thus replanting and reconnecting with them. All of this is the Spirit’s doing, through the community of sisters and brothers who make up each congregation of faith.

Community as the core of church is the other reality shaping the book’s reflection. And community, a parish being with those around, living for more than its own survival are visions for going forward.

Other aspects of congregational life are also examined, most importantly the pastors – how they serve when budgets shrink, how they are trained, how pastors act with the community not above it.

“While church institutions often seem consumed with anxiety about their future, many local congregations quietly and imaginatively find ways forward that work where they are. Michael Plekon’s book reflects that grassroots critical confidence which grows out of the contexts where lives and communities are actually being changed by God in Christ. Honest and theologically acute, this book should help nurture such critical confidence more broadly.” Rowan Williams, theologian and former archbishop of Canterbury


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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