Mid-October 2021 Selection – Spirituality for a Sustainable Future

Mid-October 2021 Selection
Spirituality for a Sustainable Future

The books in this selection, which have been published in the last 3 years,
explore the broad theme of Spirituality for a Sustainable Future.

This is the theme of the Sea of Faith in Aotearoa conference originally planned for November 2021, which has now been postponed until 25-26 March 2022.
(Details here: https://sofia.org.nz/)

The books highlight many areas of concern about our future.

Importantly, they also provide practical ideas for action we can take
and offer good reasons for hope that we can build a better future.


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[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 15 October 2021]




 


Forest Church:
A Field Guide to a Spiritual Connection with Nature.
Bruce Stanley.
Pbk 170pp. ISBN 9781625247971.
Harding House Publishing (2020).
$36.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Brimming with insights and packed with information, this book draws you out, quite literally, into nature to experience a new, well thought through pattern of spiritual practice.

Throughout the ages people have walked this path within the Christ tradition and have found a meaningful expression of their spirituality, finding inspiration and structure through the rhythms of the seasons, the characteristics of plants and animals and the sacredness of place – along with the wisdom of the scriptures and the pattern of prayers.

This is a resource for anyone who wants to lead a Forest Church experience, whether as a self-contained group, a retreat, a group holiday or as an occasional event attached to an existing church. It will also inspire individuals wanting to explore their own sacred nature connection.


 


Facing Apocalypse:
Climate, Democracy, and Other Last Chances.
Catherine Keller.
Pbk 176pp. ISBN 9781626984134.
Orbis Books (2021).
$53.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Facing Apocalypse is a study of the Book of Revelation in seven chapters and 200 pages. As with all biblical prophecy, the message is not for the future. This book addresses the crises of our contemporary times which are endangering life in Earth.

Theologian Catherine Keller writes about climate change, eco-grief, reforestation, wildfires, white supremacy, mindfulness, New Age, slavery, process theology and a lot more.

She unveils a “dream-reading” of our current global crisis-particularly the threat of climate change and ecological devastation. She shows that John’s gospel is not a foretelling of future events, but a parable of our present reality, which exposes the deep spiritual roots of these threats.



Reading the Times:
A Literary and Theological Inquiry Into the News.
Jeffrey Bilbro.
Hbk 200pp. ISBN 9780830841851.
IVP Academic (2021).
$49.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

News consumption can shape our sense of belonging, how we judge the value of our lives, and even how our brains function. Christians mustn’t let the news replace prayer, but neither should we simply discard the daily feed. We need a better understanding of what the news is for and how to read it well. Bilbro invites readers to take a step back and gain some theological and historical perspective on the nature and very purpose of news.

He reflects on how we pay attention, how we discern the nature of time and history, and how we form communities through what we read and discuss.

Bilbro suggests practices to counteract common maladies tied to media consumption in order to cultivate healthier ways of reading and being. When the news sets itself up as the light of the world, it usurps the role of the living Word. But when it helps us attend together to the work of Christ – down through history and within our daily contexts – it can play a vital part in enabling us to love our neighbours.



On the Future:
Prospects for Humanity.
New edition. Now in Paperback.
Martin Rees.
Pbk 272pp. ISBN 9780691231068.
Princeton University Press (2021).
$32.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Humanity has reached a critical moment. Our world is unsettled and rapidly changing, and we face existential risks over the next century. Yet our approach to the future is characterised by short-term thinking, polarising debates, alarmist rhetoric, and pessimism.

In this exhilarating book, scientist Martin Rees argues that humanity’s prospects depend on our taking a very different approach to planning for tomorrow.

Rich with fascinating insights into cutting-edge science and technology, this accessible book will captivate anyone who wants to understand the critical issues that will define the future of humanity on Earth and beyond.



There Is No Planet B:
A Handbook for the Make or Break Years.
Updated Edition (Revised).
Mike Berners-Lee.
Pbk 300pp. ISBN 9781108821575.

Cambridge University Press (2021).
$32.50.
[Allow 3-4 weeks]

Feeding the world, climate change, biodiversity, antibiotics, plastics, pandemics – the list of concerns seems endless.

  • But what is most pressing, and what should we do first?
  • Do we all need to become vegetarian?
  • How can we fly in a low-carbon world?
  • How can we take control of technology?
  • And, given the global nature of the challenges we now face, what on Earth can any of us do, as individuals?

Mike Berners-Lee has crunched the numbers and plotted a course of action that is full of hope, practical, and enjoyable.

This is the big-picture perspective on the environmental and economic challenges of our day, laid out in one place, and traced through to the underlying roots – questions of how we live and think. This updated edition has new material on protests, pandemics, wildfires, investments, carbon targets and of course, on the key question: given all this, what can I do?



Landscape Liturgies:
Outdoor worship resources from the Christian tradition.
Nick Mayhew-Smith; Sarah Brush.
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9781786223807.
Canterbury Press (2021).
$50.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].


Landscape Liturgies offers outdoor worship material drawn from 2,000 years of outdoor Christian practice. It contains prayers, rituals, blessings and liturgies compiled from Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist and Orthodox sources, as well as early church material, the desert tradition and monastic spirituality.

This fascinating and versatile resource will enable urban and rural churches and church schools, retreat houses and pilgrimage centres to conduct a wide variety of services and meditations in the landscape around them.

It includes resources for the blessing of water courses, tree planting, garden blessings, a wide range of churchyard ceremonies, Rogation and other processionary ideas, field and animal blessings, pilgrim and walking prayers, ceremonies at holy wells and sacred grottoes, at hilltops and landmark monuments, and for the ringing of bells which traditionally demarcated sacred space in the landscape.



The Well-Gardened Mind:
The Restorative Power of Nature.
Now in Paperback.
Sue Stuart-Smith.
Pbk 352pp. ISBN 9781476794488.
Scribner Book Company (2021).
$41.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].


Stuart-Smith provides a new perspective on the power of gardening to change people’s lives. She investigates the many ways in which mind and garden can interact and explores how the process of tending a plot can be a way of sustaining an innermost self.

A distinguished psychiatrist and avid gardener, She offers an inspiring and consoling work about the healing effects of gardening and its ability to decrease stress and foster mental well-being in our everyday lives.

The garden is often seen as a refuge, a place to forget worldly cares, removed from the “real” life that lies outside. But when we get our hands in the earth we connect with the cycle of life in nature through which destruction and decay are followed by regrowth and renewal. Gardening is one of the quintessential nurturing activities and yet we understand so little about it.

Recent research is showing how green nature has direct antidepressant effects on humans. Essential and pragmatic, The Well-Gardened Mind is a book for gardeners and the perfect read for people seeking healthier mental lives.



Tree Sense:
Ways of thinking about trees.
Susette Goldsmith.
Pbk 256pp. ISBN 9780995140745.
Massey University Press (2021).
$37.00.
[Allow 10 days].

As climate change imposes significant challenges on the natural world we are being encouraged to plant trees. At the same time, urban intensification and expansion threatens our existing arboreal resources and leads to disputes among communities, councils, and developers over the fate of mature trees.

To find our way through this confusion, we need to build our respect for trees and to recognise their essential role in our environment, our heritage, our well-being and our future. We need to build a robust ‘tree sense.’

This collection of essays, art and poetry by artists, activists, ecologists and advocates, including Philip Simpson, Anne Noble, Elizabeth Smither, Kennedy Warne and Glyn Church, discusses the many ways in which humans need trees, and how our future is laced into their roots and their branches.

To look inside, click here: https://issuu.com/masseypress/
docs/tree_sense_look_inside



The Precipice:
Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity.
Toby Ord.
Pbk 480pp. ISBN 9780316484923.
Hachette Books (2021).
$44.50.
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

This urgent and eye-opening book makes the case that protecting humanity’s future is the central challenge of our time.

If all goes well, human history is just beginning. Our species could survive for billions of years – enough time to end disease, poverty, and injustice, and to flourish in ways unimaginable today. But this vast future is at risk.

With the advent of nuclear weapons, humanity entered a new age, where we face existential catastrophes – those from which we could never come back. Since then, these dangers have only multiplied, from climate change to engineered pathogens and artificial intelligence. If we do not act fast to reach a place of safety, it will soon be too late.

Drawing on over a decade of research, The Precipice explores the cutting-edge science behind the risks we face. It puts them in the context of the greater story of humanity: showing how ending these risks is among the most pressing moral issues of our time. And it points the way forward, to the actions and strategies that can safeguard humanity.


​​
Preaching the Headlines:
Possibilities and Pitfalls.
Lisa L. Thompson.
Pbk 176pp. ISBN 9781506453866.
Fortress Press (2021).
$43.00.
[Allow 2-3 weeks]

The goal of the book is to help preachers do theological reflection on the everyday world as an integral part of sermon development.

The process offered in this book is not a substitute for basic methods of sermon development nor a model of exegesis for preaching. Preachers will use this process as a supplement alongside their current method of sermon preparation.

Before the preacher can ever translate the meaning embedded in the headlines, they have to learn more about the topics they seek to preach about. They do this by digging behind the headlines and expanding their own resources beyond theological traditions alone. This work is done in order to think earnestly about how faith might spur transformative action in our world for more just ways of living together.



In Awesome Wonder:
Bridging Faith and Science.
Daniel Ruy Pereira; Luiz F. Cardoso.
Pbk 123pp. ISBN 9781789591484.
Sacristy Press (2021).
$35.00.
[Allow 2-3 weeks]

What if we could see the theory of evolution in the light of the suffering of Christ and our journeys as Christians?

How can and do Christians respond to the climate chaos that is forcing the hands of governments and scaring young people to joining climate strikes?

Can we find comfort in a time where data, graphs and numbers inform political decisions about the worst pandemic in 100 years?

Although science is almost ubiquitous in the modern world, for many Christians there is a gap between science and their faith. The authors of this book – a biology teacher and a pastor – explore a number of subjects such as creation, evolution, cosmology, and pandemics, and show how science and faith can mutually enrich each other and can be incorporated, confidently and healthily, into a Christian worldview.



Reawakened:
Activate Your Congregation to Spark Lasting Change.
Glen Guyton. Pbk 216pp.
ISBN 9781513808079.
Herald Press (2021).
$39.00.
[Allow 2-3 weeks]

Every church wants to make a lasting difference, but people are moving away from the church – not because they lack faith in God but because the church is no longer relevant to their lives. The church, not God, is the problem.

Guyton explores eight keys to developing the abilities of congregations to bring healing and hope to their communities.

These eight keys give voice to the most urgent needs of a community and offer practical suggestions for how churches can spark holistic and lasting differences in their communities.

  1. Know Your Identity; Show Your Identity
  2. Mission-Focused Spirituality
  3. Intentional Discipleship and Faith Formation Strategy
  4. Intentional Diversity and Inclusion.
  5. Holistic Witness to Serving the Community
  6. Develops Strategic Partnerships
  7. Practicing Sound Stewardship
  8. Strategic Leadership Development


Managing Congregations in a Virtual Age.
John W. Wimberly.
Pbk 176pp. ISBN 9781506472638.
Fortress Press (2021).
$43.50.
[Allow 2-3 weeks]

Wimberly draws on the experience of the business community, and on a diverse group of skilled pastors and rabbis, as he lays out the opportunities and challenges of working from home for congregations and staff, offering principles and best practices for successfully managing remote workers and ministries.

Wimberly focuses on how congregational leaders can ensure accountability and productivity, create a sense of staff as a team, help older staff members learn how to work from home, and determine what hardware and software staff members and the congregation need to support effective communication.

The move toward working from home is part of a rapidly changing work environment for employers and employees alike. Large parts of the business world have mastered managing their staff, located around the country and the world, virtually. For many faith communities, however, the sudden move to working from home amid the Covid-19 pandemic involved significant upheaval. Fortunately, various forms of technology and productivity tools can make this shift easier.

This comprehensive guide will serve congregations well into the future, even as technology and circumstances change.



The Land Is Not Empty:
Following Jesus in Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery
.
Sarah Augustine.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9781513808291.

Herald Press (2021).
$38.50.
[Allow 3-4 weeks]

White settlers saw land for the taking. They failed to consider the perspective of the people already here.

Author Sarah Augustine unpacks the harm of the Doctrine of Discovery – a set of laws rooted in the 15th century that gave Christian governments the moral and legal right to seize lands they “discovered” despite those lands already being populated by indigenous peoples. Legitimized by the church and justified by a misreading of Scripture, the Doctrine of Discovery says a land can be considered “empty” and therefore free for the taking if inhabited by “heathens, pagans, and infidels.”

In this prophetic book, Augustine, a Pueblo woman, reframes the colonization of North America as she investigates ways that the Doctrine of Discovery continues to devastate indigenous cultures, and even the planet itself, as it justifies exploitation of both natural resources and people. This is a powerful call to reckon with the root causes of a legacy that continues to have devastating effects on indigenous peoples around the globe and a call to recognize how all of our lives and our choices are interwoven.

What was done in the name of Christ must be undone in the name of Christ, the author claims. The good news of Jesus means there is still hope for the righting of wrongs. Right relationship with God, others, and the earth requires no less.

Herald Press is a Christian publisher known for transformative books on reconciliation, community, discipleship, mission, spirituality, theology, and Amish and Mennonite life and faith. We reach a broad spectrum of readers – from evangelical, mainline, and Anabaptist backgrounds – and offer a “third way” approach between the sometimes contentious camps of the culture wars.



Reclaiming Rest:
The Promise of Sabbath, Solitude, and Stillness in a Restless World.
Kate H. Rademacher.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9781506465999.

Broadleaf Books (2021).
$39.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks]

Stillness. Prayer. Sabbath. In a restless world, what do those words even mean?

Rademacher tells the story of a year of monthly Sabbath retreats, during which she withdraws from family and work obligations for periods of solitude. She also experiments with disciplines like walking, praying, taking a break from social media, and finding a Sabbath buddy.

Public health expert Rademacher grew up thinking it was up to humans to bring healing and justice to earth. Saving the world meant working long hours, answering emails day or night, and competing for professional awards and funding. In an era of pandemic, racial injustice, and deepening inequality, who’s got time for a nap? Stressed out and frazzled, Rademacher landed on the Christian story, in which a sought-after Saviour retreats to solitary places and prays alone in the wilderness.

“If you do not recognize yourself in the first few pages of this compelling, sage, and down-to-earth book, trust me: Rademacher is going to call your name before she is through. I cannot think of another book that makes a better case for wedding faithful activism to equally faithful rest.” Barbara Brown Taylor, author of Always a Guest and An Altar in the World



A Child’s Introduction to the Environment.
Revised and updated.
Michael Driscoll; Dennis Driscoll; Meredith Hamilton illust.
Hbk 96pp. ISBN 9780762499489.

Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers (2021).
$49.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks]

Packed with facts, experiments, and a removable poster with tips on how to save the planet, this comprehensive guide will inspire children and their families to think about our planet in new ways and help keep it beautiful and healthy for years to come.

Explore the water, land, and air around us with this entertaining and informative look at our magnificent planet – and learn how your experiments, activities, and everyday actions can help save the environment.

This book looks at the wide variety of ecosystems and environmental regions of the Earth, from deserts and forests, to cities and farms, to oceans and ice caps, as well as the atmosphere, weather, energy sources, plants, and animals of each area.

Michael Driscoll and professor of meteorology Dennis Driscoll explain the changes to our planet that are currently taking place, including rising temperatures and sea levels, and the effects they can have on our environment.

They also profile young environmental activists like Greta Thunberg and Isra Hirsi, and highlight important, everyday actions such as water conversion and recycling that children can do on their own or with their parents. Also included are fun projects and experiments to do at home like brewing sun tea, creating lightning, and making a smog detector.



How to Avoid a Climate Disaster:
The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need
.
Bill Gates.
Hbk 272pp. ISBN 9780385546133.

Knopf Publishing (2021).
$58.00.
[Allow 4 weeks]

Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet’s slide to certain environmental disaster.

He not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, but also details what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal.

He lays out a concrete, practical plan for achieving the goal of zero emissions – suggesting not only policies that governments should adopt, but what we as individuals can do to keep our government, our employers, and ourselves accountable in this crucial enterprise.

As Bill Gates makes clear, achieving zero emissions will not be simple or easy to do, but if we follow the plan he sets out here, it is a goal firmly within our reach.



The Uninhabitable Earth:
Life After Warming.
David Wallace-Wells.
Pbk 384pp. ISBN 9780525576716.

Tim Duggan Books (2020).
$41.00.
[Allow 4-5 weeks]

The Uninhabitable Earth is both a travelogue of the near future and a meditation on how that future will look to those living through it – the ways that warming promises to transform global politics, the meaning of technology and nature in the modern world, the sustainability of capitalism and the trajectory of human progress.

It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible – food shortages, refugee emergencies, climate wars and economic devastation.

The book is also an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation – today’s.



Praying for the Earth:
Remembering the Environment in our Prayers of Intercession.
Rob Kelsey.
Pbk 95pp. ISBN 9781789591354.
Sacristy Press (2021).
$33.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks]

Prayers for the environment are often missing from the intercessions in church on a Sunday morning, perhaps because we struggle to find the right words. Here is a resource for congregations and for individual Christians who believe that environmental concerns should be an integral part of the public and private prayers of all Christian people.

The book is intended to be used as a supplement to the prayers of intercession in church on Sunday, and by individuals in their private prayers, so that praying for the earth becomes an “ordinary” part of our spiritual and daily life, rather than something that happens on a special occasion.

Praying for the Earth may be used by those who lead intercessions in public worship, by groups of Christians whenever they pray together, and by individual Christians in their personal prayers. The prayers may be used unchanged, or adapted, or as an inspiration for praying in one’s own words.



Sun, Moon, and Stars:
Seasonal celebrations for children and families, tamariki and whānau.
Juliet Batten.
Pbk 214pp. ISBN 9780473550455.

Ishtar Books, NZ (2020).
$39.00.
[Allow 2 weeks]

Would you like to help the children in your world grow up with a deep connection to nature and the rhythms of life? Sun, Moon, and Stars will show you how.

For over two years, Juliet Batten guided her family and others through celebrating eight markers in the seasonal cycle. Her account, together with those of her contributors, results in a book that is inspiring and practical. By following the simple steps she outlines, you too can enjoy creating rituals to enhance the lives of your family and the young ones you care for.

Sun, Moon, and Stars is told with a magical rhythm and rhyme, enveloping the rich warmth of rangimārie me te aroha (peace and love). Juliet captures the beautiful synchronicity between cultures in the minds of our tamariki.” Jill Williams, celebrant and educator

“Juliet’s writing sings through the seasons, gently urging us to join her in celebrating the Southern Hemisphere festivals that have lain dormant in so many of us for too long. The information for each season is laid out simply, and the accompanying stories from parents and children are a delight. I sincerely hope this book will become a treasured resource in many families, as well as in schools and childhood centres.” Sharon Holt, author of Te Reo Singalong books



Riders on the Storm:
The Climate Crisis and the Survival of Being.
Alastair McIntosh.
Pbk 256pp. ISBN 9781780276397.

Birlinn (2020).
$32.00.
[Allow 4 weeks]

McIntosh explores the science, psychology and spirituality of climate change. He summarises the up-to-date science and shows the damage caused both by climate-change denial as well as exaggeration.

In outlining the technological and policy options to cut greenhouse gases, he argues that neither will be anywhere near sufficient unless we grasp the ‘twin drivers’ – world population and excess consumption – in ways that deepen people’s dignity and freedom.

This book’s enduring importance will lie in the uniqueness of the remedies proposed: our urgent need to reconnect with the earth, to build community, and own inner lives of depth psychology and even spirituality. This transforms climate change into a chance to discover deeper aspects of our humanity. The result is a scintillating guide to what it takes to make us riders on the storm.



Hope Matters:
Why Changing the Way We Think Is Critical to Solving the Environmental Crisis.
Elin Kelsey.
Pbk 240pp. ISBN 9781771647779.

Greystone Books (2020).
$49.00.
[Allow 4 weeks]

Hope Matters boldly breaks through the narrative of doom and gloom to show why evidence-based hope, not fear, is our most powerful tool for change.

Kelsey shares real-life examples of positive climate news that reveal the power of our mindsets to shape reality, the resilience of nature, and the transformative possibilities of individual and collective action. And she demonstrates how we can build on positive trends to work toward a sustainable and just future, before it’s too late.



Celtic Christianity and Climate Crisis: Twelve Keys for the Future of the Church.
Ray Simpson.
Pbk 182pp. ISBN 9781789591156.

Sacristy Press (2020).
$38.50.
[Allow 3-4 weeks]

Faced with impending climate crisis and the significant and irreparable damage being done to the earth, Christians are looking for inspiration and potential sources of hope.

Simpson, Founding Guardian of the Community of Aidan and Hilda, explores some of the key concepts of the Celtic tradition – and some of the criticisms levelled against it. He shows how the Celtic affirmation of creation and of equality and love among human beings hold the key not only for the future of the Church but of the whole planet.



The Future Earth:
A Radical Vision for What’s Possible in the Age of Warming.
Eric Holthaus.
Pbk 256pp. ISBN 9780062883162.

HarperOne (2020).
$48.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks]

This hopeful book about climate change, shows readers how to reverse the short- and long-term effects of climate change over the next three decades.

The basics of climate science are easy. We know it is entirely human-caused. Which means its solutions will be similarly human-led. In The Future Earth, leading climate change advocate and weather-related journalist Eric Holthaus (“the Rebel Nerd of Meteorology”— Rolling Stone) offers a radical vision of our future, specifically how to reverse the short- and long-term effects of climate change over the next three decades. Anchored by world-class reporting, interviews with futurists, climatologists, biologists, economists, and climate change activists, it shows what the world could look like if we implemented radical solutions on the scale of the crises we face.

  • What could happen if we reduced carbon emissions by 50 percent in the next decade?
  • What could living in a city look like in 2030?
  • How could the world operate in 2040, if the proposed Green New Deal created a 100 percent net carbon-free economy in the United States?

This is the book for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the current state of our environment. Hopeful and prophetic, The Future Earth invites us to imagine how we can reverse the effects of climate change in our own lifetime and encourages us to enter a deeper relationship with the earth as conscientious stewards and to re-affirm our commitment to one another in our shared humanity.



The Green Good News.
T. Wilson Dickinson.
Pbk 222pp. ISBN 9781532681837.

Cascade Books (2019).
$51.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks]

Dickinson finds a fresh take on the Gospels, painting a picture of Jesus as a humorous and subversive teacher, an organizer of alternative communities and food economies, as a healer of bodies and relationships, and as a prophet who sought to overturn an empire and restore a more just and joyful way of life.

Christ teaches and incarnates a vision for sustainable life and provides practices that mark the path toward it.

By exploring this always-inspiring sustainable gospel, we can find ways to transform our lives, communities, and even creation.



Letters to the Earth:
Writing to a Planet in Crisis.
Emma
Thompson.
Pbk 272pp. ISBN 9780008374471.

William Collins (2021).
$36.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks]

Creation is the antidote to despair. How can we begin to talk about what is happening to the world? We are facing a global emergency. Temperatures are rising. Mass species extinction has begun. The time for denial is over. It is time to act.

Letters to the Earth is the beginning of a new story. It is an invitation to act and an opportunity to extend the invitation.

These letters are the result of a callout from Culture Declares Emergency to the public to write a response to climate and ecological emergency. They are letters from all of us: parents and children; politicians and poets; actors and activists; songwriters and scientists. They are letters of Love, Loss Hope and Action to a planet in crisis.

Includes contributions from activist Yoko Ono, poet Kate Tempest, actor Mark Rylance, author Laline Paull, illustrator of The Lost Words Jackie Morris, novelist Anna Hope, environmental writer Jay Griffiths and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.

 



The Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor:
Hearing Justice in John’s Gospel.
Kathleen Rushton.
Pbk 256pp. ISBN 9780334059059.

SCM Press (2020).
$67.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks]

Focused around the lectionary readings from the Gospel, Rushton suggests that far from being a Gospel which sits at a safe remove from everyday life, John can be preached as an urgent call to hear the voices of the oppressed in our world.

She encourages preachers to engage in the ancient practice of lectio divina, and offers an accessible resource to help address the divorce between what is heard from pulpit, and the urgent social and ecological justice concern of our times.

Theologian Kathleen P. Rushton is a Sister of Mercy from Otautahi Christchurch. She works in biblical studies, spiritual direction and has over 40 years of ecumenical involvement in social and ecological movements.

“I highly recommend this book. It is traditional as it builds on the solid studies of Brown, Moloney, and others. It traditionally follows the lectio divina style which flows into contemplation and action. It innovatively treats two overlooked themes: care of the earth and of the marginalized. This book will grab your conscience, warm your heart, and impel you into the world to complete God’s works.” Robert J. Karris



Earth, Our Original Monastery:
Cultivating Wonder and Gratitude Through Intimacy with Nature.
Christine Valters Paintner.
Pbk 160pp. ISBN 9781932057201.

Sorin Books (2020).
$41.00.
[Allow 4 weeks]

The purpose of contemplative living, Valters Paintner suggests, is to allow you to integrate the pieces of your life within yourself, in your community, and in the world around you. When you pay attention to each moment, you nurture your ability to see God’s actions in those moments.

She invites you to begin the journey of contemplative living by focusing on the image of the earth as your original monastery – the place where you learn your most fundamental prayers, participate in each day’s liturgy of praise, and experience the wisdom of the seasons.

Valters Paintner provides seven ways of seeing the earth in light of faith and pairs each one with a practical invitation to a practice. These include the earth as original:

  • Cathedral – where you first learn to worship and feel God’s presence around us, paired with the practice of stability
  • Saints – plants and animals live their calling without trying to be something they’re not and inspire you to do the same, paired with the practice of gratitude.
  • Icon – nature can serve as a window to the holy in the same way that icons do, paired with the practice of lament.


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

Sacristy Press (2020).
$42.00.
[Allow 3-4 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.



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

John Hunt Publishing (2020).
$46.00.
[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.



Earthkeeping and Character:
Exploring a Christian Ecological Virtue Ethic.
Steven Bouma-Prediger.
Pbk 208pp. ISBN 9780801098840.

Baker Academic (2019).
$58.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks]

Addressing a topic of growing and vital concern, this book asks us to reconsider how we think about the natural world and our place in it.

Steven Bouma-Prediger brings ecotheology into conversation with the emerging field of environmental virtue ethics, exploring the character traits and virtues required for Christians to be responsible keepers of the earth and to flourish in the challenging decades to come.

He shows how virtue ethics can enrich Christian environmentalism, helping readers think and act in ways that rightly value creation.

“Steven Bouma-Prediger continues to establish himself as a significant, creative voice in Christian earthkeeping. As my students wrestle with the complexities and bleakness of the ecological crisis, they often ask, ‘What can we do?’ This book highlights the centrality of being for Christian discipleship. Christ-centered ecological virtues become the foundation of a healthy Christian ethic and lifestyle, thereby offering renewed hope in this uncertain age.” Daniel L. Brunner, Portland Seminary



The Splendor of Creation:
A Biblical Ecology.
Ellen Bernstein.
Pbk 162pp. ISBN 9780829816648.

Pilgrim Press (2019).
$41.00.
[Allow 3-4 weeks]

Many people see the environmental crisis as a spiritual one. Bernstein sees the Book of Genesis as a guide to living peaceably with the Earth. The creation story invites a deep appreciation of nature and may be the perfect muse for a world that is hungry for an integrated ecological vision.

Written from a Jewish perspective, this book is both accessible and compelling to a broad audience, as it explores Genesis 1, verse by verse, reflecting on the language that contributes to a holistic ecological vision.



The Spirit of Hope:
Theology for a World in Peril.
Jürgen Moltmann.
Pbk 232pp. ISBN 9780664266639.

Westminster John Knox (2019).
$59.50.
[Allow 2-3 weeks]

Moltmann reminds us that Christian faith has much to say in response to a despairing world. In “the eternal yes of the living God,” we affirm the goodness and ongoing purpose of our fragile humanity. Likewise, God’s love empowers us to love life and resist a culture of death.

Theologian Jürgen Moltmann returns here to the theme that he so powerfully addressed in his ground-breaking work, Theology of Hope. In the 21st century, he tells us, hope is challenged by ideologies and global trends that would deny hope and even life itself. Terrorist violence, social and economic inequality, and most especially the looming crisis of climate change all contribute to a cultural moment of profound despair.

The book’s two sections equally promote these affirmations, yet in different ways. The first section looks at the challenges to hope in our current world, most especially the environmental crisis. It argues that Christian faith–and indeed all the world’s religions–must orient themselves toward the wholeness of the human family and the physical environment necessary to that wholeness. The second section draws on resources from the early church, the Reformation, and the contemporary theological conversation to undergird efforts to address the deficit of hope he describes in the first section.

 



Reimagining Spirit:

Wind, Breath and Vibration.
Grace Ji-Sun Kim.
Pbk 152pp. ISBN 9781532689246.

Cascade Books (2019).
$46.50.
[Allow 3-4 weeks]

This book examines the Spirit as experienced in light, wind, breath, and vibration to help us uncover some of its aspects that invite us to work for climate justice, racial justice, and gender justice.

The Holy Spirit has always been a mover and shaker of ideas and action. The Spirit’s presence moves, stirs, and changes us to become aware of the social ills in our world.

The different ways in which we reimagine the Holy Spirit can challenge some traditional assumptions in Christianity and provide a liberating vision that allows us to work for social justice. The work of the Holy Spirit stirs us to work toward new kinships with God that are sustainable, just, and whole.



How the Body of Christ Talks:
Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church.
C. Christopher Smith.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9781587434112.

Baker Books (2019).
$43.00.
[3-4 weeks]

In today’s highly charged social and political environment, we often don’t know how to talk well with others – especially with people whose backgrounds differ from our own.

Smith shows how church communities can be training hubs where we learn to talk with and listen to one another with kindness and compassion.

Smith, co-author of the critically acclaimed and influential Slow Church, addresses why conversation has become such a challenge in the 21st century and argues that it is perhaps the most-needed spiritual practice of our individualistic age.

Smith likens practicing conversation to the working of the human body. Bodies are wondrous symphonies of diverse, intricate parts striving for our health, and our health suffers when these parts fail to converse effectively. Likewise, we must learn to converse effectively with those who differ from us in the body of Christ so we can embody Christ together in the world. In community, we learn what it means to belong to others and to a story that is bigger than ourselves. 


 






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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