November 2016 featured books
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The Spiritual Life:
Jingle Bells, Rudolph Smells
The Cities That Built the Bible.
Finding God in the Waves:
Dropping the Struggle:
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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[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 15 December 2017]
A monumental new account of the defining conflict in New Zealand history. It was war in the Waikato in 1863–64 that shaped the nation in all kinds of ways: setting back Māori and Pākehā relations by several generations and allowing the government to begin to assert the kind of real control over the country that had eluded it since 1840.
Spanning nearly two centuries from first contact through to settlement and apology, Vincent O’Malley focuses on the human impact of the war, its origins and aftermath. Based on many years of research and illustrated throughout, The Great War for New Zealand is a groundbreaking book written in the conviction that a nation needs to own its history.
“Vincent O’Malley’s work in regard to the Waikato Wars brings to life the ancestors of New Zealand history. He shines a spotlight on a dark period of our collective past and brings it into a modern conversation for the consideration of New Zealand’s future.” Rahui Papa, Chairman, Te Arataura, Waikato-Tainui
“Across this nation, there are defining moments in our history. The Waikato Wars changed the face of Aotearoa New Zealand and most significantly the lives and wellbeing of Waikato-Tainui through the confiscation of lands. It is a story that must be told, must not be forgotten and must be shared in the living rooms of all New Zealanders for our future generations. This rich account by Vincent O’Malley strikes out to do that – E te rangatira, teenei te whakaaro nui ki a koe.” Parekawhia McLean, Ngaati Mahanga, Waikato-Tainui, Ngaati Maniapoto
Henri Nouwen, the world-renowned spiritual guide and counselor, wrote over forty books that many today consider spiritual classics. People come to Nouwen for his unique style of wisdom, and his ability to write about the life of Jesus, the love of God, and our service to others, in ways that have inspired countless people to trust God more fully.
This collection includes eight of Nouwen’s quintessential titles in a single beautiful, keepsake volume:
- A Letter of Consolation
- Letters to Marc About Jesus
- The Living Reminder
- Making All Things New
- Our Greatest Gift
- Way of the Heart, and
- Gracias, previously out of print.
“Jingle bells! Rudolph smells from eating carrots and hay, went over a bump and he
did a TRUMP, and it went in Santa’s face – hey!”
Once again Rudolph saved the day, not with his nose, just carrots and hay! The
reindeer shouted out with glee, “He’ll go down in history … Again.”
A Christmas classic in the making. Children will love this funny, catchy
adaptation to a well known Christmas song.
In this inviting and informed blend of religion, cultural history, and travelogue—illustrated with maps and dozens of color and black-and-white photographs—the archeologist, Bible scholar, and host of numerous television documentaries explores the cities of the Bible and how they influenced the creation and development of the Bible.
Weaving together biblical archaeology, personal experience, and historical geography, Dr. Robert Cargill analyses the relationship between the Bible and the cities from which it developed. We cannot understand the Bible without understanding the cities and cultures that produced it, he argues. The story of these cities—their history, their archaeology, their mysteries, and the people who inhabited them and later excavated them—is also the story of the Bible itself.
Accessible, engaging, and erudite yet told in Cargill’s compelling, humorous voice,The Cities That Built the Bible is a colorful tour through cities in the Holy Land, including Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Qumran, and Samaria. Along this fascinating journey, Cargill shares a host of surprising facts: there is no archaeological evidence for the biblical Exodus or the existence of Jesus—and no literary evidence from the first century outside of the Bible that mentions Jesus.
An exciting adventure through time, The Cities That Built the Bible is a fresh, fascinating study that sheds new light on the Bible, including how these cities actually play a role in the creation of the sacred text we read today, and offers important insights for historians, archeologists, and all curious people of faith.
The church has emphasised ideas about God that have marginalised Jesus’ understanding of his spiritual Father, his Abba. We commonly think of God as a demanding lawgiver and judge, an omnipotent ruler, or an ultimate philosophical principle. None of these works well today.
In contrast, Jesus’ view of God as spiritual Abba still truly works when it is given a chance. Christians should be open to accepting the ideas of the one they call Lord and Saviour. In Jesus’ Abba, one of the greatest theologians of this generation boldly argues for a new view of God, through the eyes of Jesus.
John B. Cobb Jr. interprets the whole of Jesus’ life and ministry, and death and resurrection, in light of Jesus’ understanding of God. He also shows that Paul shared this understanding and that it played a central role in Paul’s churches. Ultimately, Cobb argues that Jesus’ view of God fits our actual experience today, that it is supported by the evidence of the sciences, and that it encourages appreciative learning from other wisdom traditions and cooperation with them in redeeming the world. With this book, John B. Cobb Jr. makes his ultimate and most impassioned plea for us to rediscover God through Jesus.
From the host of the popular podcasts, The Liturgists Podcast and Ask Science Mike, a story of having faith, losing it, and finding it again through science—revealing how the latest in neuroscience, physics, and biology help us understand God, faith, and ourselves.
What do you do when God dies? It’s a question facing millions today, as science reveals a Universe that’s self-creating, as American culture departs from Christian social norms, and the idea of God begins to seem implausible at best and barbaric at worst.
Mike McHargue understands the pain of unraveling belief. In Finding God in the Waves, Mike tells the story of how his Evangelical faith dissolved into atheism as he studied the Bible, a crisis that threatened his life, his friendships, and even his marriage. Years later, Mike was standing on the shores of the Pacific Ocean when a bewildering, seemingly mystical moment motivated him to take another look. But this time, it wasn’t theology or scripture that led him back to God—it was science.
“Science Mike” draws on his personal experience to tell the unlikely story of how science led him back to faith. Among other revelations, we learn what brain scans reveal about what happens when we pray; how fundamentalism affects the psyche; and how God is revealed not only in scripture, but in the night sky, in subatomic particles, and in us.
For the faithful and skeptic alike, Finding God in the Waves is a winsome, lucid, page-turning read about belonging, life’s biggest questions, and the hope of knowing God in an age of science.
In our culture of “get more, have more, be more,” is there any place for “thanks, I’m good”? Bestselling author and acclaimed teacher Roger Housden says yes in this alternative to nonstop striving and self-criticism. Whether about our relationships, careers, or spirituality, many of us judge ourselves as not measuring up when we would certainly experience more fulfillment if we stopped struggling with ourselves.
Housden came to some of these realisations in an extraordinarily challenging situation: being questioned by authorities while researching a book in Iran. In the midst of confinement, he knew, beyond all logic or reason, that he was actually free. Most of us will never find ourselves in such an extreme set of circumstances, but we may feel trapped by our behavior and experiences. Housden’s words affirm that we can find peace and contentment, no matter what.
What if that person you’ve been trying to avoid is your best shot at grace today? And what if that’s the point?
In Accidental Saints, New York Times best-selling author Nadia Bolz-Weber invites readers into a surprising encounter with what she calls “a religious but not-so-spiritual life.” Tattooed, angry and profane, this former standup comic turned pastor stubbornly, sometimes hilariously, resists the God she feels called to serve. But God keeps showing up in the least likely of people—a church-loving agnostic, a drag queen, a felonious Bishop and a gun-toting member of the NRA.
As she lives and worships alongside these “accidental saints,” Nadia is swept into first-hand encounters with grace—a gift that feels to her less like being wrapped in a warm blanket and more like being hit with a blunt instrument. But by this grace, people are transformed in ways they couldn’t have been on their own.
In a time when many have rightly become disillusioned with Christianity, Accidental Saints demonstrates what happens when ordinary people share bread and wine, struggle with scripture together, and tell each other the truth about their real lives. This unforgettable account of their faltering steps toward wholeness will ring true for believer and skeptic alike.
Told in Nadia’s trademark confessional style, Accidental Saints is the stunning next work from one of today’s most important religious voices.
In this no non-sense book, reliable spiritual guide, Will Willimon, invites readers to consider the gospel command to love (and not merely tolerate) those considered to be “Other” or outside mainstream Christian culture. Rooted in the faith of Israel and the Christian story and vision, Willimon brings a Wesleyan perspective to bear on what may be the hardest thing for people of faith to do: keeping and loving the “Other” as they are – without any need for them to become like us.
Emphasising biblical teaching to receive Others for who they are and their differences as gifts and mysteries bearing the grace of God, Willimon also offers a strong critique of the privileged who all too often rush to speak of reconciliation and evade the injustice of huge inequalities faced by foreigners and strangers – as well as the antagonism the stranger experiences. He identifies concrete, everyday ways persons are formed in welcoming others without annihilating their differences.
Rooted in the New Testament understanding of Gentile outsiders grafted into the covenant community, Willimon invites readers to an on-the-ground faith that remembers the God who comes to us again and again through so-called outsiders, strangers, immigrants, and those without status. Beyond welcome, Christians must become “other” to the world, shaking off the dominant culture’s identity and privilege through practices of listening, humility, and understanding.
“I love Will Willimon, and I love this book. Will writes with prophetic sarcasm, a touch of humor, plenty of self-effacement, and a pastor’s heart. And his words will make you laugh, cringe, cry, confess, and repent. This is a very timely book. I urge you, prospective reader, as you read this blurb on the back cover: buy and read it! You’ll be grateful you did.” Adam Hamilton, senior pastor, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, KS; author of Half Truths
“An essential exploration of a rich literary tradition from the Bible to modern times, by a rare literary authority.” New York Times Book Review
Jews have long embraced their identity as “the people of the book.” But outside of the Bible, much of the Jewish literary tradition remains little known. The People and the Books shows how central questions and themes of our history and culture are reflected in the Jewish literary canon: the nature of God, the right way to understand the Bible, the relationship of the Jews to their Promised Land, and the challenges of living as a minority in Diaspora.
Adam Kirsch explores eighteen classic texts including the biblical books of Deuteronomy and Esther, the philosophy of Maimonides, the autobiography of the medieval businesswoman Gluckel of Hameln, and the Zionist manifestos of Theodor Herzl. From the Jews of ancient Rome to the mystical devotees of Hasidism in Eastern Europe, The People and the Books brings the treasures of Jewish literature to life and offers new ways to think about their enduring power and influence.
“If you enter the spirit of Christmas, the child could be born in you. You have a chance to rise above the unconsciousness that is widespread in the world today.”
With his trademark blend of storytelling, faith, and psychological insight, New York Times bestselling author Thomas Moore turns his poetic attention to the most enduring story of them all: the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. Carefully and lovingly, he looks at passages from the Gospels, both canonical and non-canonical, comparing them to archetypal stories and ancient myths in order to understand his own beliefs and to gaze in wonder at the Holy Child.
Christmas, says Moore, belongs to everyone. It has meaning only as a plan for the entire human race. Christmas shouldn’t be sentimentalised or turned into consumer frenzy: “The child lying in the manger is perhaps the most radical of all spiritual reformers.”
The Christ Child reminds us of the infinite possibilities of life available to us, and we celebrate that vitality in the season of good cheer, gift-giving, and community. Christmas also offers an opportunity to get in touch with our own mystical side, to recreate the Nativity in our hearts. “If we could but mix just a small measure of the child’s naïveté with an intelligent appreciation of the traditional Christmas symbols, myths, and images,” Moore asserts, “we might be surprised at the profundity.” The enchantment of Christmas is a taste of what is possible if human beings could really love each other. The infant in the manger symbolises new life, the potential all human beings have to be a new kind of being dedicated to agape, a love of the other—whoever that “other” may be.
This may be the most profound reflection on the meaning of Christmas in a generation.
From pastor and New York Times bestselling author Timothy Keller comes the perfect gift for the holidays—a profoundly moving and intellectually provocative examination of the Nativity story
Even people who are not professing Christians think they are familiar with the story of the Nativity. Every Christmas displays of Jesus resting in a manger populate lawns and churchyards, and songs about shepherds and angels fill the air. Yet despite the abundance of these Christian references in popular culture, how many of us have examined the hard edges of this biblical story?
In his new book Timothy Keller takes readers on an illuminating journey into the surprising background of the Nativity. By understanding the message of hope and salvation within the Bible’s account of Jesus’s birth, readers will experience the redeeming power of God’s grace in a meaningful and deeper way.
Whether a parent or pastor, child advocate or Christian educator, professional or volunteer working with children, we yearn for both comfort and challenge, vision and validation, hope and help as we seek to make a difference in the lives of children.
In Hope for the Future, Shannon Daley-Harris draws from her twenty-four years of work with the Children’s Defense Fund to offer twelve meditations for those working to create a better world for our children. Each meditation focuses on passages of Scripture and weaves together moving stories of children, startling statistics about the challenges facing children, and inspiring examples from other movements and faithful leaders that came before us. Questions for faithful response after each meditation will prompt further reflection and action. This inspirational book can be used as a devotional, in Bible study discussion, or during a social action committee’s discernment.