November 2019 Selection


November 2019 Selection

I enjoyed reading Mary Magdalene Revealed recently and wanted to let you know about it. While the middle section of her gospel is missing, (in the best two parchment codexes that have survived), the remainder of the text that has come down to us suggests that Mary had distinctive way of understanding Jesus’ message and the meaning of his resurrection. It is recognising the love within us that is important. Watterson also explores the tradition that Mary escaped to France soon after Jesus’ death.

There are also new books by popular authors Karen Armstrong, Walter Brueggemann, Rowan Williams and Richard Rohr, and a new second edition of Diana Butler Bass’ Broken We Kneel.

Three books explore church mission and growth strategies. And two of the NZ Hymnbook Trust’s popular music books Hope is Our Song and Faith Forever Singing are now available as PDF eBooks.

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.

for information about ordering and payment options, and our current postage charges.
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[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 2 November 2019]

Mary Magdalene Revealed:
The First Apostle, Her Feminist Gospel & the Christianity We Haven’t Tried Yet.
Meggan Watterson.
Hbk 264pp. ISBN 9781401954901.
Hay House (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks]

Mary’s gospel reveals a radical love that sits at the heart of the Christian story. Her gospel says that we are not sinful; we are not to feel ashamed or unworthy for being human. We need to turn inward (again and again); to meditate, like Mary Magdalene, in the way her gospel directs us, so that we can see past the ego of our own little lives to what’s more real, lasting infinite and already here, within.

Watterson explains how and why Mary Magdalene came to be portrayed as the penitent prostitute and relates a more historically and theologically accurate depiction of who Mary was within the early Christ movement. She shares how this discovery of Mary’s gospel has allowed her to practice, and to experience, a love that never ends, a love that transforms everything.


Yes, And…:
Daily Meditations.
Richard Rohr.
Pbk 432pp. ISBN 9781632532923.
Franciscan Media (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

An excellent daily prayer resource for fans of Richard Rohr’s work, and those who are looking for an alternate way to live out their faith – a way centred in the open-minded search for spiritual relevance of a transforming nature.

The meditations, extracted from earlier books he has written, are arranged around seven themes:

  • Methodology: Scripture as validated by experience.
  • Foundation: God is the Ground of Being and on our side.
  • Frame: Any distinction between natural and supernatural, sacred and profane is a bogus one.
  • Ecumenical: Everything belongs, and no one needs to be scapegoated or excluded.
  • Transformation: The separate self is the problem, whereas most religion and most people make the “shadow self” the problem.
  • Process: Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines.
  • Goal: Divine union, not private perfection, is the goal of all religion.

From Judgment to Hope:
A Study on the Prophets.
Walter Brueggemann.
Pbk 140pp. ISBN 9780664265519.
Westminster John Knox (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

By highlighting the common themes of judgment and hope found in the prophets’ messages, Brueggemann invites readers to consider what those messages mean for us today. Questions for reflection conclude each chapter. Suitable for individual or group study.

Brueggemann lays out a compelling case for the interconnectedness of the prophets’ messages over the course of several centuries and numerous national tragedies for the divided kingdom: Judah and Israel. He includes a comparative timeline for each prophet, and an explanation of the prophet’s message and intended audience.

Becoming a Just Church:
Cultivating Communities of God’s Shalom.
Adam L  Gustine.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9780830841516.

IVP Books (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

How should the local church think about justice?

Gustine provides a theological vision for the church’s identity as a just people, where God’s character and the pursuit of shalom infuses every aspect of congregational DNA. In this renewed vision, the church becomes a prophetic alternative to the broken systems of the world and a parable of God’s intentions for human flourishing and societal transformation.

How Change Comes to Your Church:
A Guidebook for Church Innovations.
Patrick Keifert; Wesley Granberg-Michaelson.
Pbk 144pp. ISBN 9780802876249.

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

Many congregations recognize their need to bring about change in order to become or remain vital, both spiritually and organisationally. They have a sense of what they need, and what might keep them from changing. But they don’t know how to change.

The authors draw on their practical experience, stories and life examples as experienced church leaders. They have helped scores of congregations as well as larger denominational organisations identify key elements that are a necessary part of transformational change. The set out innovative spiritual practices that will establish the foundation for durable, missional change for your church.

Made for Mission:
Renewing Your Parish Culture.
Tim Glemkowski.
Pbk 144pp. ISBN 9781681924588.

Our Sunday Visitor (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Glemkowski offers four keys to a radical change in parish culture and outlines a simple strategy for evangelisation that every parish can use:

The four keys are:

  1. Cast the vision
  2. Prioritize a clear path to discipleship
  3. Mobilize leaders
  4. Align everything

A must-read for Catholic clergy, lay parish staff, anyone working in ministry and any dedicated parishioner who is passionate about renewing the Church.

Twenty Lives That Illuminate the Christian Way.
Rowan Williams.
Hbk 160pp. ISBN 9780281082957.
SPCK (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Starting in the first century with St Paul and ending in the 20th with St Oscar Romero, Williams invites you to reflect with him on the lives and legacies of 20 great Christians – saints, martyrs, poets, theologians and social reformers. Their stories and writings have profoundly influenced his own life and thought, and this sequence of short reflections is sure to sharpen your theological vision and cast a fresh light on what it means to live and breathe the gospel.

Included among these ‘luminaries’ are Augustine of Hippo, William Tyndale, Teresa of Avila, Charles Dickens, Florence Nightingale, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Simone Weil.

Surprised by Paradox:
The Promise of “and” in an Either-Or World.
Jen Pollock Michel.
Pbk 216pp. ISBN 9780830845644.

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

What if certainty isn’t the goal? In a world filled with ambiguity, many of us long for a belief system that provides straightforward answers to complex questions and clarity in the face of confusion. We want faith to act like an orderly set of truth-claims designed to solve the problems and pain that life throws at us.

With personal stories and reflection on Scripture, literature, and culture, Michel takes us deeper into mystery and into worship of the One who is Mystery and Love.

With candour and depth, Michel helps readers to instead imagine a Christian faith open to mystery. While there are certainties in Christian faith, at the heart of the Christian story is also paradox. Jesus invites us to abandon the polarities of either and or in order to embrace the difficult, wondrous dissonance of and.

The Forgiveness Fix:
101 Stories about Putting the Past in the Past.
Amy Newmark.
Pbk 384pp. ISBN 9781611599947.

Chicken Soup for the Soul (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Forgiveness is an amazing tool – it can transform your life in just one second if you decide that you want to use its power. There’s a reason we refer to anger, resentment and disappointment as “baggage.” We carry it everywhere we go. We’d like nothing more than to drop it on the side of the road and forget about it. But how do we do that?

These 101 revealing true stories show you how.

The Marvelous Mustard Seed.
Amy-Jill Levine; Sandy Eisenberg Sasso; Margaux Meganck illust.
Hbk 40pp. ISBN 9780664262754.

Flyaway Books. (2018).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

“A child plants a mustard seed in an empty garden. It is an itty-bitty seed. It isn’t anything very special – yet.”

Based on Jesus’ parable of the Mustard Seed, this inspiring children’s book shows young readers that one tiny seed – just like one small child – carries a world of potential. The book features ethnically diverse characters, and it is ideal for children ages 4-8. A special note for parents and teachers is included.

What Do Our Neighbors Believe?: Questions and Answers on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Second Edition.
Micah Greenstein, Kendra G Hotz, John Kaltner.
Pbk 190pp. ISBN 9780664265106.
Westminster John Knox (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

The current social and political climate makes it easy to benefit from religious misunderstanding. Political and religious leaders create fear of the religious other in order to drum up support for themselves. But the best way to combat deliberate misrepresentation is to provide accurate, timely information about the three great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

By introducing the common aspects of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the authors make understanding their genuine differences and their many similarities much more possible.

Originally published in 2007 this book organises the three belief systems, asking the same questions of each:

  • When and where did each originate?
  • What are the sacred writings?
  • What kind of leaders does each have?
  • What are their most essential beliefs?

New sections explore current ethical questions and issues, including the deliberate use of misinformation about Islam to bolster power and generate fear and the recent rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes.

Why I am a Pacifist:
A call for a more nonviolent world
(Quaker Quicks).
Tim Gee.
Pbk 88pp. ISBN 9781789040166.
John Hunt Publishing (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Tim Gee tells the story of why he became a pacifist and what it means to him. Gee reflects on the lives of peace-makers past and present to provide responses to questions like:

  • Don’t we have to hit back if we’re hurt?
  • Don’t we need war to respond to evil?
  • Doesn’t religion justify wars?

This is a critique of war, but more than that, it stakes a claim for pacifism’s feminist and anti-racist qualities. This is a call for a more nonviolent world.

Light of Heaven Saints Coloring Book (Catholic).
Adalee Hude. Pbk 48pp.

ISBN 9781681923697.
Our Sunday Visitor (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Celebrate the lives of 23 favourite saints! Illustrated by artist Adalee Hude, each colouring page is rich with detail, reminiscent of beautiful stained-glass works of art. Make each one your own using crayons, markers, or pens, bringing the lovely images to life! For children or adults.

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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