November 2020 Selection

November 2020 Selection

This selection includes titles which look at the big pictures of climate change, society, robotics/artificial intelligence, spirituality and Christianity, and developments we can expect in the near future. At the end of the list is a free PDF download Faith for Earth: A Call for Action published by the United Nations Environment Programme.

Highlights include: Simone Campbell’s Hunger for Hope; Riders on the Storm by
Alastair McIntoshBroken Signposts by N T (Tom) Wright and The Purpose of Power by 
Alicia Garza.

There are also new books by Rob Bell and Matthew Fox.

Worship, preaching and daily devotional resources for Year B – 2021,
including Fresh From the Word and Upper Room Disciplines


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[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 2 November 2020]

At Home in Advent:
A domestic journey from Advent to Epiphany.
Gordon Giles.
Pbk 176pp.

ISBN 9780857469809.
Bible Reading Fellowship (2020).
[Out of stock at our
UK supplier as at 5 Nov. so we can’t supply at present]

Gordon Giles takes a journey through Advent to Christmas and beyond in the company of familiar seasonal and domestic objects and experiences.

Focusing on the everyday stuff we typically associate with this time of year, including some things not so festive, he reflects on their spiritual significance, meaning and message in today’s world. Beginning with chapters on journeying and travel, the book moves though major Advent themes of expectation, waiting, mortality and hope to the joy of incarnation and salvation.

Into the Heart of Advent:
Twenty-five Conversations with Jesus.
Penelope Wilcock.
Pbk 128pp. ISBN 9780281084432.
SPCK (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

Imagine meeting up with Jesus for a heart-to-heart conversation. What would you say to him? What might he say to you? Full of thought-provoking wisdom, this is a bold, imaginative Advent book for 2020.

Penelope Wilcock takes us into the heart of Advent in this engaging devotional that offers a unique take on the Christmas season. In a series of twenty-five reflections, she invites you to listen in on conversations with Jesus about the Christian journey and the meaning of Advent for our lives today. Full of thought-provoking wisdom, this is a bold, imaginative Advent book for 2020.

Covering a variety of topics, from families, gifts, angels, homes and hospitality – and more besides – these are Advent reflections that speak to the core of the Christian faith. This is a book for anyone who has wondered what talking with Jesus might be like, or anyone who is looking for a fresh, alternative way of engaging with the Advent season.

Brave Talk:
Building Resilient Relationships in the Face of Conflict.
Melody Stanford Martin.
Hbk 300pp. ISBN 9781506462448.

Broadleaf Books (2020).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

When we disagree about fundamental issues, especially issues such as politics or religion, it can be incredibly difficult to maintain close interpersonal relationships. We need a tool to help us build more resilient relationships despite real and present differences. Communications expert Melody Stanford Martin offers just such a tool: impasse.

By learning to treat every conflict as if it’s an impasse and temporarily suspend our desire to resolve differences, we make space for deeper understanding and stronger ties. Brave Talk offers hands-on skill-building in critical thinking, power sharing, and rhetoric. Combining real-life storytelling, engaging illustrations, and rigorous academic sources, this book blends humour, creativity, and interactive learning to help everyday people develop better skills for navigating conflict in order to build stronger relationships and healthier communities.

Everything Is Spiritual.
Rob Bell.
Pbk 320pp. ISBN 9781250781710.

St. Martin’s Press (2020).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Everything is Spiritual is a brief history of how ideas about creation, love, and connection shaped the author – and can shape every one of us. Bell explores the concept that what people really want, more than anything, is to understand their purpose here – so much so that it gives them an abiding sense of awe and wonder.

There is a space beyond all the parts and divisions and differences and polarisation where you see that it’s all one connected whole and it’s all rigged in favour of your growth, expansion, and joy.

Hunger for Hope:
Prophetic Communities, Contemplation, and the Common Good.
Simone Campbell;
Helen Prejean – Foreword.
Pbk 160pp. ISBN 9781626983786.

Orbis Books (2020).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Campbell, one of the organizers of the “Nuns on the Bus” campaign shows how faith supports action in a world in great need of both. The chaotic individualism of these times demands a prayer practice that summons a prophetic response in community with those who are marginalized in our fractured economic system and broken world. Hunger for Hope explores the quest for a justice that works for all and explores what it means to be “holy” in today’s world.

Broken Signposts:
How Christianity Makes Sense of the World.
N T (Tom) Wright.
Pbk 208pp. ISBN 9780063072213.
HarperCollins (2020).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

In this thoughtful follow-up to Simply Christian ($37.50), Wright argues that every world view must explain seven signposts, indicators inherent to humanity: Justice, Spirituality, Relationships, Beauty, Freedom, Truth and Power.

Using the Gospel of John as his source, Wright shows how Christianity defines each signpost and illuminates why we so often see them as being broken and unattainable.

Collected Essays of N. T. Wright.
N T (Tom) Wright.
Hbk 768pp. ISBN 9780310107385.
Zondervan (2020).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

In-depth studies on the Bible, Jesus, and Paul by the most influential New Testament interpreter of our time.

Here are Wright’s most important articles on Scripture and hermeneutics, Jesus and the Gospels, and Paul and his Letters over the last three decades.

Here is a rich feast for all serious students of the New Testament. Each essay in this three-volume collection (bound together here in one volume) will amply reward those looking for detailed, incisive, and exquisitely nuanced exegesis, resulting in a clearer, deeper and more informed appreciation of Scripture and its application to Christian life and thought today.

Julian of Norwich:
Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic – And Beyond.
Matthew Fox.
Pbk 180pp. ISBN 9781663208682.

iUniverse (2020).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.

The Power of Ritual:
Turning Everyday Activities Into Soulful Practices.
Casper ter Kuile.
Hbk 224pp. ISBN 9780062881816.

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

The Power of Ritual reminds us that what we already do every day matters – and has the potential to become a powerful experience of reflection, sanctuary, and meaning.

ter Kuile, explores how we can nourish our souls by transforming common, everyday practices – yoga, reading, walking the dog – into sacred rituals that can heal our crisis of social isolation and struggle to find purpose, a message we need more than ever for our spiritual and emotional well-being in the age of COVID-19.

[Now in paperback]
How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What to Do about It.
David Zahl.
Pbk 232pp. ISBN 9781506467641.

Broadleaf Books (2020).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Zahl challenges the conventional narrative of religious decline. He unmasks the competing pieties around which so much of people’s lives revolve, and he does so in a way that’s at points playful, personal, and incisive.

At the heart of our current moment lies a universal yearning, not to be happy or respected so much as enough – what religions call “righteous.”

Ultimately, he brings us to a fresh appreciation for the grace of God in all its countercultural wonder.

The Globotics Upheaval:
Globalisation, Robotics and the Future of Work.
Richard Baldwin.
Pbk 304pp. ISBN 9781474609036.

Orion (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

We stand on the edge of a new era that will bring change to our world on a par with the Industrial Revolution. Automation, artificial intelligence and robotics are changing our lives quickly – but digital disruption goes much further than we realize.

While the changes are now inevitable, there are strategies that humanity can use to adapt to this new world, employing the indispensable skills that no machine can copy: creativity and independent thought.

A manifesto for future-proofing our jobs and prosperity.” The Sunday Times


The Purpose of Power:
How We Come Together When We Fall Apart.
Alicia Garza.
Hbk 336pp. ISBN 9780525509684.

One World (2020).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

This is the story of one woman’s lessons through years of bringing people together to create change. Most of all, it is a new paradigm for change for a new generation of changemakers, from the mind and heart behind one of the most important movements of our time.

An essential guide to building transformative movements to address the challenges of our time, from one of the country’s leading organizers and a co-creator of Black Lives Matter.

The lessons she offers are different from the “rules for radicals” that animated earlier generations of activists, and diverge from the charismatic, patriarchal model of the American civil rights movement. She reflects instead on how making room amongst for those who are still awakening can inspire and activate more people to fight for the world we all deserve.

Preaching Jeremiah:
Announcing God’s Restorative Passion
(Working Preacher series).
Walter Brueggemann.
Pbk 200pp. ISBN 9781506466019.

Fortress Press (2020).
[Allow 4-5 weeks].

The task of the preacher mirrors the task of the prophet who seeks to pluck and tear down, as well as to plant and to build. The preacher cannot, as Brueggemann says, participate in a cover-up. The preaching task requires honesty about what God requires and a clear proclamation of what God has done and will yet do.

He wonders: What if the book of Jeremiah is treated as a long sermonic reflection about the traumatic events that led to exile and displacement for the people of Judah? Why did it happen? Is God faithful? Does God punish? Is there any future?

This theme and these questions can also be related to the crucifixion of Jesus and the displacement experienced by his followers. Brueggemann extends his wonderment further to the displacement experienced in modern American culture, as events jolt our notions of exceptionalism and chosen-ness. All of those same propensities were at work in ancient Israel in the wake of the displacement of Jerusalem, a wake given voice in the book of Jeremiah. Brueggemann analyses the various parts of the sermon through the organisation of the book of Jeremiah, looking at Introduction, Body, and Conclusion, comparing them to Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Resurrection Sunday.

Let Go:
Seven Stumbling Blocks to Christian Discipleship.
Casey Cole.
Pbk 160pp. ISBN 9781632533005.

Franciscan Media (2020).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

“What must I do to gain eternal life?” The rich man who asked this of Jesus was told to sell all he had and give to the poor. But, more importantly, he was told, “Come, follow me!”

Franciscan Casey Cole challenges us to let go of something more difficult than material wealth: expectations, anxiety, comfort, wounds, enemies, power and our very selves. Speaking from both personal and pastoral experience, he outlines the stumbling blocks that turn us away from following Jesus as true disciples.

The response to “What must I do?” is simple but not easy: Let go. Now.

Pharisees & Fallacies:
Myth and reality in religious thought.
Norman Maclean.
Pbk 222pp. ISBN 9780947493967.

Steele Roberts (2019).
[Allow 10-14 days].

These essays address commonly recognised, but little understood aspects of the Judaeo-Christian tradition: the creation myth; patriarchal biblical figures; sainthood; Heaven above and Hell below; the Marys – virgin and whore; New Age fascinations; apocalyptic prophecies and several other topics of contemporary interest.

The urge to shape belief is instinctive, culturally nurtured, and draws strands from multiple sources. Myth-making, Maclean says, thrives even in a secular age

Maclean has taught classics, art history and religious studies, and has lectured on National Radio on myth, legend, mysticism.

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

Greystone Books (2020).
[Allow 3-4 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.

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

Birlinn (2020)
[Allow 3-4 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.

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

Sacristy Press (2020).
[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 Weather Machine:
A Journey Inside the Forecast
Andrew Blum.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9780062368638.

Ecco Press (2020).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Blum takes readers on a fascinating journey through an everyday miracle. In a quest to understand how weather forecasts work, he visits old weather stations and watches new satellites blast off. He follows the dogged efforts of scientists to create a supercomputer model of the atmosphere and traces the surprising history of the algorithms that power their work.

He discovers that we have quietly entered a golden age of meteorology – our tools allow us to predict weather more accurately than ever, and yet we haven’t learned to trust them, nor can we guarantee the fragile international alliances that allow our modern weather machine to exist.

Written with the sharp wit and infectious curiosity Andrew Blum is known for, The Weather Machine pulls back the curtain on a universal part of our everyday lives, illuminating our relationships with technology, the planet and the global community.

Faith for Earth:
A Call for Action
© 2020 United Nations
Environment Programme

The impact of our actions and choices continues to escalate, causing the ever-worsening global climate emergency, altering natural global processes and major ecosystems, accelerating extinctions of countless forms of life, and deepening human suffering on an unprecedented scale.

Scientific evidence documenting the crisis is undeniable and grows with every passing day. At the same time, there has been a surge of faith-based action and advocacy on behalf of the environment from religious groups everywhere. The response is coming from every corner of the world, reflecting both the diversity of the ways we define our relationship with nature and the essential unity of values at the core of all our hope.

As we begin this century’s third decade, the new edition — produced through a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme and the Parliament of the World’s Religions Climate Action — offers an introduction to the magnitude of the task we now face and to the faith communities that are becoming a force for the global environmental future. Also, in keeping with the urgency of the work that must be done to heal our planet, we have changed the book’s title. It is time, as never before, to call on our faith, our values, our religious teachings and traditions – on Faith for Earth. And it is time for action.

Download the PDF for free here:

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