November 2021 Selection

November 2021 Selection

We are delighted to feature a new collection of writings by Rachel Held Evans, whose photo heads this page. At the time of her tragic death in 2019, Rachel was working on a new book about Wholeheartedness, which has now been completed by her close friend and author Jeff Chu.

We also feature After Jesus, Before Christianity by three Westar Institute scholars about how Christianity developed in the 200 years after Jesus’ death.

Topics of other books include:

  • prayers for public and private worship
  • mental health, faith, and showing up for one another
  • an updated and revised book of extreme crafts for Messy Churches that men and boys will enjoy
  • a biography about pioneering NZ feminist Kate Edger, and 
  • a look at how an ancient monastic practice can restore our relationships, churches, and communities.

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[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 30 October 2021]

Wholehearted Faith.
Rachel Held Evans; Jeff Chu.
Hbk 224pp. ISBN 9780062894472.

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

A new collection of original writings by Rachel Held Evans, whose reflections on faith and life continue to encourage, challenge, and influence.

At the time of her tragic death in 2019, Rachel was working on a new book about wholeheartedness. With the help of her close friend and author Jeff Chu, that work-in-progress has been woven together with some of her other unpublished writings into a rich collection of essays that ask candid questions about the stories we’ve been told – and the stories we tell  – about our faith, our selves, and our world.

This book is for the doubter and the dreamer, the seeker and the sojourner, those who long for a sense of spiritual wholeness as well as those who have been hurt by the Church but can’t seem to let go of the story of Jesus. Through theological reflection and personal recollection, Rachel wrestles with God’s grace and love, looks unsparingly at what the Church is and does, and explores universal human questions about becoming and belonging. An unforgettable, moving, and intimate book.

“I love everything Rachel Held Evans wrote, and I love her profound, warm-hearted, brilliant storytelling. Her books have always thrown the theological lights on for me, charmed the pants off me, entertained and enlightened me.” Anne Lamott, author

After Jesus, Before Christianity:
A Historical Exploration of the First Two Centuries of Jesus Movements.
Erin Vearncombe; Brandon Scott; Hal Taussig; The Westar Institute.
Hbk 368pp ISBN 9780063062153.

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

Exciting and revolutionary, After Jesus, Before Christianity provides fresh insights into the real history behind how the Jesus movement became Christianity.

Three Bible scholars from the Westar Institute summarize the work of the Christianity Seminar and its efforts to offer a new way of thinking about Christianity and its roots. Synthesizing the institute’s most recent scholarship – bringing together the many archaeological and textual discoveries over the last 20 years, they have found:

  • There were multiple Jesus movements, not a singular one, before the fourth century
  • There was nothing called Christianity until the third century
  • There was much more flexibility and diversity within Jesus’s movement before it became centralized in Rome, not only regarding the Bible and religious doctrine, but also understandings of gender, sexuality and morality.

“This book is a work of genius. You are about to read a book that possesses the potential to rewrite history.” Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

“Tracing the early history of Christianity from Jesus to Constantine, this book serves as an excellent preparation for the emergence of Christendom. Its timing is auspicious, given the current confusion in America about the definition of Christianity and the relations between Christianity, culture, and society.” Burton L. Mack, author of The Lost Gospels

Prayers for Living:
500 Prayers for Public and Private Worship.
Rosalind Brown.
Pbk 270pp. ISBN 9781789591880.

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

500 new accessible, contemporary and wide-ranging intercessory prayers suitable for public worship or private devotion.

In addition to prayers for various world, national, local and people’s needs, there are prayers for our stewardship of God’s world and prayers inspired by ordinary but often overlooked events in daily life including subject like children, dementia, unintentional hurt, people with special needs, fostering, people we miss, exams, carers, road safety, undervalued workers, foodbanks, and families under stress.

Many of the prayers were written during Brown’s 13 years of ministry at Durham Cathedral, and, as one Evensong worshipper put it, they “say what I want to say to God.”

Shelter Theology:
The Religious Lives of People without Homes.
Susan J. Dunlap.
Hbk 192pp. ISBN 9781506471556.

Fortress Press (2021).
[Allow 4-5 weeks].

Based on over ten years of chaplaincy in a homeless shelter, Dunlap shares the theology of people in harsh circumstances and outlines how their beliefs and practices enable survival and resistance.

After depicting the local history of her small southern city, she describes the prayer service she co-leads in a homeless shelter. Clients offer words of faith and encouragement that take the form of prayer, sayings, testimony, song, and short sermons.

Dunlap describes both these forms of expression and their theological content. She asserts that these forms and beliefs are a means of survival and resistance in a hostile world. The ways they serve these purposes are further demonstrated in life stories told as testimonies, incorporating scripture, sayings, oral tradition, and popular culture.

“Shelter Theology is the disruption our world needs. Dunlap boldly invites us into this believing community as they recognize systemic and other injustices and offer personal and communal restoration. Come prepared to be transformed.” Jaco J. Hamman, Vanderbilt University

Deep Peace:
Finding Calm in a World of Conflict and Anxiety.
Todd Hunter.
Pbk 272pp. ISBN 9780310120438.

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

Hunter analyses the anxiety and desperation of our world today and leads readers to receive the peace of Jesus and experience the deep wholeness that comes from the peace of God, becoming a peace-maker.

We live in a fearful, anxiety-driven age where the problems and challenges of the world, which come to us daily by news feed, far outstrip our abilities to respond. This sense of desperation leads to discord and violence: from bitter, cutting remarks to the atrocities of war; from pervasive racism to knee-jerk micro-aggressions.

But what if the root of these problems is not found out there, in my dumb, evil friend, family member or colleague at work, but in here – in my mind, heart, thought-life, and emotions, in my own desire to win at all costs?


Not Quite Fine:
Mental Health, Faith, and Showing Up for One Another
Carlene Hill Byron.
Pbk 206pp. ISBN 9781513808215.

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

In this practical guide for people who care, Byron tackles the mounting dilemmas that pastors and churches face around mental health.

Medicines and therapies have their roles in supporting those who live with mental health problems or mental illness. But God’s own body as the church is intended to be our greatest support in this world.

How can the church step up for such a time as this?

How can the body of Christ become a healing community for its members in pain – a place where the weary find strength for the journey, a place where those who mourn are raised up as rebuilders of the cities left in ruins?

Drawing on her own history of mental health problems and her experience as a teacher and lay counsellor, Byron offers words of hope for those who struggle as well as practical insights to equip congregations to better support those who are suffering in their midst.

You Are Not Your Own:
Belonging to God in an Inhuman World.
Alan Noble.
Hbk 323pp. ISBN 9780830847822.

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

“You are your own, and you belong to yourself.”

This is the fundamental assumption of modern life. And if we are our own, then it’s up to us to forge our own identities and to make our lives significant. But while that may sound empowering, it turns out to be a crushing responsibility – one that never actually delivers on its promise of a free and fulfilled life, but instead leaves us burned out, depressed, anxious, and alone.

The Christian gospel offers a strikingly different vision.

As the Heidelberg Catechism puts it, “I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Noble explores how this simple truth reframes the way we understand ourselves, our families, our society, and God. Contrasting these two visions of life, he invites us past the sickness of contemporary life into a better understanding of who we are and to whom we belong.

(Belief: A Theological Commentary on the Bible series).
Amos Yong.
Hbk 320pp. ISBN 9780664232481.

Westminster John Knox (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

The book of Revelation stands as one of the most challenging and inspiring in the Christian canon. While giving rise to much unhelpful speculation, its core message of the active sovereignty of God in a hostile world has given courage and comfort throughout Christian history.

Yong analyses the message of Revelation to its earliest readers and speaks to its ongoing meaning for believers today.

Extreme Crafts for Messy Churches:
80 activity ideas for the adventurous.

Revised and Expanded.
Barry Brand; Pete Maidment.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9780857469731.

Bible Reading Fellowship (2021).
[Allow 4-5 weeks].

These 80 activities for Messy Church sessions are carefully crafted to appeal to male as well as female participants. They challenge any assumption that Messy Church ‘isn’t really for men or boys’ and offer approaches to engage men and boys in an intentional way.

Featuring sections on Big Stuff, Construction, Science, Arty and Edible Crafts, this book provides inspiration for creating a Messy Church that everyone will love to be part of.

Eternal Heart:
The Mystical Path to a Joyful Life.
Carl McColman.
Hbk 208pp. ISBN 9781506464619.

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

The path of Christian Mysticism is a path of action. By unlocking the mysteries in our hearts, we discover a source of power deep within us: a power for spiritual growth, and for creating meaningful relationships and working together to change the world for the better.

McColman invites us to create an optimistic, visionary, and imaginative path to personal happiness and fulfilment.

Weaving together teachings from the biblical tradition, literature of the mystics, and Buddhism, he engages us in profound, practical exercises for cultivating fuller, more abundant, and more satisfying lives.

Kate Edger:
The life of a pioneering feminist.
Diana Morrow.
Pbk 276pp. ISBN 9781988592640.

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

In 1877, Kate Edger became the first woman to graduate from a New Zealand university.

Diana Morrow tells the story of this remarkable New Zealand woman’s life and, in the process, provides valuable insights into the role of women social reformers in our history and Edger’s place within a distinctive strand of Christian feminism.

Edger was a pioneer of women’s education in New Zealand. She also worked tirelessly to mitigate violence against women and children and to fortify their rights through progressive legislation. She campaigned for women’s suffrage and played a prominent role in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and in Wellington’s Society for the Protection of Women and Children.

Later in life she advocated international diplomacy and co-operation through her work for the League of Nations Union.

The Sun Is a Star:
A voyage through the universe.
Dick Frizzell.
Hbk 101pp. ISBN 9780995146563.

Massey University Press (2021). $45.00.
[Allow 10 days].

In this enchanting book for readers of all ages, renowned New Zealand painter Dick Frizzell takes his lifelong interest in the stars, the planets, space and the universe and turns it into a book that demystifies everything from White Dwarves and black holes to space travel. 

“The universe – and everything in it – is always expanding into tomorrow … What a scene, eh? More magic than magic. Magic, mysterious and beautiful. And here we are. On the third rock from the sun, figuring it out.”

The BRF Book of 365 Bible Reflections:

with contributions from BRF authors, supporters and well-wishers.
Karen Laister; Olivia  Warburton eds.
Hbk 400pp. ISBN 9781800391000.

Bible Reading Fellowship (2021).
[Allow 4-5 weeks].

The Bible is at the heart of BRF’s work, and this special anniversary collection is a celebration of the Bible for BRF’s centenary year.

Bringing together a fantastically wide-ranging writing team of authors, supporters and well-wishers from all areas of BRF’s work, this resource is designed to help us go deeper into the story of the Bible and reflect on how we can share it in our everyday lives.

Including sections which lead us through the Bible narrative as well as thematic and seasonal sections, it is the perfect daily companion to resource your spiritual journey.

Contributors include: Amy Boucher Pye, Stephen Cottrell, Steven Croft, Bob Hartman, Lucy Moore, Margaret Silf, Jo Swinney and Justin Welby.

How an Ancient Monastic Practice Can Restore Our Relationships, Churches, and Communities.
Nathan Oates.
Pbk 160pp. ISBN 9781640605466.

Paraclete Press (2021).
[Allow 4-5 weeks].

What is the foundation of work that lasts?

As Christians in a hypermobile culture, most of the time we talk about going and doing, about the need for meaningful action, service, and pilgrimage.

Oates encourages us to listen to a quieter call. He considers the foundation, the roots, the bass note, that place of origin from which the building rises and the fruit blooms and the music soars and all the action comes – the place of stability. This call is rooted in the being of God; the faithfulness, reliability, and unchanging character of God.

Drawing from some of the best writings on Benedictine spirituality and from his personal experiences raising a family, pastoring a church, and spending time living with monks, Nathan Oates offers a compelling invitation to find inner peace and stillness right where we are.

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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