September 2019 Selection

September 2019 Selection

This selection includes another recent book Striking Out by Bishop Stephen Cottrell who visited NZ last month. There are books on death and dying and good pastoral responses.
Richard Rohr reflects on the question What Do We Do With the Bible?

Tom Bennardo provides an Honest Guide to Church Planting, and Alan Bartlett reflects on where parish ministry is heading. 

There are also books which take a fresh look at Paul’s letters and offer new thinking about effective preaching.

Click here to check out our selection of Year A, 2020 preaching, worship and devotional books.

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[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 30 August 2019]

Augustine’s Life of Prayer, Learning and Love:
Lessons for Christian living.
Cally Hammond.

Pbk 176pp. ISBN 9780857467133.
BRF (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

What can we learn from Augustine? There are many books that tell the life story of Augustine and how he has been fundamental in shaping Western Christian theology and practice. This is not one of them.

This book is about how he became a Christian – the problems he faced; the doubts he struggled with. It is about how he made sense of his belief in God and shared it with other people. It is about how he learned to read the Bible, and to pray. And it is about the word which is at the heart of his Christian life – love. It concludes with moments of prayer from Augustine’s life, in which he glimpses visions of God, encouraging the reader to take their own next steps in discipleship.

“I am so grateful for this delightful and accessible introduction to Augustine, one of the most fascinating figures of Christian history. Here is the wonder and challenge of the Christian faith through Augustine’s most personal of writings, skilfully interpreted to show how our most human struggles and longings can bring us to the love of God.” Revd Angela Tilby, Canon Emeritus of Christ Church, Oxford

Striking Out:
Poems and stories from the Camino.
Stephen Cottrell.
Pbk 96pp. ISBN 9781786221162.

Canterbury Press (2018).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

On a September morning, Bishop Stephen Cottrell said mass in his chapel, kissed his wife goodbye, stepped out of his front door and walked two miles to the nearest station. It was the start of a 700 kilometre pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

This is a spiritual diary of that journey, comprising reflections, prayer poems and evocative images from the road and poetry which Stephen Cottrell has written for many years.

Arranged in four sections, each with seven paired reflections and poems, the shape of the book echoes the rhythm of walking and is an intimate and honest account of the profound effect of the age-old tradition of going on pilgrimage.

Choosing the least travelled route across northern Spain, he craved the solitude of the road and felt the small vulnerabilities of not knowing what each day would bring – where meals or a bed would be found – would be beneficial. As a busy diocesan bishop, he looked forward not so much to arriving at the great destination, but to what the journey itself would reveal to him.

Click here for:
Other books by Stephen Cottrell available from us

Seriously Messy:
Making space for families to talk together about death and life.
Joanna Collicutt; Lucy Moore; Martyn Payne; Victoria Slater.
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9780857468239.

BRF (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

When families experience bereavement and loss, it can be hard for the wider church community to know how best to support them. In this book, four experienced authors and practitioners offer inter-generational approaches for engaging with questions of death and life in a safe and supportive setting.

The material guides church communities who are dealing with the death of loved ones and other situations of loss in talking together as a church family, in applying the Christian message of the resurrection in challenging situations, and in listening to each other and developing their own insights.

The opening chapters offer an easy-to-read overview of issues of death and dying, and why this is such an important topic for churches. Part 2 consists of a series of five short theological reflections, exploring traditional images and the language that Christians have always used when talking about death.

The five Messy Church sessions in Part 3 continue these themes, each offering material for a two-hour all-age Messy Church service followed by a meal together.

Near the Exit:
Travels with the Not-So-Grim Reaper.
Lori Erickson.
Pbk 180pp. ISBN 9780664265670.

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

After her brother died unexpectedly and her mother moved into a dementia-care facility, spiritual travel writer and Episcopal deacon Lori Erickson felt called to a new quest: to face death head on, with the eye of a tourist and the heart of a pastor. Blending memoir, spirituality, and travel, she examines how cultures confront and have confronted death, from Egypt’s Valley of the Kings and Mayan temples, to a Colorado cremation pyre and Day of the Dead celebrations, to Maori settlements and tourist-destination graveyards.

Erickson reflects on mortality – the ways we avoid it, the ways we cope with it, and the ways life is made more precious by accepting it – in places as far away as New Zealand and as close as the nursing home up the street.

Throughout her personal journey and her travels, Erickson helps us to see that one of the most life-affirming things we can do is to invite death along for the ride.

Into the Depths:
A Chaplain’s Reflections on Death, Dying and Pastoral Care.
Rosie Deedes.
Pbk 190pp. ISBN 9781789590326.
Sacristy Press (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Pastoral care is central to Christian ministry, and it can take ministers to the edges of human life. Chaplains often work on the edge of institutions, and frequently on the edge of society.

In this thoughtful and practical book, Rosie Deedes draws on her experience as a chaplain in prisons and hospices and reflects on the nature of pastoral care and the contribution chaplaincy can make to the life and ministry of the Church.

Focusing particularly on the taboo subject of death and dying, she shows how ministers such as clergy and chaplains are called to go ‘into the depths’ of human life to share the love and compassion of God. Reflecting on many pastoral encounters, the book invites ministers to confront the depths of human life and to develop resilience that enables them to engage in depth with all they encounter.

Does Religion Do More Harm Than Good?
Rupert Short.
Pbk 80pp. ISBN 9780281078714.

SPCK (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

History is littered with wars and atrocities apparently inspired by religion, and today there seems no end to reports of cruelty and violence carried out in the name of God.

But is it belief in God that motivates these evils? Or do they spring from other motives? Or could it simply be that there is good religion and there is bad religion, and we just need to learn to tell the difference?

Short’s investigation of these questions will encourage both believers and unbelievers to discard the lazy thinking and easy assumptions that so often disfigure the arguments on either side of this debate.

What Do We Do With the Bible?
Richard Rohr.
Hbk.96pp. ISBN 9780281083213.

SPCK (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Does this ancient, sometimes violent and contradictory text have anything to teach us today? Selective use of Scripture – by preachers and politicians alike – has been employed to justify violence, racism, misogyny, homophobia … the list goes on.

Still, we believe the Bible has something important to say. How can we read it in a contemplative and intelligent way?

Richard Rohr answers just this question. He offers a methodology of hermeneutics (interpretation) that creates a foundation for a hopeful and cosmic vision – incarnation from beginning to end of time. (He explores this vision further in The Universal Christ). In particular, Father Richard focuses on Jesus’ own method of using his Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus read between the lines to find and follow God’s mercy, inclusion, and compassionate justice. For him, everything came down to relationship and transformation.

Celebrating the Renewal of Parish Ministry.
Alan Bartlett
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9780281079179.

SPCK (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Drawing on the resources of Classic Anglicanism, Bartlett offers a clear theological vision for the future.

This book celebrates the tradition of English Anglican ordained pastoral ministry; it also affirms the value of vicars’ ministry and way of life, and the great gift they have for relating to our communities and churches.

The ‘vicar’ (parish priest, pastor, minister) still leads people – those who ‘come to church’ and those who don’t – in prayer and praise, cares for them in their sufferings and rejoices with them in their joys. This deep wisdom has sustained the Church for centuries.

Yet, the questions must be asked: how can we be better equipped to make prudent decisions about the way church ministry has to evolve now? How can we meet the evident need in our parishes for an institutional church?

Words That Heal:
Preaching Hope to Wounded Souls
(Artistry in Preaching series).
Joni S Sancken.
Pbk 128pp. ISBN 9781501849688.

Abingdon Press (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

The author guides readers through an exploration of human woundedness, employing trauma theory and biblical theology to show how preaching can aid the healing process.

She includes helpful hermeneutical tools that are easy to access and use-including lists, charts, and concrete suggestions.

She also showcases worship practices, sermons, and ministries that actively support healing for wounded souls, giving readers a glimpse of how words really do heal in all sorts of setting today.

The Honest Guide to Church Planting:
What No One Ever Tells You about Planting and Leading a New Church.
Tom Bennardo.
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9780310100997.

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

Church planting is at once the greatest and most gruelling ministry work on earth. This book is for those toiling in the trenches, those about to bail out, and those considering jumping in. It’s for the church planters labouring and struggling, seeing little movement, and wondering what they’re doing wrong or why God is failing them.

It’s also for mother churches, planting organisations, and denominations, as a challenge to rethink and re-calibrate the way they approach and measure planting endeavours.

Bennardo offers a fresh and candid conversation about the challenges and joys of planting new churches. He speaks the truth so that those involved in church planting can embrace a more accurate and realistic picture of what planting a church is really like; one that not only enables them to survive, but to thrive in this difficult work.

Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent:
Sacred Teachings Annotated & Explained.
Rami Shapiro
Foreword Richard Rohr.
Pbk 313pp. ISBN 9781594735158.
Skylight Paths (2013).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

A “bible” for the religiously unaffiliated, weaving sacred texts from the world’s major religions into a coherent exploration of the core questions at the heart of every religion’s search, with insightful commentary on using these texts in our daily lives.

The spiritual teachings of many faith traditions can help you step beyond the limits of any one tradition into the reality that can’t be named.

“Even the spiritually independent can use a wise pastor, and Rami Shapiro steps into this role admirably, with his inimitable combination of wit, irony, honesty and luminous mystical understanding. The perfect guide for navigating the deep seas of perennial wisdom!” Cynthia Bourgeault, author

The Lost Message of Paul:
Why Has the Church Misunderstood the Apostle Paul?
Steve Chalke.
Pbk 256pp. ISBN 9780281079407.

SPCK (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

We have misunderstood Paul, badly. We have read his words through our own set of assumptions. We need to begin with Paul’s world view, to see things the way he saw them.

What if ‘original sin’ was never part of Paul’s thinking? What if the idea that we are saved by faith in Christ, as Luther argued, was based on a mistranslation of Paul’s words and a misunderstanding of Paul’s thinking?

“Over the centuries,” writes Steve Chalke, “the Church has repeatedly failed to communicate, or even understand, the core of Paul’s message. Although Paul has often been presented as the champion of exclusion, he was the very opposite. He was the great includer.”

Steve Chalke MBE is a Baptist minister, founder and leader of the Oasis Charitable Trust.

The Feasts of Repentance:
From Luke-Acts to Systematic and Pastoral Theology
Michael J  Ovey.
Pbk 192pp. ISBN 9781783598960.

SPCK (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

In gospel proclamation today, the critical New Testament element of repentance can be far too often ignored, minimalised or dismissed. Yet John the Baptist, Jesus himself, and those he commissioned to spread his gospel all spoke of the urgent need to repent. With care and clarity, Ovey focuses first on the relevant biblical material in Luke-Acts, examining who repents and who does not, and the characters of both groups.

He surveys the `feasts of repentance’ of Jesus with Levi, the Pharisees, and Zaccheus, and in the parable of the Lost Son. He then moves to more systematic-theological aspects of repentance, in relation to idolatry and to salvation; and finally, to pastoral theology in the corporate life of the people of God today, with regard to self-righteousness, hypocrisy, humility, forgiveness and justice.

Rewriting Paul:
Original Translations of the Letters of Paul (1 Thessalonians, Galatians, Philippians, Philemon, and Romans)
Timothy Seid.
Pbk 318pp. ISBN 9780578537016.

Apex Life Media (2019).
[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Popular translations of the Bible are too generic for anyone to reach a definitive interpretation and often perpetuate old concepts. Tim Seid takes a bold approach to Christian origins and offers fresh translations of the earliest of the New Testament authors.

In the first section of Rewriting Paul, Seid explains the foundation for a new understanding of Paul who remains a committed Jew but announces to the gentile peoples the good news that God has overlooked their sins because of the death of Jesus and has included them among the people of God. Paul writes letters of moral exhortation to household assemblies to encourage them to maintain their progress through philosophical practices to reach their greatest potential in a flourishing life.

A Secret History of Christianity:
Jesus, the Last Inkling, and the Evolution of Consciousness.
Mark Vernon.
Pbk 232pp. ISBN 9781789041941.

Christian Alternative (2019).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Christianity is in crisis in the West. The Inkling friend of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, analysed why. He developed an account of our spiritual predicament that is radical and illuminating. Barfield realised that the human experience of life shifts fundamentally over periods of cultural time. Our perception of nature, the cosmos and the divine changes dramatically across history.

Mark Vernon uses this startling insight to tell the inner story of 3000 years of Christianity, beginning from the earliest Biblical times. Drawing, too, on the latest scholarship and spiritual questions of our day, he presents a gripping account of how Christianity constellated a new perception of what it is to be human. For 1500 years, this sense of things informed many lives, though it fell into crisis with the Reformation, scientific revolution and Enlightenment.

But the story does not stop there. Barfield realised that there is meaning in the disenchantment and alienation experienced by many people today. It is part of a process that is remaking our sense of participation in the life of nature, the cosmos and the divine. It’s a new stage in the evolution of human consciousness.

Preaching as an Outsider.
Lisa L Thompson.
Pbk 210pp. ISBN 9781501832598.

Abingdon Press (2018).
[Allow 2-3 weeks]

Thompson introduces a theology and practice of preaching that emerges from the faith and wisdom of black women. Preaching has been resourced and taught from a narrow field of cultural or gendered experiences, historically. Without much support from established channels, black women are left to “figure it out” on their own, and others discern how to preach from a limiting scope.

Thompson offers deep insights for anyone seeking to enlarge their understanding, their language, and their sense of lived experiences, and offers practical help through “In Practice” segments for those who preach.

“Written from the deep well of the spirituality of Black women, Thompson has given us a remarkable guide for what preaching should be and must be for the times we are in. Accessible, thoughtful, probing, pastoral, prophetic–all come together in this text. A must read for anyone committed to faithful excellence in proclaiming the word.” Emilie M. Townes, Dean and E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt University Divinity School

The Psalter for Christian Worship.
Revised edition.
Michael Morgan.
Pbk 186pp. ISBN 9780664265410. Westminster John Knox (2019).

[Allow 2-3 weeks].

Their sacramental nature and unique ability to mould and transform the believer set the Psalms apart from the rest of Scripture. Morgan reclaims the Psalms for congregational worship with new texts set to familiar hymnal tunes. This collection, for worship leaders, musicians, and congregations, will inspire both corporate and private devotions.

The Old Testament flavour of the Psalter is retained with new sensitivity to imagery and inclusive language. All 150 psalms have been converted into hymns of reasonable length to be sung in church. An index of suggested hymn tunes is included, along with an index for liturgical use. 


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