September 2020 Selection

September 2020 Selection

This selection includes several books on the broad themes of building up our faith communities and being a positive influence in our wider communities: Practicing by Kathy EscobarThe Wisdom Pattern by Richard Rohr;  the new paperback edition of Barbara Brown Taylor’s Holy Envy; and Love Is the Way by enthusiastic US bishop  Michael Curry.

We have also included some older books which we have ordered in for customers recently: Tom Wright’s Simply Christian and Surprised by Scripture; Huia Come Home by Jay Ruka. And we also have a few copies of Ian Cairn’s commentary on Mark’s gospel at the special price of $20.

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

and here for
Seasons of the Spirit worship and children’s ministry resources.

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 29 August 2020]

Changing Yourself to Change the World.
Kathy Escobar.
Pbk 250pp. ISBN 9780664265847.

Westminister John Knox (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

There is a deep hunger across gender, age, socioeconomics, and denominational backgrounds for practical, tangible ways to live a life of love, mercy, and justice in our divided, fragmented world. But where do we start? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the world’s problems.

Pastor Kathy Escobar inspires and challenges readers with practical encouragement to live their faith through real action using ten transformational practices, including listening more, including the marginalised, advocating for justice, and mourning with those who grieve.

By putting our hearts, hands, and feet behind our good intentions, we can transform our groups, our communities, and our world. Extremely interactive, relational, and practical, Practicing can be read alone or processed together with a group, church, or class.

The Wisdom Pattern:
Order, Disorder, Reorder.
Updated and expanded.
Richard Rohr.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9781632533463.

Franciscan Media (2020).
[Allow 4-5 weeks].

A universal pattern can be found in all societies and in fact in all of creation. We see it in the seasons of the year; the stories of Scripture; the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus; the rise and fall of civilizations; and even in our own lives.

  • Order, by itself, normally wants to eliminate any disorder and diversity, creating a narrow and cognitive rigidity in both people and systems.
  • Disorder, by itself, closes us off from any primal union, meaning, and eventually even sanity in both people and systems.
  • Reorder, or transformation of people and systems, happens when both are seen to work together.

In this updated and expanded edition, Rohr illuminates the way understanding and embracing this pattern can give us hope in difficult times and the courage to push through messiness and even great chaos to find a new way of being in the world.

Gather Us In:
Leading Transformational Small Groups.
Angela D Schaffner.
Pbk 128pp. ISBN 9780835819435.

Upper Room (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

Small groups offer a safe space for individuals to connect meaningfully with one another, and they also provide an environment where relational healing can begin.

This comprehensive guide to leading small groups provides 8 strategies for leading transformative small groups, dispels common myths about leading groups, and helps readers understand how groups work and the life stages of a group.

The author suggests practical ways to lead groups effectively, using examples from scripture of how Jesus worked to transform people spiritually and emotionally. Schaffner equips small-group leaders with wisdom for relating to others, knowledge for helping others talk about their unfolding faith journeys, and confidence in their newly acquired facilitation skills. They will realise they don’t need to know all the answers to be able to lead well.

Resounding Body:
Building Christlike Church Communities through Music.
Andy Thomas.
Pbk 116pp. ISBN 9781789591125.

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

In many churches, music leaders perform a vital function. They help to build churches as the “body of Christ”, living Christlike communities. But, resources can be in short supply.

Combining recent theological reflection with practical advice, Andy Thomas, an experienced leader of music in churches, shows how music-making can help to transform individuals and communities into the body of Christ.

This valuable book encourages music leaders to step up and persevere in low-resource contexts, and challenges all those who lead music in worship to refocus on building communities, not just on producing musical results. It is essential reading for all who lead and direct music in congregations and local churches, as well as clergy, elders, worship committees and educators who oversee and support them.

Holy Envy:
Finding God in the Faith of Others.
Now in paperback.

Barbara Brown Taylor.
Pbk 256pp. ISBN 9780062406569.

HarperOne (2020).
[Allow 4 weeks].

Christians are taught that God is everywhere – a tenet that is central to Barbara Brown Taylor’s life and faith. In Holy Envy, she continues her spiritual journey, contemplating the myriad ways she encountered God outside of the church while teaching a college course on the world’s religions.

In her interfaith class, Taylor introduces her students to other religious traditions and accompanies them on field trips to a variety of venues of worship. Both she and her students ponder and debate how the knowledge and insights they have gained raise important questions about belief and explore how different practices relate to their own faith. Inspired by these intellectual and spiritual discussions, Taylor turns once again to the Bible for guidance, to see what secrets lay buried there.

Throughout Holy Envy, Barbara weaves together stories from her classroom with reflections on how her own spiritual journey has been challenged and renewed by connecting with people of other traditions – and by meeting God in her communion with them.

Just Faith:
Reclaiming Progressive Christianity.
Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons.
Hbk 240pp. ISBN 9781506462523.

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

Progressive Christian activist and writer Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons explains how a strong religious left has accompanied every major progressive advance in US society, and he resurrects the long but forgotten history of progressive Christianity in  the United States that can and must link arms with progressive Muslims and Jews to make the moral case for pluralism, human dignity, and the common good.

Graves-Fitzsimmons provides a blueprint for this type of resurrection based on his advocacy work at the intersection of religion and politics.

“…Graves-Fitzsimmons reminds us, who consider ourselves progressive Christians, that ours is a tradition grounded solidly in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. While contemporary narratives focus on the voices and political clout of conservative Christians, Graves-Fitzsimmons helps us remember how progressive Christianity has shaped US history and encourages us to boldly reclaim our place in the public square. This is a timely and most-needed book!” Bishop Karen Oliveto, Mountain Sky Episcopal Area, United Methodist Church.

Jerome W Berryman; Lois Kilberg illust.
Pbk 40pp, 216 x 279mm.

ISBN 9781640652958.
Church Publishing (2020).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Silence is important for children; it is the stillness – both internal and external – that children need in today’s frenzied world.

Godly Play founder Jerome Berryman offers children (and those who love them) a means to contemplate words and images, to develop a comfort level with silence that creates a foundation for wonder and the creative process.

“Contemplative Silence” is a core component of Godly Play as found in all sacred story, parables, and liturgical action lessons presented to children.

Huia Come Home.
Jay Ruka; Maryanne Shearman illust.
Pbk 180pp. ISBN 9781877487996.

Oati, NZ (2017).
[Allow 14 days].

Using the story of the untimely extinction of the huia, Jay Ruka offers a fresh perspective on the narrative of Aotearoa; a tale of two cultures, warring worldviews, and the things we lost in translation. Revisiting the early missionaries, the transformative message of the gospel and the cultural missteps of the Treaty of Waitangi, Huia Come Home invites us to reconnect with the unique story offered by the indigenous Māori lens.

“A timely and prophetic parable for our times, taking a fresh scripture-infused look at the Eurocentric preconceptions that have coloured our Christian worldview.” Keith Newman, author of Bible & Treaty

Mark of a Non-realist:
A Contemporary Reading of the Second Gospel.
Ian J Cairns.
Pbk 308pp. ISBN 9780958252126.

Fraser Books, NZ (2004).
[Only 13 copies available at this special price].

Cairns, a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, writes:

“By about 70 CE when Mark wrote his gospel, the tendencies to ‘theologise’ Jesus were already well underway. So Mark is not recording the events themselves, but rather their theologised version as current in his time and community. We are in any case not bound by Mark’s interpretation.

By composing and publishing his account, he relinquished his control over it, and surrendered it to us the readers, so that it becomes our story by lending such light as we may discover in it to illumine our situation.”

Cairns, writes from a background of both biblical scholarship and grass roots ministry. This book will appeal to teachers and students of biblical studies, preachers, and study leaders, as well as the general interested reader.

The author has presented an alternative Jesus and has also given us an academic commentary which provides essential insights for anyone seeking to understand Mark’s gospel in a contemporary way.

ove Is the Way:
Holding on to Hope in Troubling Time.
Michael Curry.
Hbk 272pp. ISBN 9780525543039.

Avery Publishing Group (2020).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

The way of love is essential to address the seemingly insurmountable challenges facing the world today: poverty, racism, selfishness, deep ideological divisions, competing claims to speak for God. This book will lead readers to discover the gifts they need in order to live the way of love: deep reservoirs of hope and resilience, simple wisdom, the discipline of nonviolence, and unshakable regard for human dignity.

“Michael Curry believes in love. Not the kind of love that sidesteps and softens our response to the most brutal realities of our deepest, racist, economic, and human oppression. But rather, like Dr King and, more importantly, Jesus said; the kind of radical love that may be the only thing that can finally overcome such radical sin. On a personal note, Michael is and does what he says about being a follower of Jesus and the way of God’s overwhelming and overcoming love. Love is the Way is moving, heartfelt, and extraordinarily important. In this fearful time, more than perhaps ever before, the world needs this book because, as Michael says, ‘Love dreams visions.’” Jim Wallis, Founder and President of Sojourners

Simply Christian.
N T (Tom) Wright.
Pbk 224pp. ISBN 9780281064762.

SPCK (2011).
[Allow 4 weeks].

This is an essential book for anyone looking for a clear, engaging introduction to the fundamentals of Christianity. In a lively, accessible style that always remains rooted in solid scholarship, Tom Wright presents a fresh, exciting case for the relevance of the Bible and the Christian story for the modern world.

Step-by-step, Wright outlines what it means to live a Christian life and what believing in Christianity is all about. From the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, to what Christianity has to say about the place of justice, beauty and love in our daily lives, this is a rich expression of what lies at the core of Christian belief.

This is perfect reading for new Christians who are beginning to explore their faith and are seeking encouragement and reassurance that Jesus is worth following. It’s also ideal for long-time Christians who are worried that their faith is stagnating or are questioning what they believe, who will have their doubts answered and their beliefs strengthened and renewed by Wright’s powerful, reasoned explanation of why Christianity makes sense.

Surprised by Scripture:
Engaging Contemporary Issues.
N T (Tom) Wright.
Pbk 240pp. ISBN 9780062230546.

HarperOne (2015).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

An unusual combination of scholar, churchman, and leader, Prof Wright conveys his knowledge in terms that excite and inspire Christian leaders worldwide, allowing them to see the Bible from a fresh viewpoint.

He provides a series of case studies which explore how the Bible can be applied to some of the most pressing contemporary issues facing us, including:

  • Why it is possible to love the Bible and affirm evolution
  • Why women should be allowed to be ordained
  • Where Christians today have lost focus, and why it is important for them to engage in politics – and why that involvement benefits everyone
  • Why the Christian belief in heaven means we should be at the forefront of the environmental movement

Helpful, practical, and wise, Surprised by Scripture invites readers to examine their own hearts and minds and presents new models for understanding how to affirm the Bible in today’s world – as well as new ideas and renewed energy for deepening our faith and engaging with the world around us.

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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