Trouble I’ve Seen
Drew G.I. Hart
Herald Press, 198 pages
In the vein of the spiritual “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” Drew Hart bears witness to the trouble he has seen and the experience of many black people. He takes a serious look at the social conditions that sustain racism. In particular, Hart examines the reasons for the divide among white and black Christians. His aim is for Christians — white and black — to look more honestly at the socialization that has led to entrenched racism.
Meeting God in Paul
WJK Press, 104 pages
These lectures were originally offered at Canterbury Cathedral for Holy Week. Yet, as with many of public offerings by Williams, the lectures are not confined to one season. The former archbishop has a way of offering profound insights in simple form. A great introduction to Saint Paul.
Eerdmans, 696 pages
This is likely to be for generations the definitive theological work on the death of Jesus Christ. Fleming Rutledge is an unflinching preacher and teacher who has the rare ability to speak comprehensively of the crucifixion, drawing upon classic theological texts, biblical sources and literature. She speaks truthfully of the centrality of the death of Jesus Christ, arguing that anything less severs the nerve of the gospel and renders it meaningless. If there is one major theological book to read this year, I recommend this one.
A Nazareth Manifesto
Wiley, 336 pages
One of the finest theologians and ethicists offers a long-needed call for the church to be with the people in its communities and neighborhoods, rather than doing for them. The church must find ways to be in relationship with those whom it has more often “served” rather than loved. The argument has been made before, but no one has done this more eloquently than Samuel Wells. The embodiment of the missional church is here.
Prayers for All Seasons (Year C)
Michael Schwartzentruber & Ellen Turnbull, editors
Wood Lake Publishing, 181 pages
This is an excellent collection of prayers for worship leaders following the Revised Common Lectionary. The prayers are based on the readings of the day in a variety of formats, covering the entire year.
Spiritual and Walking Guide: Leon to Santiago on the El Camino
Spiritual Walking Guides, 104 pages
The author has walked the Camino de Santiago several times and provides a devotional guide for pilgrims walking the portion from Leon, Spain, to Santiago de Compestela. The guide includes daily Scripture readings, mediations and questions for personal reflection. There are details about where to sleep and how to navigate your way without maps. The author is a trustworthy guide.
Walking with Jesus through the Old Testament
WJK Press, 136 pages
Stroble has found an intriguing way of exploring the Old Testament through the Emmaus road experience of Jesus and the two disciples. What Scripture did Jesus explore that caused their hearts to burn? This is an evocative way to connect the story of the old with the new to reveal the one long story of God with us.
This Is Why I Came
Counterpoint Press, 204 pages
One is unlikely to find another novelist who treats the biblical stories with such fierce respect, yet daring to hear them in a fresh way. She fearlessly opens up the space where belief and unbelief collide with one another. Rakow brings a theologically trained mind and a novelist’s skill to these searing accounts of stories told by the main fictional character Bernadette. This is a disturbing book. One will not read the Bible in quite the same way after this novel.
Eerdmans, 208 pages
The author is a therapist who draws upon the work of Brené Brown and others to point to a way of life that is wholehearted rather than exhausted from being distracted by the demands of ministry. This is much more than a self-help book. It provides guidance and practices toward a new way of living. He has developed an Internal Family Systems theory that is quite helpful.
Confucius for Christians
Gregg A. Ten Elshof
Eerdmans, 110 pages
The author is a Christian professor of philosophy who asks an intriguing question: What might it look like to pursue a life of discipleship to Jesus that incorporates wisdom from the Confucian tradition? He then sets out to answer that question in a fascinating exploration of the ways the wisdom tradition from the ancient “Analects” of Confucius can encourage those who are committed to following Jesus.
The Wound of Faith
Dane R. Gordon
Foothills Publishing, 88 pages
This new collection of poignant poems combines philosophical probing into the nature of things with a deep faith that refuses the easy way. The wound of true faith is a mark that will not be erased or healed.
Journeying with Luke
James Woodward, Paula Gooder and Mark Pryce
WJK Press, 128 pages
This brief commentary on the Gospel of Luke follows the lectionary year. There are helpful suggestions for sermon preparation, daily devotions and even small group questions exploring Luke’s particular perspective. The authors make no claim to comprehensiveness; rather, they want to present a solid presentation of key themes in the Gospel.
Two Dogs and a Parrot
BlueBridge Books, 192 pages
The author is a popular nun who is well known for her spiritual direction and compassion. In this book she explores a theology of creation through her experience with animals. The stories and the joy within them provide easy access to thinking about God’s creation. She writes: “This is a book about the role of animal companions in the development of our spiritual lives.” We share the planet with all God’s creatures. Chittister affirms this with great warmth and theological dash.
Jesus the Storyteller
Stephen I. Wright
WJK Press, 224 pages
This is a first-rate exegetical discussion of the parable of Jesus by a British scholar who previously wrote “Preaching the Atonement” and “Preaching the Incarnation.” Here, Wright explores the significance of stories by Jesus and how they have a significant influence on his ministry. A ground-breaking book on the parables.
Time: From Famine to Feast
Wood Lake Publishing, 69 pages
The author is a long-time pastor, community arts advocate and social activist. Here she takes on the subject of “time famine,” often described as “time suck” or “time poverty” by those who persistently lament they have not enough time. Her aim, which is grounded by 52 practices for each week of the year, is to move to “time feast” in which people come alive with hope, freedom and joy in living.
Making Disciples, Making Leaders (Second Edition)
Steven P. Eason and E. Von Clemans
Geneva Press, 150 pages
This is the second edition of one of the finest books available for Presbyterian officers’ training (leadership development). Both authors have long experience in pastoral ministry and bring that experience to this program for stronger leadership.
Jeremiah for Everyone
WJK Press, 256 pages
Goldingay continues his excellent work of making the Old Testament Scriptures accessible. In this one, he addresses the main themes of Jeremiah and asks probing questions that open up the text in fresh ways. In these questions raised by Jeremiah, one can hear contemporary concerns. “How could God allow this suffering?” “Can the flame of faith burn in the darkness?” This commentary is a fine addition to the “Everyone” series and could be perfect for a small group study.
100 Things Every Child Should Know Before Confirmation
WJK Press, 160 pages
A delightful and very helpful book by a veteran educator who does here exactly what the title describes. I know of no better book that will provide such help for youth leaders and parents.
Renew Your Life
Kai Mark Nilsen
IVP Books, 160 pages
The author is a certified pastoral coach who also works with the Renovaré Institute. In this book, he intends to help pastors find strategies for preserving their spirit and remaining hopeful, energetic leaders. If you are weary and carrying heavy burdens — or know someone who is — this book is for you