Outlook 2012; Fall Book Roundup

194-23-3.jpgMiracles — A Journalist looks at Modern-Day Experiences of God’s Power

Tim Stafford

Bethany House, Minneapolis. 219 pages

What is a miracle? Are miracles possible in our time? How do we distinguish truth from fakery? All of these questions are taken up in a fascinating, honest appraisal of God’s power today. Eugene Peterson calls this book “a remarkable achievement.” He’s right.

Thinking Christ — Christology and Contemporary Critics

Jane Barter Moulaison

Fortress Press, Minneapolis. 183 pages

Can the early theological traditions bring insight to the most pressing contemporary issues? The author engages in a brilliant theology of retrieval of the Nicene and pre-Nicene teachers to address critical concerns of contemporary theologians. Rather than banish the past, Moulaison retrieves it to show how the historic tradition centered in Jesus Christ is rich with insights that continue to illuminate the way.

Between Mirage and Miracle — Selected Poems for Seasons, Festivals and the Occasional Revelation

J. Barrie Shepherd

Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, Ore. 105 pages

This is a new collection of poems from one of the church’s most popular poets. These poems move through the year, drawing attention to life-as-it-is in all its holiness. Along the way are poems of Sept. 11, gardening, markets and more. In all, these poems cause the reader to pause long enough to perceive the mystery of ordinary human existence.

Right Questions for Church Leaders

Lovett H. Weems Jr.

Lewis Center for Church Leadership, Washington. 20 pages

For several years, Lovett Weems has been asking the right questions of church leaders at the Lewis Center and through the online site Leading Ideas. This collection of questions gets at the right issues for thoughtful leaders.

Discerning God’s Will Together— A Spiritual Practice for the Church

(Revised and updated edition)

Danny W. Morris and Charles M. Olsen

The Alban Institute, Herndon, Va. 146 pages

This is a classic book that launched a renewed emphasis on discernment practices that enable church boards to make decisions based upon a deeper understanding of their vision and its theological grounding. Filled with practical Bible studies and fieldwork, this remains an essential book for congregational leaders who seek to lead from the center.

Marriage, A History — From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage

Stephanie Coontz

Viking Press, New York. 442 pages

Coontz is a sociologist and historian who takes a long, careful look at the ways marriage has changed over centuries of practice. Anyone who wants to understand the backstory of the current conversation about marriage should read this book. The author points out that marriage has changed more over the past 30 years than over the previous 5,000 years. A carefully researched and well-written book.

From the Mists of Eden

James Ayers

Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, Ore. 164 pages

Retelling 11 key Old Testament stories as family stories, the author brings a rich theological sensitivity while rendering them alive now. The author wants readers to understand this is our family story.

Pursuing God’s Will Together — A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups

Ruth Haley Barton

InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill. 253 pages

The author is a founder of the Transforming Church network, an affiliation of leaders of churches and ministry organizations committed to becoming communities of transformation that discern and do the will of God. This book is a primer for such leadership. The goal is a leadership model grounded less in traditional decision-making and more in spiritual practices of corporate discernment.

Hosoi — My Life as a Skateboarder Junkie Inmate Pastor

Christian Hosoi with Chris Aherns

HarperOne, San Francisco. 301 pages

The most influential skateboarder in the history of the sport, Hosoi is now a pastor with wide outreach to young people. His story is a window into the skateboarding culture through the remarkable experience of one man with a passionate commitment to Jesus Christ.