Sabbath as Resistance
Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Ky. 89 pages
In his characteristic style, Brueggemann presents a compelling alternative to a consumer-driven, frantic culture. Keeping Sabbath is less about keeping rules than about shaping a way of life that runs counter to the anxiety driven patterns. A good book for small group conversation.
Invasion of the Dead— Preaching Resurrection
BRIAN K. BLOUNT
Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Ky. 135 pages
This is a stunning book that belongs on the must-read shelf of every preacher. In these Beecher lectures of Yale University, Blount makes a striking call to recover the power of the resurrection against the powers of death. With precise exegetical skills, he counters those who misunderstand or misuse both cross and resurrection. Marinate your Easter sermon here.
The Broken Circle
DAVID P. BRIDGES
Resources Publications, Eugene, Ore. 352 pages
The Civil War is an endless well of moral dilemmas. David Bridges, professor of writing and a retired pastor, probes one more in this historical novel focusing on Major James Breathed who combined a love of medicine with his life as a soldier. One might wonder how saving life and taking life can merge. Bridges explores that complex tragic relationship. Just when you thought you understood the Civil War, along comes another from a fresh angle and unusual theological depth.
The Presbyterian Ruling Elder — The Essential Guide
PAUL S. WRIGHT
The Presbyterian Deacon — The Essential Guide
EARL JOHNSON JR.
Geneva Press, Louisville, Ky
Both of these have been revised for the new form of government. Each would make a good gift for new officers. The authors are reliable guides.
A very accessible book that needs to be in every church library along with the entire series. Goldingay is able to mine the depth of the Psalms without losing the pastoral dimension of them as prayers for faithful people. In times past, people relied on William Barclay. Today people can also confidently rely on John Goldingay. Bring it to your next study group.
A Prayer Journal
(edited by W.A. Sessions)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1st edition), New York. 112 pages
A window into the early prayer life of one of our great writers; the prayers are simple, often earnest and always thoughtful. One who loves her stories will find her prayers to be helpful in understanding her radical perspective on grace.
Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair
Riverhead Books, New York. 112 pages
The author is a masterful storyteller who knows how to anchor her story with compelling images. The stories in this collection are gathered around the image of sewing, stitching events together that make a life worth living and give one purpose. There is a more gravity than humor. She offers reflections on several people who have died or experienced very difficult moments.
The Last Monk of Tibherine: A True Story of Martyrdom, Faith, and Survival
Paraclete Press, Brewster, Mass. 202 pages
This is the remarkable story of Brother Jean-Pierre Schumacher, the last survivor of the monks of Tibherine in Algeria. Seven other monks were massacred. That story was told in the film “Of Gods and Men.” This book brings to life the postscript to that horrible moment, illuminating a life of deep faith in a most humble and ordinary servant of the Lord.
Life, God, and Other Small Topics: Conversations from Socrates in the City
ERIC METAXAS, editor
Penguin Press, New York. 382 pages
First published in 2011 as a series of essays from the Socrates in the City forum hosted by the author. In this paperback edition, theologians, ethicists, writers and scientists reflect on the big subjects. Contributors include Frances Collins, John Polkingham, Jean Bethke Elshtain, N.T. Wright and Os Guinness.
Pilgrimage through Loss: Pathways to Strength and Renewal after the Death of a Child
LINDA LAWRENCE HUNT
Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Ky. 197 pages
Is there any heartache greater than the death of a child? The author, a former professor of English, experienced the death of her 25-year-old daughter who died in a bus crash while performing humanitarian work in Bolivia. Hunt started the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship and wrote this book to help others experiencing deep grief. It is also a very helpful guide to those who want skills to walk alongside the grieving. Every pastor should read this memoir and have enough copies on hand to give away. Beautifully written, this is a poignant and helpful book.
Transforming Congregations Through Community
Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Ky. 152 pages
The author is an Asian-American professor of practical theology, education and spiritual formation. She has years of experience in the church as a religious educator. Here she brings her post-colonial perspective on the needs of the mainline church. Her intent is the subversion of the individualism of the Western Church toward a deeper sense of community. This is not a recipe book for transformation; it is a deep and passionate call to be a different church for the 21st century.
Julian of Norwich — Selections from Revelations of Divine Love
MARY C. EARLE (Forward by Roberta Bondi)
Skylight Paths Publishing, Vermont. 191 pages
Few mystics write about God’s love with the eloquence of Julian of Norwich. Mary Earle has provided annotation for her revelations that may shock some Calvinists but actually deepen their sense of the presence of divine love in all of life. Everyone needs to remember Julian’s well-known affirmation in the face of sin and suffering: all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well. There is much more in this collection.
Approaching the End: Eschatological Reflections on Church, Politics and Life
Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Mich. 249 pages
Hauerwas never fails to provide unsettling theological reflections on subjects that matter the most. He is a provocateur who compels Christians to think hard and clearly about the implications of faithful practice. One should be required to read Hauerwas to clear the cobwebs from the brain, risk rearranging the theological furniture and stir up the heart toward a deeper yearning for God.
The Lord of the Psalms
Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Ky. 116 pages
Originally the Stone Lectures of Princeton Seminary, these seven chapters by a revered scholar focus on knowing the Lord through the lens of the Psalms. Calvin taught that the knowledge of God and the knowledge of humans are bound together. In this book the author shows how true it is in the practice of praying the Psalms. When words come to an end, there is the Word of the Lord and here it that we will find the depths of our God.
Secret Scripture Revealed — A New Introduction to the Christian Apocrypha
Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Mich. 164 pages
Are you curious about the stories about Jesus that never made it into the canon? This is the book for you. Burke takes the curiosity stirred up by Dan Brown and turns it into a fascinating search among the ancient Christian apocrypha. There is much speculation here but for the interested it will be rewarding.
Inspired: The Holy Spirit and the Mind of Faith
Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI. 246 pages
Few people write with such warmth and reasoned clarity about the Holy Spirit in Scripture. Here is a theological exploration that will yield great insight as well as faithful practice. This is a careful tracing of the presence of God’s Spirit through the terrain of Old Testament right into the New. Like an early mapmaker, Levison provides a wonderful guide to the depths of the Spirit in Scripture. What might happen if we take the Spirit seriously in our practice? The author gives a robust response in his “Agenda for the Future of Pneumatology.”
The Art of Helping Others
DOUGLAS C. MANN
IVP, Downers Grove, Ill. 136 pages
The premise of the author is that art is creative incitement that can be expressed in myriad ways. The Christian life itself is a venture in creative incitement best made manifest in social justice, worship and service. The author is a pastor, songwriter and artist.