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BOOK OF THE MONTH
Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising
Emotional Sense. Francis Spufford. 223pp HarperOne. $31.00.
is a book
for believers who are fed up with being patronised, for non-believers
curious about how faith can possibly work in the 21st century, and for
anyone who feels there is something indefinably wrong, literalistic,
anti-imaginative and intolerant about the way the atheist case is now
critics such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the "new atheist" crowd,
Spufford, a former atheist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature,
argues that Christianity is recognisable, drawing on the deep and deeply
ordinary vocabulary of human feeling, satisfying those who believe in it
by offering a ruthlessly realistic account of the grown-up dignity of
Fans of C.
S. Lewis, N. T. Wright, Marilynne Robinson, Mary Karr, Diana Butler Bass,
Rob Bell, and James Martin will appreciate Spufford's crisp, lively, and
abashedly defiant thesis.
wonderfully pugnacious defence of Christianity.
Click here for:
& Easter Resources
Lent & Easter Children's
Year B Resources
of the Spirit 2014-2015
from Philip Garside Publishing
Christmas Candle – DVD.
100 mins. Rated G. Echolight Studios. $19.99
film for the whole family based on a Max Lucado story. Deep in the heart
of the English countryside lies the enchanting village of Gladbury. Legend
has it every 25 years an angel visits the village candlemaker and touches
a single candle. Whoever lights this candle receives a miracle on
Christmas Eve. But in 1890, at the dawn of the electric age, this
centuries old legend may come to an end.
Richmond (Hans Matheson), a progressive young minister, arrives in
Gladbury, the villagers discover a new formula for miracles: good deeds
and acts of kindness. While David’s quest to modernize Gladbury sets him
at odds with the old world candlemaker, he finds an unlikely ally in the
lovely skeptic, Emily Barstow (Samantha Barks). Now, the fiery candlemaker
must fight to preserve the legacy of the Christmas Candle. But when the
candle goes missing, the miraculous and human collide in the most
astonishing Christmas the village of Gladbury has ever seen.
Stories by Jesus:
The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi. Amy-Jill Levine.
Hbk 313pp. HarperOne. $45.00.
interweaves history and spiritual analysis to explore Jesus’ most popular
teaching parables, exposing their misinterpretations and making them
lively and relevant for modern readers.
In this wise,
entertaining, and educational book, Amy-Jill Levine offers a fresh, timely
reinterpretation of Jesus’ narratives. She analyses these “problems with
parables,” taking readers back in time to understand how their original
Jewish audience understood them. Levine reveals the parables’ connections
to first-century economic and agricultural life, social customs and
morality, Jewish scriptures and Roman culture. With this revitalised
understanding, she interprets these moving stories for the contemporary
reader, showing how the parables are not just about Jesus, but are also
about us—and when read rightly, still challenge and provoke us 2000 years
Love, Faith… and compost. DVD. Jess Feast. 96mins, Region 4. Pop
is one of the liveliest nonagenarians you could ever meet. As the main
gardener at the Home of Compassion in Island Bay, Wellington, her daily
tasks include heavy lifting alongside vigorous spade and wheelbarrow work,
which she sometimes performs on crutches. Loyola and the other Sisters of
Compassion follow the vision of Mother Aubert to 'meet the needs of the
oppressed and powerless in their communities'.
… Any belief we
might harbour that becoming a nun is avoiding the real world is turned
firmly on its head as we witness this extraordinary soul steer a sharp
course through all weathers, trying to shine love on everything she sees.”
See the official trailer on
The Real Life of an Invented Hero. Joel Baden. 310pp. HarperOne.
David is one of the most celebrated characters in the Bible. We know him
as the brave young man who defeated Goliath, the first king of a united
Israel, the composer of the beloved Psalms, and, for Christians, the
messianic forerunner to Jesus. And yet for all the glory we attribute to
David's legend, the historical reality is both fascinating and disturbing.
In The Historical David, Joel Baden reveals that, in David's case,
the Bible is political spin, "the goal of which is to absolve David of any
potential guilt and to show him in a positive light." Through deep textual
analysis, Baden reveals how the historical David has been painstakingly
and successfully diminished, replaced by the portrait of a glorious king
we are now familiar with.
To question David's legend opens up a debate about what it means to be a
descendant of David—be it nationally, ethnically, or religiously. In
The Historical David, Baden confronts this challenge, bringing the
historical David vibrantly to life, and ultimately revealing that the
flesh-and-blood man was far more complex and interesting than the mythical
and Laugh with Dementia:
The essential guide to maximizing quality of life. Lee-Fay Low.
224pp. Exisle. $34.99.
For every person with dementia, their family and carers are faced with the
decision of how best to care for them. Live and Laugh with Dementia
is all about how to make life with dementia as positive as possible — to
maximize quality of life for all concerned.
Just as we need to exercise our body’s muscles to keep them strong,
flexible and working well, so too do we need to exercise our mental
muscles (our brain) in order to strengthen and maintain our neural
capabilities. By tailoring activities to suit the needs and abilities of
dementia patients, we can help them to:
maintain their relationships with others
maintain their self-identity
slow the decline of mental function by
providing physical and mental stimulation
stave off boredom
experience happiness and pleasure.
Low also addresses our attitude towards dementia and caring for people
with dementia. It supports and inspires carers to build their relationship
with the person with dementia and provide meaningful engaging activities.
As well as suggestions for activities and how to tailor them, tips for
people with mild dementia are included in order to empower them to be
active and keep control of their lives as much as possible.
the Gospel Brings Hope to a World Divided. Jim
Wallis. 320pp. Baker.
thinks our life together can be better. In this timely and provocative
book, he shows us how to reclaim Jesus' ancient and compelling vision of
the common good—a vision that impacts and inspires not only our politics
but also our personal lives, families, churches, neighbourhoods, and
has once again issued a passionate, stirring challenge to the church. In
this hopeful, incisive book that pulls few punches, he challenges the
church to engage in the 'next battle' to 'occupy the gospel' and thus to
join in God's reclamation of God's cherished world. As always, Jim gives
us a way of rethinking today's pressing social issues in a vibrantly
Christian way, producing fresh insights on almost every page.
He also gives Christians some specific personal decisions we can make to
better align ourselves with God's continuing revolution in Jesus Christ.”
Book of Forgiving:
The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World. Desmond &
Mpho Tutu. 229pp. Hbk. William Collins Books.
The Book of Forgiving,
written together by the Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and
his daughter Rev Mpho Tutu, offers a deeply personal testament and guide
to the process of forgiveness. All of us have at times needed both to
forgive and be forgiven - whether small, everyday harms or real traumas.
But the path to forgiveness is not easy, and the process unclear. How do
we let go of resentment when we have been harmed, at times irreparably?
How do we forgive and still pursue justice? How do we heal our hearts? How
do we heal the harm we have caused others? And how do we forgive
Drawing on memories of reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa this
book offers concrete steps along the path to forgiving and being forgiven.
Bible: 4 x DVD set.
46 min episodes. R16. PAL Zone 4. $39.99.
in scope and scale, THE BIBLE features powerful performances, exotic
locales and dazzling visual effects that breathe spectacular life into the
dramatic tales of faith and courage from Genesis through Revelation.
Emmy® winning actor Keith David, THE BIBLE features a stunning
international cast including Portuguese actor, Diogo Morgado as Jesus
Christ and beloved actress, Roma Downey as Mother Mary. The four-disc DVD
set dives deeper into the making of the series and features a
behind-the-scenes look at how the groundbreaking docudrama came together.
Interviews with producers, directors, and cast illustrate creative
collaboration on-set and off and show how the remarkable Moroccan scenery
was transformed into the world of the Bible.
hours of never before seen behind-the-scenes footage and making-of
How I Learned What Matters Most. Marcus J. Borg. 241pp. Hbk.
Theologian and Bible scholar, Borg reflects on his life and how he
developed his most bedrock convictions and why they matter. The result is
a manifesto for all progressive Christians who seek the best path for
following Jesus today. With each chapter embodying a distinct conviction,
Borg writes provocatively and compellingly on the beliefs that can deeply
ground us and guide us:
· God Is Real and a Mystery
· Salvation Is More About This Life Than an Afterlife
· The Bible Can Be True Without Being Literally True
Jesus's Death on the Cross Matters — But Not Because He Paid for Our Sins
· God Is Passionate About Justice and the Poor
Love God Is to Love Like God
Rich in wisdom
and insight, Convictions is sure to, become a classic of contemporary
We Make the
Road by Walking:
Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation.
Brian D. McLaren. Hbk. 326pp. Jericho Books.
A brilliant retelling of the
biblical story and a thrilling reintroduction to Christian faith. The 52+
readings can each be read aloud in 10-12 minutes, and offer a simple
curriculum of insightful reflections and transformative practices.
Organised around the traditional church year, these readings give an
overview of the whole Bible and guide an individual or a group of friends
through a year of rich study, interactive learning, and personal growth.
Perfect for home churches,
congregations, classes, or individual study, each reading invites you to:
· Cultivate an
honest, intelligent understanding of the Bible and of Christian faith in
· Engage with
discussion questions designed to challenge, stimulate, and encourage
· Re-imagine what
it means to live joyfully and responsibly in today's world as agents of
God's justice, creativity, and peace
If you're seeking a fresh way
to experience and practice your faith, if you're a long-term Christian
seeking new vitality, or if you feel out of place in traditional church
circles, this book will inspire and activate you in your spiritual
Karen Scott. 312pp. Penguin. $38.00.
A moving story of one family's
attempt to make a difference.
In 2011 Karen Scott and Mark Finlay
and their six children opened their home and hearts to a sad, skinny
five-year-old boy who was placed with them by New Zealand's Child, Youth
and Family services. James arrived with nothing other than the
clothes he was wearing, supposedly for just a short-term stay. But what
followed were two turbulent years as Karen and Mark attempted to parent a
very troubled young boy.
heart-wrenching account of a mother's attempt to nurture her foster child
with unconditional love and kindness. However, is love enough? Karen and
Mark faced a harrowing decision – to give up James or risk their family's
Jean Day, Carol J Smith, Tim Dowley. 238pp Flexiback Colour. Candle.
This easy-to-read exploration
of the Bible allows you to follow the key narratives from Genesis to
Revelation. As you travel through Bible lands and times you will discover
how the people lived: the foods they ate, the homes they occupied, the
clothes they wore, and the work they performed. The focus on narrative
means that those coming fresh to the Bible will find an easy point of
access. For ages 8-12.
Language of Sacred Spaces:
Churches, Cathedrals, Temples, Mosques and Other Places of Worship.
Jon Cannon. 224pp. Duncan Baird Publishers
Hbk. 298 x 235 mm. $69.99.
Across the globe, pilgrims and tourists,
locals and foreigners flock to sacred sites and houses of worship. Why?
Because throughout time, humans have directed extraordinary amounts of
energy toward the creation of architecture that expresses their religious
From Stonehenge to the Sagrada Família; from
the Acropolis to Angkor Wat, this book offers fascinating insights into
some of the most impressive structures created by humans in the world. The
superb full-colour photographs that can be found on every page are
supplemented by ingenious 'decoder' sections. These zero in on the most
important design elements, combining close-up detail with fascinating
Churches Respond in the Canterbury Quakes. Melissa Parsons. 248pp.
Daystar Books. $28.99.
Parsons brings together previously untold
stories of the churches’ response in the Canterbury earthquakes She asks:
How did the churches fare?
How did the ordinary folk in the pews reach
out to their suffering neighbours?
How can lessons from this experience be of
benefit in the future?
“So many times in the wake of suffering, the
Christian Church – the body of Christ – faithfully responds with comfort
and practical help. I saw that in person in Christchurch the year after
the quake, and thank Melissa Parsons for honouring those who responded in
the footsteps of the One for whom the city was named.”
Making Sense of Sex:
Towards Sexuality in Early Jewish and Christian Literature.
William Loader. Eerdmans, $40.00
book is an attempt to summarise my key findings in a way that makes them
accessible to the everyday reader. It sketches the main things we can say
about approaches to a whole range of sexual issues in early Jewish and
Christian writings, from whether sex is good or bad, to where sex belongs
and does not belong, to managing sexual desire, and, of course, to sexual
orientation, a hot topic for many today. People from both sides of that
debate value my work because it provides an informed starting point for
discussion, even though they may ultimately differ greatly about how to
approach such matters today.
designed the book so that people can get a clear overview of the issues.
For some that will be enough. The footnotes list only the ancient texts
which are cited for ease of reference. For others, this book will be a
doorway into further reading. For them I have included a subject index
which covers not only this book but all five volumes of the research on
which it is based.” Bill Loader
Question that Never Goes Away:
What is God up to in a World of Such
Tragedy and Pain?
Philip Yancey. Hodder & Stoughton. $29.99
the news seems too much to bear. Yet another tsunami or earthquake or
flood or fire or war atrocity. Really, God? We ask. This again? If we have
faith in God, it gets shaken to the core. What was God doing in the
moment when that tragedy could have been prevented? If we can’t trust God
to keep our children safe or our loved ones from dying in agony, what
can we trust God for? In his classic book Where is God When it
Hurts? Yancey gave us permission to doubt, reasons not to abandon
faith, and practical ways to reach out to hurting people. His visits to
three particularly traumatised places in 2012 raised the old problems with
new urgency; now, with new perspectives and stories gathered across nearly
35 years, once again he tackles the hard questions head-on.
God When it Hurts?
God When it Hurts?
Revised and expanded + study guide. $19.99
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