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BOOK OF THE MONTH
God Kill Jesus?:
Searching for Love in History's Most Famous Execution. Tony Jones.
Hbk. 296pp. HarperOne. Ref 304441. $49.99.
Christians believe that God the Father demanded his only Son die a cruel,
gruesome death to appease His wrath, since humanity is so irredeemably
sinful and therefore repugnant to God.
popular progressive Christian blogger, author, and scholar, argues that
this understanding is actually a medieval invention and not what the Bible
really teaches. He looks beyond medieval convictions and liberates how we
see Jesus’ death on the cross from this restrictive paradigm. Christians
today must transcend the shame and guilt that have shaped conceptions of
the human soul and made us fearful of God, and replace them with love,
grace, and joyfulness, which better expresses what the cross is really
understand the cross reflects directly what kind of God we worship. By
letting go of the wrathful God who cannot stand to be in our presence
unless he pretends to see Jesus in our place, we discover the biblical God
who reaches out to love and embrace us while “we were yet sinners.” Jones
offers a positive, loving, inclusive interpretation of the faith that is
both challenging and inspiring. Essential reading for modern Christians.
God Kill Jesus? is the one and only book I have ever seen on the
Atonement that I can wholeheartedly recommend without reservation and with
devout enthusiasm. Even-handed, historically complete, accessible to any
reader who chooses to approach it, this is a masterful piece of work.”
Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence
Click here for:
Progressive Authors Podcasts
of the Spirit 2014-2015
and print books
Philip Garside Publishing
Memoir Weaving Faith with Justice, Ethics and Community.
Richard Randerson. 243pp. Matai House. Ref 303914. $30.00.
years, Richard Randerson CNZM has exercised a ministry at the crossroads
of Church and Society. In New Zealand, Australia, England and New York, he
has served as industrial chaplain, inner city priest, social justice
officer, royal commissioner, bishop and cathedral dean. Now resident in
Wellington, he continues to write and speak on matters where faith finds
expression in social justice, ethics, and contemporary theology.
life and ministry have spanned a period of profound change in NZ and the
wider world. During this time the Church has sometimes led, but often
lagged, on a bewildering array of issues: marriage of divorcees,
ordination of women, anti-nuclear and anti-apartheid protests, same-sex
relationships, abortion, poverty, inequality in economics and justice,
treaty settlements, church constitutional change, prayer book rewriting,
contemporary theology, inter-faith relations, genetic modification, civil
marriage, same gender marriage and the priestly vocations of gays and
been in the thick of many of these defining battles down through the
decades. His memoir is not just the story of one man's work in Church and
Society through decades of turbulent change. It is a font of wisdom and
practical advice for those seeking God's help today on society's even
Megan McKenna. 179pp. Paulist Press. Ref 296720. $33.00.
McKenna focuses her spiritual ken in this book on the messengers of God
who have played such important roles in Hebrew and Christian scriptures.
She writes about Michael, the protector; Gabriel, archangel of truth;
Raphael, companion angel; and Uriel, archangel of death and conversion. At
one point McKenna calls angels "mysteries of God's imagination." As usual,
the author spices up this material with stories from many different
religious traditions. McKenna concludes that the guardian angels of the
poor, the dispossessed, and the persecuted are deeply appreciated. This is
one book on angels that refreshingly stays grounded on earth.”
Spirituality and Practice
Dreams of Freedom in Words and Pictures.
Amnesty International. 48pp, Hbk, large format colour. Frances Lincoln.
Ref 303762. $29.99.
inspirational book, following We Are All
Born Free $16.99, contains 17 quotations about many different
aspects of Freedom, from the freedom to have an education to the freedom
not to be hurt or tortured, the freedom to have a home and the freedom to
be yourself. All the quotations have been chosen to be understood and
appreciated by children.
walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter… I have taken
a moment to rest, but I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come
responsibilities.” Nelson Mandela
“If you are
tired, keep going. If you are scared, keep going. If you are hungry, keep
going. If you want to taste freedom, keep going.” Harriet Tubman
the quotations include: Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman,
Anne Frank, the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi and Malala Yousafzai.
The Good Shepherd:
A Thousand-Year Journey from Psalm 23 to the New Testament. Kenneth
E. Bailey. 288pp. $29.99.
is my shepherd."
the most beloved of all Psalms—and thus begins a thousand-year journey
through the Bible. Prophets, apostles and Jesus himself took up this image
from David, reshaping it, developing it and applying it to their own
situations and needs. Kenneth Bailey uses his celebrated insights into
Middle Eastern culture and especially his familiarity with Middle Eastern
shepherding customs to bring new light and life to our understanding of
this central image of the Christian faith.
of nine major Old and New Testament passages, Bailey reveals the literary
artistry of the Biblical writers and summarizes their key theological
features. His work is also enriched by his unique access to very early
Middle Eastern commentaries on these passages, bringing fresh
understanding from within the mindset of these ancient worlds. The Good
Shepherd invites us to experience a rich, biblical feast of ethical,
theological and artistic delights.
Francis and the making of a radical pope. Austen Ivereigh. 446pp
Hbk. Allen & Unwin. Ref 301406. $49.99.
Francis was elected in March 2013, he was virtually unknown. He fast
captivated the world with his rejection of papal pomp, his love of the
poor, his fearless critiques of injustice and corruption, and his
far-reaching reforms of the Catholic Church.
This is the
first intimate, in-depth biography of a pope whose visionary leadership
has breathed new life into the Church and turned him into a global
extensive interviews in Argentina and elsewhere, and drawing on the
author's deep knowledge of the country and Church that shaped him, The
Great Reformer reveals the life, the spirituality and the thought of
Jorge Mario Bergoglio as never before. It tells for the first time the
story of how his visionary reform of the Jesuit order led to his internal
exile in Argentina. It also offers the first behind-the-scenes accounts of
the conclaves of 2005 and 2013.
shows how a shy, austere assistant bishop came to be the leader of the
Latin-American Church and eventually pastor of over a billion Catholics.
Why the gospel is news and what makes it good. 189pp Hbk. HarperOne.
Ref 301978. $39.99.
the real story Jesus came to announce.
think the message of the gospel is that if we believe in Jesus we will be
saved from hell and be transported to heaven after we die. But what if
that is not what the Bible actually teaches? What if the good news Jesus
came to announce is much bigger, much better, and includes much more than
merely what happens after we die?
bestselling scholar N. T. Wright reveals what the gospel really is and how
it can transform our todays just as much as our tomorrows.
Simply Good News, he takes us back in time to reveal how the people of
the first-century—the gospel’s original audience—would have received
Jesus’ message. He offers a clear and thoughtful analysis of the “good
news” and applies it to our lives today, revealing its power to transform
on the Lectionary: Mark: Year B.
William Barclay. Linda Foster ed. 308pp St
Andrew Press. Ref 294807. $48.00.
the Sunday Lectionary pattern of readings set for Year B, these deeply
insightful narratives are instantly enthralling and ideal for worship
leaders, individuals and groups. In passages drawn from his much-loved,
internationally acclaimed commentaries on the New Testament, William
Barclay's clear and inspiring explanations unlock the depth of meaning in
the scriptures in a way that is designed to guide readers to 'know better
their Bible, their God and their Saviour'.
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.
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.
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
Come to us for books from New
Zealand and abroad on Christian topics, religion and theology, social concerns, bibles and
commentaries, resources for worship and personal devotion, spirituality and much more...
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