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http://www.epworthbooks.org.nz

 

                            

Epworth Books Ltd, Wellington, New Zealand.
Specialist retailer in Christian, religion, theology, spirituality
and worship resources.

New Zealand distributor for
Christian Religious Education (CRE) materials,
(Bible in schools).

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To Order please email sales@epworthbooks.org.nz or phone free 0800 755 355.

BOOK OF THE MONTH NEWS

Meeting God in Paul: Reflections for the Season of Lent. Rowan Williams. SPCK. Ref 306484. $27.99.

Fresh insights into Paul’s revolutionary message by one of the world’s greatest living theologians. Rowan Williams explores the essentials of Paul’s thought for complete beginners – as well as for those who’ve read Paul’s letters many times before and want to see them in a fresh light. Written at a highly accessible level, this book would make a perfect gift for anyone thinking about confirmation, while also appealing to people who are curious as to why Paul has had such a profound influence on Christian history and belief.

Includes a Lenten reading guide and questions for reflection of group discussion.

 


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Deeply Connected: How to Write Liturgy. By Dorothy McRae-McMahon. 59pp. Mediacom. Ref 313811. $15.00.

Dorothy McRae-McMahon is Australias most acclaimed liturgist. She was recently asked by the High Commissioner for South Africa to create and preside over the official Memorial Service for Nelson Mandela in Sydney.

This book is written to help worship leaders to write quality liturgy, prayers and worship resources for public occasions and major celebrations. Including examples, full liturgies and a treasure trove of ideas, it is a gift to those in the church who care about fine words and excellent worship.

Feasting on the Word Lenten Companion: A Thematic Resource for Preaching & Worship. David L Bartlett, Barbara Brown Taylor, Kimberly Bracken Long. Hbk. Ref 298546. Westminster John Knox. $48.00. 

This new volume in the Feasting on the Word series will serve as an all-in-one pastor's companion for Lent and Holy Week, providing worship materials and sermon preparation tools for both lectionary and non-lectionary preachers. In keeping with other Feasting on the Word resources, four essays provide theological, pastoral, exegetical, and homiletical perspectives on an Old Testament and a Gospel text for each Sunday. A complete order of service is provided for each of the Sundays in Lent, plus Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. Hymn suggestions, midweek services, and children's sermon suggestions make this an invaluable resource for the season of Lent.

 

Fresh from the Word 2016. Nathan Eddy ed. 384pp. IBRA. Ref 307348. $29.00.

Bringing together top theologians and biblical scholars, cutting-edge church leaders, activists for peace and justice and a range of creative Christian writers of different nationalities, Fresh From the Word offers 365 sets of notes, prayers, and suggestions for action on biblical themes.

This year, you are invited on a journey of navigation and exploration. Navigating good and evil is the theme for Lent. Other themes throughout the year include: the sensual (Feasting with God, Seeing the Spirit of God), the social (The Bible with the Saints), the spiritual (Prayer) and the political (Witness to the Light). There are also readings from Luke (the lectionary text for the liturgical year), 1 and 2 Chronicles, 1 John and Ephesians.

Featured contributors this year include:

· Methodist preacher and founder of faithandworship.com John Birch

· Legal officer for the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa Michiko Ete-Lima

· University chaplain and former punk band leader, New Zealand Joshua 'Spanky' Moore

· University student worker in New Delhi, India Samuel G Ngaihte.

 

Grounded: Finding God in the World—A Spiritual Revolution. Diana Butler Bass. 336pp. Hbk. HarperOne. Ref 305200. $49.99.

Diana Butler Bass, leading commentator on religion, politics, and culture, follows up her acclaimed book Christianity After Religion ($26.99) by arguing that what appears to be a decline in mainstream religion, actually signals a major transformation in how people understand and experience God. The distant God of conventional religion has given way to a more intimate sense of the sacred that is with us in the world. This shift, from a vertical understanding of God to a God found on the horizons of nature and human community, is at the heart of a spiritual revolution that surrounds us.

Grounded explores this cultural turn as Bass unpacks how people are finding new spiritual ground by discovering and embracing God everywhere in the world around us—in the soil, the water, the sky, in our homes and neighbourhoods, and in the global commons. Faith is no longer a matter of mountaintop experience or institutional practice; instead, people are connecting with God through the environment in which we live. Grounded guides readers through our contemporary spiritual habitat as it points out and pays attention to the way s in which people experience a God who animates creation and community.

 

People of the Light – CD. Jonathan Berkahn composer. Festival Singers of Wellington. 22 tracks. 78 mins.  Ref 312048. $25.00.

This stunning CD of Jonathan Berkahn’s new music sung by the Festival Singers of Wellington features The Third Day resurrection cantata and music for Advent. The cantata tells the Easter story from the cross, through low Saturday, to finding the empty tomb, Jesus’ appearance in the locked room and giving the great commission. The cantata ends with a glorious finale that proclaims, “Christ is Risen, Alleluia!”

Throughout, Berkahn’s music deftly weaves melodies around sacred words in ways that enhance and give new meaning to the text. Listeners will be drawn into the music and find their spirits uplifted.

St. Paul: The Apostle We Love to Hate. Karen Armstrong. 160pp. Hbk. New Harvest. Ref 304763. $48.00.

St. Paul is known throughout the world as the first Christian writer, writing 14 of the 27 books in the New Testament. But as Karen Armstrong demonstrates in this book, he also exerted a more significant influence on the spread of Christianity throughout the world than any other figure in history. It was Paul who established the first Christian churches in Europe and Asia in the first century, Paul who transformed a minor sect into the largest religion produced by Western civilization, and Paul who advanced the revolutionary idea that Christ could serve as a model for the possibility of transcendence.

While we know little about some aspects of the life of St. Paul—his upbringing, the details of his death—his dramatic vision of God on the road to Damascus is one of the most powerful stories in the history of Christianity, and the life that followed forever changed the course of history.

 

The Story Luke Tells: Luke's Unique Witness to the Gospel. Justo L. Gonzalez. Eerdmans (2015). Ref 310150. $34.00.

Wisdom from an eminent church historian on Luke as storyteller.

Among New Testament writers, who is the best historian? Without a doubt, says Justo González, it’s Luke. Concerned about the particulars of people and events, Luke also gives readers the big picture, positioning the stories of Jesus not just in the history of Israel but in the history of humankind. Luke uniquely tells us the grand story of salvation — then and now.

González skillfully highlights key themes in Luke’s storytelling, including his strong emphasis on God's "great reversals," his keen interest in shared meals and their intimate connection to worship and communion, and his passionate underscoring of both the saving work of Christ and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Writing in a conversational style, González draws readers into Luke's story with fresh overviews and rich details, showing how Luke invites us to continue his gospel witness today.

Honest to Goodness: Personal Reflections on the Liturgy. Joy Cowley. 96pp. Pleroma. Ref 307444. $19.99.

“For regular mass goers, the liturgy can become a familiar road to the destination of Holy Communion and we stroll past gifts that wait for us in words and phrases. There is a wealth of divine connection in the liturgy if we are open to receive it.

The contents of this book are not exegesis or commentary, but pauses on the road to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. This form of lectio divina can be called ‘listening with the ears of the heart,’ and I invite you to make your own sacred pauses during the mass. Hear what you are meant to hear, and write your own prayer responses.” Joy Cowley, from her introduction to the book.

This book will also become a treasured resource for those in other denominations who want to experience more deeply their Holy Communion and Eucharist services

Jesus and Brian: Exploring the Historical Jesus and His Times via Monty Python's Life of Brian. Joan E. Taylor. 268pp. Bloomsbury T&T Clark. Ref 306677. $42.99.

Monty Python's Life of Brian film is known for its brilliant satirical humour. Less well known is that the film contains references to what was, at the time of its release, cutting edge biblical scholarship and Life of Jesus research. This research, founded on the acceptance of the Historical Jesus as a Jew who needs to be understood within the context of his time, is implicitly referenced through the setting of the Brian character within a tumultuous social and political background.

This collection is a compilation of essays from foremost scholars of the historical Jesus and the first century Judaea, and includes contributions from: George Brooke, Richard Burridge, Paula Fredriksen, Steve Mason, Adele Reinhartz, Bart Ehrman, Amy-Jill Levine, James Crossley, Philip Davies, Joan Taylor, Bill Telford, Helen Bond, Guy Steibel, David Tollerton, David Shepherd and Katie Turner.

The collection opens up the Life of Brian to renewed investigation and, in so doing, uses the film to reflect on the historical Jesus and his times, revitalising the discussion of history and Life of Jesus research. The volume also features a Preface from Terry Jones, who not only directed the film, but also played Brian's mum.

The Good Doctor. Lance O'Sullivan. 256pp. Penguin. Ref 307653. $38.00.

 Lance O'Sullivan is a man on a mission. Raised in Auckland by a solo mother, he had a modest upbringing typical of the time, if one chequered with difficulties. After being expelled from two schools, Lance could have gone off the rails. Instead, he found his way at Hato Petera College, connecting with his Maori ancestry, and going on to study medicine. After a brief but outstanding career working as a GP in the public health system, Lance and his wife Tracy quit their day jobs to set up a ground-breaking practice in the Far North that offers free healthcare to the many who can't afford it. 

For his work, Lance has been acknowledged as a Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader, Public Health Champion, Maori of the Year and, most recently, Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.

Passionate, brave and free-thinking, Lance stood up when no one else would. The Good Doctor charts his inspirational, one-of-a-kind life story, while relaying an overarching hope for a better New Zealand.

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