Ten suggestions for your summer reads
Over the last two summers I’ve offered some suggestions for summer reading (see here and here), writes Andy Goodliff.
Here are ten new books published this year or last which offer ways to help us think about our Christian faith and the difference Jesus makes for our being churches engaged in mission, pastoral care and seeking the kingdom of God.
1. God is not a White Man and other revelations by Chine McDonald
This new book from Chine McDonald is a powerful exploration of theology and race, interwoven with her own stories and others. I’m only one chapter in, and already lots to ponder and reflect upon.
2. A Pastoral Theology of Childlessness by Emma Nash
Emma Nash here addresses the issue of childlessness, drawing on her own story. Childlessness is an often hidden subject in church and society and Emma invites us to attend to the experience and the implications for faith, life and church. One for all those involved in pastoral care.
3. Pilgrim Letters by Curtis Freeman
In this short book, Curtis Freeman has written a catechism, that teaches the basic principles of the Christian faith. Each of the six principles, arising from Hebrews 6.1-2, is written as a letter to ‘Pilgrim’ preparing for baptism, drawing inspiration from John Bunyan, C. S. Lewis and others. The book will either be a reminder or an introduction to the Christian faith.
4. Disability by Brian Brock
Brian Brock has written some big books on disability, most notably the important Wondrous Wounded. This new book called Disability is part of a series called Pastoring for Life. A really helpful introduction to thinking about disability, grounded in real stories, challenging us to think about disability and perhaps for many of us to think differently.
5. Rewilding the Church by Steve Aisthorpe
Rewilding the Church might just be the book for this summer as our churches (hopefully) move out of restrictions, many of us, are seeing an opportunity to reconsider being church, how we worship together, how we engage in the mission of God.
Steve Aisthorpe suggests we might have something to learn from the ecological idea of rewilding. This about freeing the church from strategy, management, control and being responsive to Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Read a review of Rewilding the Church here
6. Paul and the Power of Grace by John Barclay
A few years back John Barclay published a big book on how Paul understands grace (in particular in Romans and Galatians) called Paul and the Gift. This new book seeks to share some of that learning in a more accessible way as well as offer some further thoughts about grace found in the other letters of Paul.
This represents some of the best New Testament scholarship currently available, and invites readers to a fresh view of Paul’s theology of grace and its implications for the church.
7. Holiness and Desire by Jessica Martin
This book is not straightforward to describe, but Jessica Martin has written a book about desire. It brings in personal narrative, scriptural engagement and a study of desire in all its forms in our modern living. It speaks to advertising, the internet, and sex. In this, it doesn’t shy away from the realities of our desires, and helps us discover a spirituality of desire and holiness and life with God.
8. From Spare Oom to War Drobe: Travels in Narnia with my nine-year old self by Katherine Langrish
I’ve not read this book, but one I hope to this summer. For all those who loved C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series and this is a great chance to become reacquainted with them, and see new things. For all those who have never read or not quite sure about them, it's an opportunity to discover the strange and wonderful world of lions, witches and wardrobes.
9. Women Without Walls by Mary Cotes
Drawing on stories on women in the gospels and (not well know stories of) women in history, Mary Cotes encourages women to engage as disciples in the fullness of the kingdom of God.
Read a review of Women Without Walls here.
10. The Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford
This is a novel. It tells the imaginary story of six children, beginning at the end of the second world war to the present day. This is a not a Christian novel, but it is a novel written by a Christian, and it tells stories of grace and hope. Some of you may be aware of Spufford’s early book, Unapologetic, which was written as a personal account of the Christian faith. He is writer with a great gift.
Andy Goodliff is minister of Belle Vue Baptist Church, Southend-on-Sea
He edits Regent’s Reviews, based at Regent’s Park College, Oxford. Regent’s Reviews is published every April and October and can be read at: http://www.rpc.ox.ac.uk/regents-reviews/