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Monday, 15 November 2010

November 2010 Book Selection

Here is a selection of books for November. Included is a publication bringing together the words of Pope Benedict XVI during his recent state visit to the UK. Also there is a timely work, given the present discussion in the Church of England on women bishops, on the present and future of women's ministry in the Anglican Communion. As this diocese is seeking to improve our green credentials, you may find the collection of thought on ecological issues from the Roman Catholic perspective to be stimulating. Other volumes include some good resources for pastoral ministry, and works on Church history and economic justice (the latter co-authored by our Archbishop Rowan Williams).

Just click on the read more link for the selection. Viel Spaß beim Lesen!

Benedict XVI, Heart Speaks Unto Heart, The sermons and addresses of Benedict XVI during his visit to the UK, DLT, ISBN 978-0-23252-842-8, £6.99.
In spite of the controversy raised by secularist groups beforehand, the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the UK in September, which reached its climax with the ceremonies at Cofton Park in Birmingham for the beatification of Cardinal Newman, is generally felt to have gone well and his speeches during the visit have been widely regarded as making a very helpful contribution to the discussion about the role of the Christian Church in contemporary society. This new volume from DLT contains the complete texts of all the sermons, talks and addresses given by the Pope during his visit during his visit. The book will be of interest to anyone who wants a memento of the Papal visit, but it will also be useful for anyone interested in Pope’s Benedict’s thinking or in the issues which the Pope addressed.

Chris Edmondson, Leaders Learning to Listen, DLT, ISBN 978-0-23252-736-£12.99
The importance of good listening has been widely acknowledged in the history of the Church. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, for example, once observed that ‘we should listen with ears of God that we may speak the word of God.’ In today’s world and today’s Church, however, there is a tendency so to emphasise speaking and doing that listening in whatever form easily gets marginalized. In his new book Chris Edmondson, the Bishop of Bolton and formerly the Warden of the Lee Abbey Community in Devon, addresses this situation by explaining why listening is so essential to good leadership. He looks at the barriers to good communication, at the importance of silence and stillness, and the challenges of listening to those from whom we differ. He emphasizes the essential elements of discernment and prophecy, looking closely at what those terms really mean, and offers some practical ways forward for leaders wishing to create a more listening culture in their church communities. This book will be very useful to everyone who is concerned to foster within the Church the listening skills without which good leadership is impossible.

Dan Hardy (author) and David Ford, Deborah Ford and Peter Ochs (eds), Wording a Radiance: parting conversations on God and the Church, SCM, ISBN 978-0-33404-208-2, £19.99.
The Revd Professor Dan Hardy, who died in 2007, was the Van Mildert Professor of Theology at the University of Durham and Director of the Centre for Theological Inquiry at Princeton. He was one of the foremost writers on the theology of the Church in the English-speaking world during the twentieth and twenty first centuries. This final, posthumous, volume of his writings is concerned with the theology of the Holy Spirit and the Eucharistic foundations of the Church. The editors of the volume, David and Deborah Ford and Peter Ochs, have sought to present this theology in a manner that honours its character as Professor Hardy’s testament to the Church. They situate this theology in the context of the last year of Hardy’s life, which included a spiritual pilgrimage to the Holy Land and his conscious effort to dictate a brief theology as his parting words to the Church and the academy. This volume will be of interest to all who want to hear Dan Hardy’s final thoughts, but also to those who simply want to be helped think more deeply about the topics which he covers.

Malcolm Lambert, Christians and Pagans – The Conversion of Britain from Alban to Bede, Yale UP, 978-0-30011-908-4, £28.50.
The story of the conversion of the British Isles during the Roman and Saxon periods is one about which most people know very little. They may have heard of St Alban and may vaguely know that there was a mission led by St Augustine, but that is often about it. Since the Reformation the story of the conversion of these islands has also been a fertile source of theological polemic with the claim being made that there was an original British Church that was independent of Rome and of which the churches of the Reformation were the heirs. This new volume by Malcolm Lambert, who taught history and theology at the universities of Bristol and Reading challenges both the ignorance and the polemic. It offers a comprehensive and highly readable account of the coming of Christianity to Britain, its coexistence or conflict with paganism, and its impact on the lives of both the indigenous islanders and the invading Anglo-Saxons. The Christianity of Roman Britain, so often treated in isolation, is integrated with the history of the British churches of the Celtic world, and with the histories of Ireland, Iona, and Pictland. Combining chronicle and literary evidence with the fruits of the latest archaeological research, it explains how the process of conversion changed the hearts and minds of early Britain. This is a valuable resource for anyone seeking to understand the earliest history of Christianity in Britain.

Richard W Miller (ed), God, Creation and Climate Change: A Catholic Response to the Environmental Crisis, Orbis Books, ISBN 978-1-57075-889-8, £12.99.
This new collection of essays by a distinguished group of Roman Catholic writers addresses the theological issues raised by the impact of climate change. The writers assess the gravity of the situation that the created order now faces and offer resources from the Bible and the Christian theological tradition for mobilization of will and the conversion of our imaginations that are necessary in order to tackle it. They argue that the magnitude of the problems of environmental degradation and climate change that we now face requires nothing less than a complete re-thinking and re-orientation of the way in which human beings exist in the world. Responding to this crisis thus requires not only a conversion of the will but even more fundamentally a transformation of the imagination - that is, the capacity to think of other ways of being, thinking, and acting in the world. This book is valuable as a strong challenge to complacency and a strong challenge to think afresh about what it means to live as God’s creatures in God’s world alongside the rest of his creation.

Martyn Percy & Christina Rees (eds), Apostolic Women, Apostolic Activity, Canterbury Press, ISBN 978-1-84825-040-6, £16.99.
As the legislation for the ordination of female bishops in the Church of England comes for debate in the dioceses, this new volume edited by Martyn Percy and Christina Rees considers the distinctive role of women in the Anglican Communion and their distinctive contribution to senior Anglican ordained and lay leadership. The volume arises out of the shared experience and concerns of women in senior roles in ministry, church leadership, theological education and other areas of the Church’s life. Drawing on stories from around the Anglican Communion and theological reflection on practice, it assesses where the Communion is currently and looks at how it might develop in the future. The book is in four parts. Part one looks at the role of women in the light of scripture and tradition, part two explores women and ecclesiastical leadership, part three assesses the challenges facing women’s ministry today and explores some spiritual resources for meeting them and part four imagines some possible futures. This is an important resource for anyone wanting to understand what the present and future of women’s ministry in the Anglican Communion look like from the perspective of those who are strongly supportive of it.

Ferdinand Schlingensiepen, Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906-1945 Martyr, Thinker, Man of Resistance, T&T Clark, ISBN: 9780567034007, £19.99.
Sixty five years after Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s death, interest in his life and theological legacy continues unabated. Alongside the ground breaking biography by Eberhard Betghe which was published forty years ago, there have been many other biographies of Bonhoeffer arising out of this interest and this raises the question of why a new one has now been produced. The answer is that this new biography by one of the Founders of the International Bonhoeffer Society takes into account documents that have only been made accessible during the last few years - such as the letters between Bonhoeffer and his fiancée Maria von Wedemeyer. The result is a definitive new study of Bonhoeffer for a new generation of readers which brings to life the events of Bonhoeffer’s life and carefully traces the development of his thought. This book will of interest to those who have heard of Bonhoeffer and now want to know more about him and to those who have read previous works about him and want benefit from new knowledge and fresh insights.

Jerry L Walls (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology, OUP, ISBN 978-0-19973-588-4, £27.50.
Dean Inge once famously compared an interest in eschatology by one of his former students to the fact that he kept lizards. Both, in his view, were equally odd. In fact, however, eschatology is of far greater importance to Christian faith than the keeping of lizards is to the life of most human beings. Arguably eschatology lies at the centre of both Christian theology and Christian practice. This is because what lies in the future both of ourselves and individuals, and of the creation as a whole, determines what we can hope for and what we should fear and hope and fear necessarily shape the way that we live in the present. The issues covered in this new Oxford handbook edited by the Professor of Philosophical Theology at Asbury Seminary in the United States are therefore very important ones and in this volume they are covered by a list of distinguished authors including Richard Bauckham, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Clark Pinnock, and William Abraham. If you want to know about a range of eschatological topics from eschatology in the Church Fathers, through Muslim eschatology and eschatology in Process Theology to eschatology in pop culture and emerging issues in eschatology in the twenty first century then this book is for you.

Rowan Williams and Larry Elliott, Crisis and Recovery: Ethics, Economics and Justice, Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-23025-214-1, £20.00.
The financial crisis that has rocked the world in the past few years and the recession and reductions in government spending that have flowed from it have raised a whole host of issues about the interconnection between ethics, economics and the demands of justice, both in our society and in the world as a whole. In this new book the Archbishop of Canterbury and the economics editor of the Guardian, Larry Elliott, have brought together a team of distinguished commentators to consider these issues and to open up a debate about how to develop a fairer and more just approach to economics. This book is a readable guide for anyone who wants to understand how we have got to where we are now and wants to think about how we can avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future. As David Ford has commented 'Two of the most powerful forces in our world are religion and money. This book brings them together in ways that are both well-informed and ethically and politically sensitive. The result will be of interest to any religious or secular citizen concerned about the wise shaping of twenty-first century society.'

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