Becoming Friends of Time

Becoming Friends
of Time

Author John Swinton
Publisher SCM £19.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780334055570

Swinton offers us profound reflections on some foundational issues – time, memory, disability, normality, identity, vocation – and how they are linked. I am not likely to think of any of these issues in the same way as before. Running through the book is a plea to be ‘timeful’; I loved the notion that love has a speed: 3mph, i.e. walking pace. Swinton deeply challenges the way our perception of time affects our view of disability, with special reference to dementia and acquired brain injury; the implications for Christian communities and how they view and integrate people with disabilities are far-reaching. The book finishes with a liturgy for a ‘lived funeral’, a ceremony for a person who has had a life-changing injury and wishes to mark the transition from themselves as before the injury to the person they have become afterwards. While not many Readers may have an opportunity to use this, there is much in this book which has relevance for our practice as ministers.

GERTRUD SOLLARS

Disability, Christian Identity

 

Protestants

Protestants

Author Alec Ryrie
Publisher Collins £25
Format hbk
ISBN 9780007465033

This major work is a majestic and engrossing account of the history and development of our Protestant tradition – a real page-turner. Ryrie claims ‘Protestantism is about the…reckless pursuit of an unmeditated love affair with God’. He covers the peaks and pitfalls of the affair, from Luther onwards. The book comprises three parts: ‘The Reformation Age’, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; ‘The Modern Age’, the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as Protestantism spreads from the Empire; and ‘The Global Age’ describes Protestantism in South Africa, Korea, China, ending with the worldwide spread of Pentecostalism. An epilogue reflects on the present worldwide situation. To quote Ryrie again – ‘my argument throughout this book has been that Protestants are best treated as family: a sprawling, diverse, extremely quarrelsome family, to be sure, but one that is tied together by more than an accident of birth’. His lively style will engage the reader – and what better way to become better acquainted with our relatives than with this enthralling book.

ROGER THORNINGTON

History

 

A New Day

A New Day

Author Emma Scrivener
Publisher IVP £8.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781783594412

A New Day is Emma Scrivener’s second book dealing with anorexia, obsessive compulsive disorder, self-harm and other mental health issues, based on personal experience. She encourages Christians to face the uncomfortable truth: that our churches are full of hurting people and that coming to faith may still leave us struggling. In this ‘mess’, however, Jesus meets us and here the church is called to shine. Moving in stages from darkness through to light, Emma explores hunger, anxiety, control, shame, anger and despair, offering interesting scriptural insights and much practical information and advice: an invaluable reference for understanding this often-hidden area of need and concern. The book is easy to work through with many short sections, testimonies and questions to consider. It could be suitable for youth leaders to use with groups and individuals as the issues and style are particularly relevant for young people. For Emma’s personal battle with anorexia, see her previous book, A New Name or her blog.

APRIL McINTYRE

Mental Health, Lifestyle

 

Helping Children and Adolescents Think about Death, Dying and Bereavement

Helping Children and Adolescents Think about Death, Dying and Bereavement

Author Marian Carter
Publisher JKP £13.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781785920110  2016

Both a theoretical and practical resource, this book is written by an experienced chaplain and educator. It highlights the need for absolute honesty with the young as they are supported through all the issues around death. Each of the nine chapters follows a pattern, beginning with experience and leading to our own practical response with exercises to help us to reflect. The first chapter looks at what death is. Subsequent ones take us through grief and factors which influence it, what children and adolescents should be told, funerals, continuing care, and care of the carers. We live in a multi-cultural, multi-faith society and the sections on the traditions of other world faiths are extremely helpful, as are the appendices covering a vast array of further resources. This sensitively written and challenging book will deeply enhance our own understanding and bring depth to our relationships with grieving people of any age.

LIZ PACEY

Pastoral, Young People

 

Radical Grace

Radical Grace

Author S.T. Kimbrough
Publisher Lutterworth  £16
Format pbk
ISBN 9780718894870

It’s a dramatic title! – but gives little away about the matter therein! Here is an insightful gathering across all the writings of Charles Wesley’s views on justice for the poor and marginalised of the world. Using Wesley’s journals, sermons and poetry (including hymnody), Kimbrough assembles a rich commentary on the centrality of the themes of inclusion, justice, and grace for the poor, and applies them to the circumstances of the twenty-first century where such issues still blight God’s world – and thus still have a strong message to speak to the church of today. Very readable, scripturally connected, and carefully structured, there is much here to earth our preaching preparation into the radical grace that the gospel calls for in our faith and action to the world. Helpfully included is an extensive bibliography, worship resources, and musical settings for singing that make this both a thoughtful compendium of Wesley’s reflection and concern, and a practical resource for worship today.

MARK PULLINGER

Methodism, History

 

Who Needs the Old Testament?

Who Needs the
Old Testament?

Author Katherine Dell
Publisher SPCK  £9.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780281065042

This well-written book perfectly fills the territory between obscure, ‘over-academic’ scholarship and biblical ignorance, producing an inspiring introduction to the complexities of the Old Testament. Dell’s principal objective is to thwart the bias of the ‘New Atheists’ (Dawkins, Hitchens) who have used selected parts of the Old Testament to question the validity and ethical value of all scripture. While not afraid to address difficult passages, Dell also illuminates these and many other texts for those who need to understand their wider context and to preach them with confidence and integrity. She succeeds admirably in illustrating the diversity of biblical genres, wearing her own formidable scholarship lightly, and showing the relevance of the Hebrew Scriptures to the New Testament and modern Christianity. I strongly recommend this book to all who need a general but authoritative guide to the Old Testament.

PETER CLOUGH

Old Testament Analysis