September Staff Picks — one last look

September is almost over. The staff picks for the month have been sitting on their shelves opposite the cash register. Just in case you haven’t seen our September picks here is one final review for you.

cindy, keller

Cindy’s Pick: Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Timothy Keller. Cindy recommends that you read this book along with some more practical books such as When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert or Walking with the Poor by Bryant L. Myers.


Heather’s Pick: The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy L. Sayers, a theologically rich reflection on the writing process.


Pam’s Pick: The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. Pam was reminded of this book after Manning’s death this year. She enjoyed reading it for its practical wisdom.


Alain’s Pick: Paradise Lost by John Milton. Reading a classic work is always a good idea, especially if you’ve got a good guide.


Andrew’s Pick: Good News About Injustice:A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World by Gary Haugen. This is Andrew’s last monthly pick as he has moved on to an exciting new job. He says this is a book that makes you think about global justice issues.


Sheila’s Pick: Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer by C.S. Lewis. Sheila recommends reading and re-reading this one.

For more on what the staff thought about their picks for September, check out the staff picks page on the Crux website. (If you click through after September 2013 finishes, you’ll find the current month’s staff picks.)

Happy reading!

Books that have changed your life?

In the spirit of this blog post that asks readers to talk about books that actually changed your life, here are some books (or sets of books) that have changed my life. These are in not ranked in any way, this is just the order in which they came to mind.

9780061992889The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I cannot pick only one from this set that has changed me – the whole set and the world they define has an ongoing influence on my thinking about life and faith. I’ve been reading and re-reading the series for longer than I care to admit. There are key phrases from the works that echo in my head: “He’s not a tame lion” and “Farther up and farther in!” are two examples. A key idea that echoes in my head is Aslan reminding various characters that he only tells them their own story, not other people’s story, and never what might have happened. The creation of the world when Aslan sings everything into existence is an incredibly powerful scene. One other thing that sticks with me from this series is the idea that all the characters are moral agents who make decisions and are held responsible for their decisions. They are never held responsible for the actions of others, but they are firmly held responsible for their own actions. Aslan is very clear about that. I think that is a very important thing that I learned from those books.

howatchSusan Howatch’s Church of England books and including the three set at St. Benet’s. I’m not sure this series has an official name (Starbridge?) but all of these books influenced me. If I had to pick one of the nine, I’d say Mystical Paths is one possible key book for me, but it might also be Absolute Truths. How was my life changed by these novels? Well, for one thing, I went out and got a spiritual director because the books impressed on me how important such a person could be for a person in ministry. I think the books have also influenced me in other ways – not that I always agree with the characters or how Howatch presents theology, but they all give a clear picture of the possibilities and pitfalls of ministry work.


Let Her Speak for Herself, edited by Marion Ann Taylor and Heather E. Weir. Hey, that’s a book with me on the cover! This book influenced my life because it showed me that publication was possible, and that writing was not always the easy choice. Plus since this book was published I am officially an author, and that is life-changing all by itself.

What about you? Which books have actually changed your life?

New books to be excited about

It is always exciting when new publications land at Crux. Today, three new publications arrived in one box.

Number 1:

prodigal xty

This is a new book on being missional. It seems like there are a lot of books on being missional, but this looks like it has potential to be interesting. How can people pop out of their Christian zone and be relevant to the world?

Number 2:

student's companion

This is a new reference work that introduces the reader to theologians through church history. I’ve just surveyed the table of contents and find six women included among the theologians covered. Not bad. Women appear to be well represented among the contributors also. If you are looking for an introduction to historical theology, this looks like a useful resource.

Number 3, the one I think is most exciting


A new study of the work and thought of C.S. Lewis by Alister McGrath — who also just published a new biography of Lewis. The photo on the cover is great, the chapter titles are enticing, and if this book is not here when you arrive at the store, it might be because I bought it.