Our first staff pick theme for April is Ecology. There are a wide range of books represented in the staff selections, with few choices actually from our Eco-Theology section. Let’s have a look at the recommendations.
Ed chose The Land by Walter Brueggemann. The subtitle says it all: “Place as gift, promise, and challenge in biblical faith.”
Cindy picked Raised-Bed Gardening because local food production is an important part of thinking about ecological stewardship — and how more local can you get than your own garden?
Heather chose Frankenstein by Mary Shelley because a scientist creates life in his lab — what could possibly go wrong?
Carolyn picked Fixing Fashion by Michael Lavergne because it is important to think about how we consume clothes as part our ecological stewardship.
Sheila picked Being Consumed by William Cavanaugh because she likes the book’s theological approach to thinking about ecology.
Connor chose Brave New World by Aldous Huxley because “This is what happens when there’s no regard for the natural world around us.”
Andrew approved the book we picked for him, Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss because he found this book “disturbing to read given my own eating habits.”
This month, in honour of All Saints Day (Nov. 1) our staff pick theme is biography. Here are our picks for the month. Stay tuned to this space for reasons for our picks.
With St. Valentine’s day this month, our February theme for 2015 is “Books We Love.”
Ed loves: The Cross of Christ by John R.W. Stott
Cindy loves: The First Phone Call from Heaven: a novel by Mitch Albom
“I read this novel over the Christmas holidays and thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that when I finished, I passed it on to my husband to read. He also really liked it. The book is a mystery with a little romance and a hard look at “faith” and “belief”. What would happen if you received a phone call from heaven from a loved one that has passed away? What if more than one person in the same small town received calls? After the phone calls begin and the story gets to the media, the town and the people in it will never be the same. If you like Mitch Albom’s other books, Tuesdays with Morrie or The Five People You Meet in Heaven you will love this one.”
Dr. Heather loves: Why Study the Past? by Rowan Williams
Dr. Heather says:
“The subtitle of this little book is The Quest for the Historical Church. In this book Williams communicates clearly the idea of “the communion of saints” — the idea that the Church extends not only through space, but through time. We can easily forget the time dimension of the Church. This book reminds us that we cannot afford to forget the past.”
Carolyn loves: The Sickness Unto Death by Soren Kierkegaard
“This is a book that I love. It’s also a book that is hard to read. I don’t mean so much that it is difficult to understand, although the first page and a half are notoriously dense (just keep on going, even if you don’t understand it!); rather, it is hard to read because it is a book that unmasks me and brings me close to myself. Kierkegaard’s premise is that each of us is in despair, and those of us who are unaware of this despair are likely in a worse state than those who recognize their problem. Ultimately, a recognition of despair will point us in the direction of that which we need most — God’s grace!”
Recall that for October we chose books by our about our favourite Reformers in honour of Reformation Day, October 31.
Connor’s Pick: The Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus
Erasmus didn’t seem to care about making friends through his writings. His work shows a desire to reform from within the Church, and to recognize the value of tradition. This spirit is wrapped in witty and sharp writing, which I find interesting to read for its form and its content.
Sheila’s Pick: Windows of Faith: Prayers of the Holy Hildegard
St. Hildegard of Bingen was a wonderous reformer. The Benedictine abbess founded two monastaries. A writer, composer, polymath, and mystic, St. Hildegard came up against a clash between obedience and conscience when she disagreed with the clergy of Mainz. She decided to pray with her sisters for six months to seek God’s guidance as to how to proceed. The issue was finally resolved to the thanksgiving of all the sisters.
Hence, looking at the prayers of St. Hildegard strikes me as a profound way of thinking through reformation for oneself, for the church, and for the world. Windows of Faith: Prayers of Holy Hildegard allows the reader to pray alongside St. Hildegard.
Ryan’s Pick: Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, Third Edition ed. Timothy F. Lull and William R. Russell
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’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.)