Touched by God’s Spirit: How Merton, Van Gogh, Vanier and Rembrandt influenced Henri Nouwen’s heart of compassion by Luke Penkett (DLT, £14.99 (£13.50); 978-0-232-53385-9).
“Henri Nouwen is internationally acclaimed as one of the most beloved and important spiritual writers of the second half of the twentieth century, yet little has been written on Nouwen's own mentors, especially on those who influenced him the most: Thomas Merton, Vincent Van Gogh, Jean Vanier and Rembrandt Van Rijn.”
Walk Humbly: Encouragements for living, working, and being by Samuel Wells (Canterbury Press, £12.99 (£11.70); 978-1-78622-150-6).
“In the spirit of the popular poem 'Desiderata', world-renowned ethicist, theologian and preacher Samuel Wells offers eight exhortations in this extended meditation on being alive in the world and making our way through life.”
Philosopher of the Heart: The restless life of Søren Kierkegaard by Clare Carlisle (Allen Lane, £25 (£22.50); 978-0-241-28358-5).
“Søren Kierkegaard, one of the most passionate and challenging of modern philosophers, is now celebrated as the father of existentialism - yet his contemporaries described him as a philosopher of the heart. Over about a decade in the 1840s and 1850s, writings poured from his pen analysing love and suffering, courage and anxiety, religious longing and defiance, and forging a new philosophical style rooted in the inward drama of being human. As Christianity seemed to sleepwalk through a changing world, Kierkegaard dazzlingly revealed its spiritual power while exposing the poverty of official religion.”
The Persuasion of Love: Is there a theological theory of everything? by John Blakely (Circle Books, £10.99 (£9.90); 978-1-78904-000-5).
“The Persuasion of Love examines the implications of believing that the meaning of the universe is love. It is axiomatic that the Christian faith is about the love of God, but John Blakely seeks to delve behind this easy assertion by proposing that all human love has God as its source, even if marred by human failings, and by exploring what it might mean for God to have created out of love.”
Waiting for the Last Bus: Reflections on life and death by Richard Holloway (Canongate, £9.99 (£9); 978-1-78689-024-5). New in paperback.
“Now in his ninth decade, former Bishop of Edinburgh Richard Holloway has spent a lifetime at the bedsides of the dying, guiding countless men and women towards peaceful deaths. A positive and profound exploration of the many important lessons we can learn, this is also a stirring plea to reacquaint ourselves with death. Doing so gives us the chance to think about the meaning of life itself; and can mean the difference between ordinary sorrow and unbearable regret at the end. Radical, joyful and moving, Waiting for the Last Bus is an invitation to reconsider life's greatest mystery by one of the most important and beloved religious leaders of our time.”
Selected by Frank Nugent, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop.