An Ocean of Light: Contemplation, transformation, and liberation by Martin Laird (OUP, £12.99 (£11.70); 978-0-19-937994-1).
“For people drawn to a life of contemplation, the dawning of luminous awareness in a mind full of clutter is deeply liberating. In the third of his best-selling books on Christian contemplative life, Martin Laird turns his attention to those who are well settled in their contemplative practice.”
The Contemplative Response: Leadership and ministry in a distracted culture by Ian Cowley (BRF, £8.99 (£8.10); 978-0-85746-656-3).
“Following on from the success of The Contemplative Minister, Ian Cowley offers new insight and greater depth for church leaders in a distracted world. Cowley emphasises that the true self finds peace in resting in the love of God, and he encourages ministers to minister to themselves as well as to others, and to ensure that, in the peace that Jesus promises, their spiritual lives don't run dry amid the pressures of the job. A must-read for leaders wanting to stay the course.”
The Dangers of Christian Practice: On wayward gifts, characteristic damage, and sin by Lauren Winner (Yale, £20 (£18); 978-0-300-21582-3).
“Challenging the central place that "practices" have recently held in Christian theology, Lauren Winner explores the damages these practices have inflicted over the centuries. Sometimes, beloved and treasured Christian practices go horrifyingly wrong, extending violence rather than promoting its healing. In this bracing book, Lauren Winner provocatively challenges the assumption that the church possesses a set of immaculate practices that will definitionally train Christians in virtue and that can't be answerable to their histories.”
How to Be a Sinner by Peter Bouteneff (SVS Press, £12.99 (£11.70); 978-0-88141-623-7).
“We call ourselves “sinners” in much of our church life. Yet the sinner identity—when done right—brings peace of mind, a clear conscience, and love for others. Addressing topics like guilt, shame, and self-care, this compassionate guide will help you reflect on your life in surrender to God’s mercy. Written by an internationally recognized professor of Orthodox theology, this book will speak to you wherever you find yourself.”
The Vocation of Anglicanism by Paul Avis (Bloomsbury, £28.99 (£26.10); 978-0-567-68449-3). New in paperback.
“Paul Avis charts a pathway of theological integrity through the serious challenges facing the Anglican Communion in the first quarter of the 21st century. He asks whether there is a special calling for Anglicanism as an expression of the Christian Church and expounds the Anglican theological tradition to shed light on current controversies.”
Selected by Frank Nugent, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop.