The Humble Church: Becoming the body of Christ by Martyn Percy (Canterbury Press, £14.99 (£13.49); 978-1-78622-315-9).
“In this bold and provocative invitation, Martyn Percy imagines what the post-pandemic Church might look like and sets out what it needs to learn. It argues that the Church needs to stop obsessing about itself — its size, its strategies to shore up decline, its waning public influence — and rediscover how to live as the body of Christ. In other words, what does it need to do in order to become more like Christ?
“Avoiding responses such as exasperation, righteous anger at shortcomings or wishful thinking about returning to the past, he sets out a vision for the Church’s future that is both biblical and christological. Incisive, imaginative, and engagingly written, this will resonate deeply with many lay and ordained members of the Church.”
Taking God Seriously: Two different voices by Brian Davies and Michael Ruse (Cambridge University Press, £19.99 (£17.99); 978-1-108-79219-6).
“Is debate on issues related to faith and reason still possible when dialogue between believers and non-believers has collapsed? Taking God Seriously not only proves that it is possible, but also demonstrates that such dialogue produces fruitful results. Here, Brian Davies, a Dominican priest and leading scholar of Thomas Aquinas, and Michael Ruse, a philosopher of science and well-known non-believer, offer an extended discussion on the nature and plausibility of belief in God and Christianity. They explore key topics in the study of religion, notably the nature of faith, the place of reason in discussions about religion, proofs for the existence of God, the problem of evil, and the problem of multiple competing religious systems, as well as the core concepts of Christian belief including the Trinity and the justification of morality. Written in a jargon-free manner, avoiding the extremes of evangelical literalism and New Atheism prejudice, Taking God Seriously does not compromise integrity or shy from discussing important or difficult issues.”
A Comedian’s Prayer Book by Frank Skinner (Hodder & Stoughton, £9.99 (£8.99); 978-1-529-36895-6).
“A Comedian’s Prayer Book. The title is a worry, isn't it? . . . God is a tough audience as far as audible response is concerned, but at least you don't have to explain the references. In this collection of prayers, much-loved comedian, broadcaster, and radio host Frank Skinner has tried to retain the bare candour of the rehearsal-room improvisation — to show what faith feels like, from the inside — but infused it with all the production values required to make it a passable public entertainment. In it are his convictions, his questions, his fears, his doubts, his elations — all presented in an eavesdropper-friendly form. Hell, Judgement, atheism, money, faith, and the X-Men all feature: it's a bit like reading the Bible, except you only get one side of the conversation, and all the jokes are left in.”
Selected by Aude Pasquier, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop.