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New titles just published

11 February 2022

This week’s selection: challenges offered by the Book of Genesis on faith and life today, rediscovering faith, and what to expect from praying

Birthpangs and Blessings: A commentary on the Book of Genesis by Clare Amos (Sacristy Press, £19.99 (£17.99); 978-1-78959-194-1).

“Recent trends in Old Testament studies have radically changed the way we look at the first book of the Bible. This commentary takes account of these developments: acknowledging that traditional source-critical theories need to be re-evaluated, seeking to explore the book holistically, and taking account of its qualities as a ‘story’. Clare Amos draws upon her extensive knowledge of the modern Middle East, its peoples, its religions, and its problems, to provide new insights into some of the challenges which Genesis offers for faith and life today. Birthpangs and Blessings offers new insights into the spirituality of the Bible, the voyage of mutual discovery between God and humanity, a recurrent theme of this important biblical book.”

Fearful Times: Living faith, edited by Robert Boak Slocum and Martyn Percy (Wipf & Stock, £19 (£17.10); 978-1-6667-3155-2).

“We live in fearful times with many threats and horrors. We’ve seen a pandemic, systemic racism and violence, resurgent nationalism and tribalism, polarisation and mutual suspicion, insurrection, environmental peril due to climate change, and on. We can feel helpless. But these threats give impetus for reflection on what faith has to say in any time of challenge. Where do we turn in real need? What makes a difference? What do we really believe? Can we speak in Christ’s name against dishonesty, cruelty, and neglect of the most needy and vulnerable in times of crisis? The recent pandemic and other horrors provide the catalyst for theology that lives today and in the future, in fearful times and whatever comes next. As Christians, as people of faith, how do we find God alive in us and present in our turmoil? And how do we share that hope with others? How can Christian faith help us bring the best out of the worst? Can we rediscover our faith, our church, our lives in these times of crisis? This volume presents a variety of perspectives and answers for questions of fearful times and living faith.”

Learning to Pray: A guide for everyone by James Martin (William Collins, £9.99 (£8.99); 978-0-00-844708-3). New in paperback.

“In The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, Fr James Martin included a chapter on communicating with God. Now, he expands those thoughts in this profound and practical handbook. Learning to Pray explains what prayer is, what to expect from praying, how to do it, and how it can transform us when we make it a regular practice in our lives. A trusted guide walking beside us as we navigate our unique spiritual paths, Martin lays out the different styles and traditions of prayer throughout Christian history and invites us to experiment and discover which works best to feed our soul and build intimacy with our Creator. Fr Martin makes clear that there is not one secret formula for praying. But like any relationship, each person can discover the best style for building an intimate relationship with God, regardless of religion or denomination. Prayer, he teaches us, is open and accessible to anyone willing to open their heart.”

Selected by Frank Nugent, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the
Church Times Bookshop.

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