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18 February 2022

This week’s selection: the legacy of Bonhoeffer, ecological theology, and an incumbent’s reflections and uplifting stories during the pandemic last spring

Discipleship in a World Full of Nazis: Recovering the true legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Mark Thiessen Nation with contributions by Scot McKnight and Stanley Hauerwas (Cascade Books, £22 (£19.80); 978-1-7252-9508-7).

“‘Things do exist that are worth standing up for without compromise. To me it seems that peace and social justice are such things, as is Christ himself.’ These are words Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke to his brother a few months before he began training future pastors in the ways of discipleship. For several years, he had been speaking out against war. Near the beginning of the anti-Semitic Nazi regime, he called on his fellow Christians to speak out against a state that was engaging in oppressive measures, to respond to victims of oppression, and to be willing to suffer, as a church, if it was required to stop such oppression. His vision for training disciples was rooted in pure doctrine, serious worship, a new kind of monasticism, and the Sermon on the Mount. Bonhoeffer was convinced that through the living presence of Jesus and the explosive teachings of the Sermon on the Mount ‘lies the force that can blow all this hocus-pocus sky-high — like fireworks, leaving only a few burnt-out shells behind.’ This is the legacy of this extraordinary theologian that this book seeks to recover — exploring how this was lived out in a world full of Nazis.”

Green Theology: An eco-feminist and ecumenical perspective by Trees Van Montfoort (DLT, £16.99 (£15.29); 978-1-913657-28-4).

“Voted the Dutch Theological Book of the Year 2019, Green Theology is an urgent, far-reaching Christian theological reconsideration of the relationship between God, creation, nature, and human beings. Trees Van Montfoort demonstrates that ecological theology is not a sub-discipline of theology but a rediscovery of theology, focused not only on God and people, but all of creation. Drawing on the perspectives of eco-theologians from around the world, this is a ground-breaking book that redefines the scope of theology for a world in urgent need of answers.”

Tales of a Country Parish: From the vicar of Savernake Forest by Colin Heber-Percy (Short Books, £12.99 (£11.69); 978-1-78072-497-3).

“During the unprecedented circumstances of spring 2020, Colin Heber-Percy began writing a daily newsletter of reflections and uplifting stories to stay in touch with his parishioners. Word spread, and soon his bulletins were being eagerly consumed by readers around the country and beyond. In this thought-provoking and invigorating book, Heber-Percy draws upon a kaleidoscopic knowledge of nature, philosophy, poetry, and music, as well as religious writings, and interlaces them with amusing and touching vignettes from his Wiltshire parish. As he follows the changing seasons, Heber-Percy moves from the seemingly small and mundane to ponder big life questions — can you find heaven in a Londis shop, why is the Bible not like the Highway Code, what on earth we are all doing here — while gently offering up wisdom and sustenance for all, regardless of faith and creed.”

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

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