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New titles just published

18 March 2022

This week’s selection: responses to the Lord’s Prayer, Henri Nouwen’s circus inspiration, and the importance of doctrinal theology

Abba Amma: Improvisations on the Lord’s Prayer by Nicola Slee (Canterbury Press, £12.99 (Church Times SPECIAL OFFER PRICE £10.39); 978-1-78622-321-0).

“The Lord’s Prayer unites Christians of all traditions. It is the first and perhaps only prayer that people learn by heart. However, its patriarchal and kingdom imagery do not resonate universally today. How do we pray the prayer Jesus taught us in ways which are authentic and life-giving?

“This volume, emerging from years of praying the Lord’s Prayer, offers a series of prayers and poems written in response to it. They wrestle with its central images and bring our own stories and relationships into dialogue with it. Each prayer uses the address Abba or Amma: Aramaic terms of intimate address to God as father or mother which reflect Jesus’ usage, drawing on the abbas and ammas of the Desert Tradition as well as our own parental relationships.”


Flying, Falling, Catching: An unlikely story of finding freedom by Henri Nouwen and Carolyn Whitney-Brown (SPCK, £13.99 (£12.59); 978-0-281-08694-8).

“During the last five years of his life, spiritual leader and teacher Henri Nouwen became close to a travelling circus trapeze troupe, The Flying Rodleighs. The lessons he discovered through his relationship with the troupe stimulated Nouwen to write in a genre new to him, creative non-fiction, and these writings are presented for the first time in Flying, Falling, Catching. With care and insight, Nouwen’s colleague and friend Carolyn Whitney-Brown weaves Henri’s material into a dramatic narrative that imagines his life flashing before him during his first heart attack. We learn how Nouwen saw his own experiences reflected in the artistry, exhilarating successes, crushing failures and continual forgiveness that were integral to the act of The Flying Rodleighs.


The Life of Christian Doctrine by Mike Higton (T & T Clark, £28.99 (£26.09); 978-0-567-69783-7). New in paperback.

“The lives of Christian churches are shaped by doctrinal theology. That is, they are shaped by practices in which ideas about God and God's ways with the world are developed, discussed and deployed. This book explores those practices, and asks why they matter for communities seeking to follow Jesus. Taking the example of the Church of England, this book highlights the embodied, affective and located reality of all doctrinal practices and the biases and exclusions that mar them. It argues that doctrinal theology can in principle help the church know God better, even though doctrinal theologians do not know God better than their fellow believers. It claims that it can help the church to hear in Scripture challenges to its life, including to its doctrinal theology. It suggests that doctrinal disagreement is inevitable, but that a better quality of doctrinal disagreement is possible. And, finally, it argues that, by encouraging attention to voices that have previously been ignored, doctrinal theology can foster the ongoing discovery of God's surprising work.”

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





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