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Review of the year 2022: books

by
23 December 2022

THE delayed Lambeth Conference was held in 2022. Books related to it included The Power of Reconciliation by Justin Welby, and three volumes on Anglicanism, edited by Muthuraj Swamy and Stephen Spencer: Walking Together, Listening Together, and Witnessing Together.

Among books connected to the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee was Defenders of the Faith by Catherine Pepinster.

Others related to Anglicanism included The View from the Centre by Keith Eyeons; Beyond Establishment by Jonathan Chaplin; and Repackaging Christianity: Alpha and the building of a global brand by Andrew Atherstone. Anglican relations with other Churches were featured in The Malines Conversation by Rowan Williams, and Anglican-Methodist Ecumenism, edited by Jane Platt and Martin Wellings.

The issue of same-sex relationships was covered in Queer Holiness by Charlie Bell; and Reimagining Christianity and Sexual Diversity in Africa by Adriaan van Klinken and Ezra Chitando.

Works of church history included A People’s Church: A history of the Church of England by Jeremy Morris; The Fall of Christendom by W. B. Bartlett; The Vanishing: The twilight of Christianity in the Middle East by Janine di Giovanni; The Dissolution of the Monasteries by James G. Clark; England’s Second Reformation: The battle for the Church of England 1625-1662 by Anthony Milton; The Jesuits by Markus Friedrich.

Christian buildings and their environs were celebrated in Manchester Cathedral by Jeremy Gregory; and In the Shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral: The churchyard that shaped London by Margaret Willes.

Books on the Bible noticed in the Church Times during the year included God: An anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou; The Word: On the translation of the Bible by John Barton; The Making of the Bible: From the first fragments to sacred scripture by Konrad Schmid and Jens Schröter; Parables of Time and Eternity by Keith Ward; God of Justice and Mercy: A theological commentary on Judges by Isabelle Hamley; The God of the Old Testament: Encountering the divine in Christian scripture by R. W. L. Moberly; Losing Ground: Reading Ruth in the Pacific by Jione Havea; Delivered out of Empire: Pivotal moments in the Book of Exodus, Part One by Walter Brueggemann; and The Gospel of John: A theological commentary by David F. Ford.

Theological books reviewed included You Are Gods: On nature and supernature by David Bentley Hart; Reconciling Theology by Paul Avis; Unknowing God: Toward a post-abusive theology by Nicholas Peter Harvey and Linda Woodhead; Gypsies and Jesus: A traveller theology by Steven Horne; and Seeing God: The beatific vision in Christian tradition by Hans Boersma.

Titles published in the My Theology series included Sceptres of God by Rachel Mann; Personal Idealism by Keith Ward; and Forgiveness and Reparation by Mpho Tutu van Furth.

Apologetics and the God debate were the subject of The Hardest Problem by Rupert Shortt; Do I Stay Christian? by Brian D. McLaren; What’s the Point of Theology? by Alister McGrath; Tradition and Apocalypse by David Bentley Hart; and Journey into Light: The challenge and enchantment of Catholic Christianity by Roderick Strange.

Issues of equality and race were discussed in Talking to Children about Race by Loretta Andrew and Ruth Hill; Slavery-Free Communities: Emerging theologies and faith responses to modern slavery, edited by Dan Pratt; Ancestral Feeling: Postcolonial thoughts on Western Christian heritage by Rene Chow Choy; A Redemption Song: Illuminations on Black British pastoral theology and culture by Delroy Hall; This Here Flesh: Spirituality, liberation and the stories that make us by Cole Arthur Riley; and Invisible Divides: Class culture and barriers to belonging in the Church by Natalie Williams and Paul Brown.

Further reflection on how the Church of England dealt with its sacramental life during the pandemic appeared in Holy Communion in Contagious Times by Richard A. Burridge, and “Drink this All of You”: Individual cups at holy communion (W250) by Andrew Atherstone and Andrew Goddard. Other books on liturgy and preaching included Creative Ideas for the Family Eucharist by Sarah Lenton; The Present Preacher by Liz Shercliff and Matt Allen; and Preaching that Shows by Margaret Cooling.

Books by authors well-known to our readers included Murder Before Evensong by Richard Coles; Sacred Nature by Karen Armstrong; From Wild Man to Wise Man: Reflections on male spirituality by Richard Rohr; The Great Passion by James Runcie; Lydia: A story by Paula Gooder; and Act Justly by Samuel Wells.

There were autobiographies and memoirs by James Jones, George Carey, A. N. Wilson, and Nick Cave; and biographies of Mary Seacole, Stephen Neill, Arnold Bennett, Jane and William Morris, John Donne, D. H. Lawrence, Vaughan Williams, and Harold Wilson. There were also diaries, and collections of essays and letters of T. S. Eliot, Brother Roger of Taizé, and Sister Wendy Beckett.

Novels included The Young Pretender by Michael Arditti, Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, and An Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris. Poetry included The Backwater Sermons by Jay Hulme; Lifting the Veil: Imagination and the Kingdom of God by Malcolm Guite; and A Century of Poetry by Rowan Williams.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book was Embracing Justice by Isabelle Hamley. Other Lent and Easter titles included All’s Well That Ends Well by Peter Graystone; Hearing God in Poetry by Richard Harries; The Hour is Come by Andrew Nunn; Women of Holy Week by Paula Gooder; and Cries for a Lost Homeland by Guli Francis-Dehqani.

Titles for the Advent included Sleepers Wake: Getting serious about climate change by Nicholas Holtam; Bethlehem Bound by Andrew Nunn; and Sharing the Christmas Story by Sally Welch.

Books on prayer included Prayers for Living by Rosalind Brown; Abba Amma: Improvisations on the Lord’s Prayer by Nicola Slee; and Celtic Prayer ? Caught up in Love: Wisdom for living from a modern Celtic community by David Cole.

Titles on spirituality and monasticism included What Do You Seek? Wisdom from the religious life for today’s world by John-Francis Friendship; Entering the Twofold Mystery by Erik Varden; A Life-Long Springtime: The life and teaching of Fr George Congreve SSJE by Luke Miller; Dancing at the Still Point by Gemma Simmonds; The Monastic Heart by Joan Chittister; and Trust Your Feelings: Learning how to make choices with Ignatius of Loyola by Nikolaas Sintobin SJ.

Ageing and end-of-life issues were discussed in The White Stone by Esther de Waal; Death, Where is Your Sting? by Robert Reiss; The Quiet Haven: An anthology of readings on death and heaven and The Coffin Roads: Journeys to the west by Ian Bradley; and Grief Notes by Tony Horsfall.

Autism was explored in Autistic Thinking in the Life of the Church by Stewart Rapley.

Other books of interest reviewed in the columns of the Church Times during the year included: Young, Woke and Christian: Words from a missing generation, edited by Victoria Turner; Finance: A Christian perspective by Pierre de Lauzun; Women Remembered: Jesus’ female disciples by Joan Taylor and Helen Bond; Navigating a World of Grace: The promise of generous orthodoxy by Graham Tomlin; You Matter by Delia Smith; A Pilgrimage of Paradoxes: A backpacker’s encounters with God and nature by Mark Clavier: and Gen Z, Explained: The art of living in a digital age by Roberta Katz, Sarah Ogilvie, Jane Shaw and Linda Woodhead.

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