I hope you saw our Hearts & Minds Facebook page where I thanked the salt of the Earth folks from small and struggling churches who we served again this year at Wee Kirk — Scottish Presbyterian-ese for small church. Every year we gather at the great Laurelville Mennonite camp in Mt. Pleasant, PA, and hear great speakers, take in important workshops, and eat lots of food, laughing and worshiping with mostly rural and small town Presbyterians friends. They buy a lot of books from us, and we thought we’d share a few of the best sellers, or at least some that were nicely discussed. I have to be quick — let us know if you have questions, or want other such resources.
Fail: Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure J.R. Briggs (IVP) $16.00 I have written about this before, and couldn’t wait to share with these church leaders the great story behind this, Briggs own dis-ease with the “success” and big-time glitzy visions of so many other church conferences and books and websites. His own “epic fail” lead to shame and discouragement, and not a few Wee Kirk friends share this sense of rejection and betrayal that comes with ministry failure. The introduction by Eugene Peterson is wise and good, and if the story of J.R.’s coming to the transforming role of not measuring up to the heroism and big successes of the church-world enterprise can help folks recover from their pain and cope with their disillusionment, we are more than glad to promote this. It was a big hit, for good reason. Highly recommended.
Lila: A Novel Marilynne Robinson (FSG) $26.00 What a joy to let people know that this new book released this very week. As you hopefully know, it is a new novel, the story about the wife of the pastor in Robinson’s beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Gilead. We sold Gilead, Home, and Lila. That Robinson herself is not only a brilliant storyteller but a Calvin scholar is pretty great. We had announced this as pre-order but Wee Kirk was the first place I got to announce it. Nice.
By the way, we’ve posted an interview with Ms Robinson at the Facebook page, and there are other good pieces about this important work on line. What a wonderful occasion to celebrate this writer and this new novel.
Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good Jan Karon (Putnam) $27.95 Of course our small-town church folk loved hearing that there was a new Mitford book, and that we had autographed copies of this handsomely made hardback on hand made it that much better. Fun. If you order any soon, we’ll send a true, autographed copy (no extra cost.) While our supplies last.
Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works James K.A. Smith (Baker Academic) $22.99 Last year I regaled the Wee Kirk community with the urgency of reading anything by Jamie Smith, and challenged them to dig deep into the importan
t Desiring the Kingdom. You can imagine how glad I was when one of the workshop leaders (doing a class on preaching) mentioned this sequel to it each time in her presentations. This is serious, meaty, and one of the most important books on worship in ages.
Feasting on the Word Advent Companion: A Thematic Resource for Preaching and Worship edited by David L. Bartlett, Barbara Brown Taylor, and Kimberly Bracken Long (Westminster/John Knox) $25.00 Of course at any gathering where there are clergy, we take all four volumes of the Feasting on the World lectionary preaching series for whichever year we are in or approaching (we are approaching Year B, starting in Advent.) We take the Feasting on the Word Worship Resources and Daily Feast, the compact, faux-leather, daily devotional based on these same lectionary-based resources. This one is spectacular, with lectionary exegesis for preaching, worship aids, children’s sermon ideas, Advent and Christmas hymn ideas, suggestions for mid-week services, etc. We sold a lot of Advent resources, but was struck by how popular this new volume was.
Mercy & Melons: Praying the Alphabet: Thanking God for All Good Gifts, A to Z Lisa Nichols Hickman (Abingdon) $15.99 Lisa is nearly a neighbor to some of the Wee Kirk gang, and even for those who do not know her they have recalled that we had promoted her creative proposal for creative Bible study, Writing in the Margins, last year (with a contest of people who could show us their own scribbled-in, marked up Bibles.) This year, I explained about just how very lovely and very eloquent and very moving this new set of meditations is. I’m glad we’ve told you about it here before, but thought you should know how popular it was at this gathering. How ’bout that tag-line? “Thanking God for All Good Gifts, A to Z” which wonderfully links the so-called sacred and secular.
Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela (Back Bay Books) $18.00 There was a wonderful workshop by a bold urban activist (and dean of student life at Pittsburgh Theological seminary, John Walsh) comparing and drawing on the social ethics of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela for our own contemporary social problems. Despite the reality that most small churches in this region are primarily white, and not particularly political liberal, these good folks wanted to learn more about racism, poverty and resistance to injustice. Mandela’s huge memoir was a national best-seller and the basis of a powerful movie. The Los Angeles Times Book Review reviewer said, “Irresistible. One of the few political autobiographies that’s also a page-turner.” The Financial Times raved, “One of the most extraordinary political tales of the twentieth century… for anyone interested in the genesis of greatness.” Many have put it on their life-long, best-ever, must-read lists. Three cheers!
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