Book Review

Not in God’s Name

The wise former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks starts this book with the stark sentence, “When Religion turns men to murderers, God weeps”.   He goes on to highlight that despite predictions of continuing secularisation the twenty-first century has witnessed a surge of religious extremism and violence in the name of God.

In this powerful book, Jonathan Sacks explores the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, focusing on the historic tensions between the three Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Drawing on arguments from evolutionary psychology, game theory, history, philosophy, ethics and theology, Sacks shows how a tendency to violence can subvert even the most compassionate of religions.   Through a close reading of the biblical texts at the heart of the Abrahamic faiths, Sacks then challenges those who claim that religion is intrinsically a cause of violence, and argues that theology must become part of the solution if it is not to remain at the heart of the problem.

Sacks believes that for the sake of humanity and the free world, the time has come for people of all faiths and none to stand together and declare:  Not in God’s Name.

In this eye and heart opening book Jonathan Sacks will encourage us as Christians to take part in debate and peace making both near and far, with compassion, wisdom and holy fear.   It is well written, full of interest and challenge to individuals, the church at large, and society.

John Carey

Book Review

The Book of Mysteries

“I was stunned. Amazed. Possibly the most astonishing book I have ever read”
R.T. Kendall

The way the book is written can provide a day by day study or an interesting read with each page dedicated to a single thought/concept. However the depth of content of some of those thoughts/revelations is awesome, I have often found myself pondering on them for a whole day.

Some of the revelations relate to deeper truths in the Bible, truths that are easy to miss. Many of these mysteries are unlocked from the Hebrew language and understanding of Jewish traditions which can so easily be missed in our westernised culture.

As I am using this book as a daily devotional I haven’t finished it all yet but I have been so blessed by this book already.

Alan Stuart

Book Review

Following Jesus – Henri Nouwen

A suggested book to explore whilst we await an opportunity to discuss, delight in, or disagree about!

‘Following Jesus – Finding our way home in an age of anxiety’ by Henri Nouwen is the suggested book. This reaches and enriches our being more deeply than most other books – and “refreshes”. It scratches where spiritual seekers itch (perhaps reveals itches we didn’t even know we had) and invites us to both understand why we itch (e.g. why we are not as happy as we want to be) and what to do about it. Nouwen has a worldwide reputation as an insightful and reliable spiritual guide. He’s both gentle and straight talking, and whilst his book welcomes and encourages all of us, we are also asked to think and pray, and perhaps rethink our understanding of the depths of our Lord’s teaching, and the spiritual riches and costs involved. (e.g. I had to reconfigure my understanding of ‘joy’). This is a helpful map towards finding the ‘life in all its fullness’ that Jesus talked about. One reviewer said, ‘I recommend this book with all my heart’.

It’s cheaper on Kindle but the physical book is really well produced.   The publisher is SPCK. On this occasion please order your own copy if you possibly can. For more info phone John C (0115 9654566) or John S (07850 677618).

Book Review

Unleashed: The Acts Church Today

This book unpacks the theme of Spring Harvest 2020 which was available to watch on YouTube.

The authors are amongst the online speakers and if you missed it live it is still available and well worth watching whilst we have nothing to do in this lock-down period!!

I found the book gripping and inspiring. It is packed with biblical insights about how the early church in Acts inspires us to be all the Lord wants his church to be today. The authors skilfully unleash the power of the Gospel, the potential of the Church and the possibilities of the age in which we live. It explores topics such as The Holy Spirit in the life of the Church, taking risks, living together in the power of the Spirit, works and wonders, hearing from God and miracles then and now.

I found this book spiritually challenging and very practical and would thoroughly recommend it. It can be downloaded from Amazon for £5.03 or £6.74 in paperback.

 – Sue Leek