She Reads Truth – Colossians & Philemon

I’ve been looking forward to this book since it was announced and it did not disappoint. As much as I love She Reads Truth studies that are in familiar areas, I am always more excited to be spending time in a book of the Bible that isn’t so familiar to me – and this was a two-in-one! I’ve read a bit of Colossians before, but I can’t remember ever opening Philemon, which is silly since it’s such a short book...

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Simon Reynolds – Lighten Our Darkness

This book was requested from NetGalley in exchange for a review. This short but packed book is a guide to Choral Evensong, giving insight into the structure and elements of the service, along with detailed history of each of those parts. I think I’ve only been to one Choral Evensong service before when I was at St Paul’s in London, and I have to admit I didn’t really ‘get it’. But now I’ve read this...

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Stephen Cottrell – Dear England

The author introduces this book by recounting a story of a conversation he had in Paddington Station (Caffe Nero to be precise), when the barista asked him what sounds like an innocuous question: “What made you become a priest?”. Obviously when buying a coffee in a busy train station, there’s not much time to answer such a question as that, but this book is the response that he would have made if he’d had the time (a...

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Tim Hughes & Nick Drake – Why Worship?

I was given this book on NetGalley in exchange for a review. I’ve been following Tim Hughes’ music since I bought one of his CDs in a Wesley Owen shop (remember them?) in Leeds in 2003, and when I saw this book start to be mentioned on Twitter, I knew I needed to read it – seeing it on NetGalley just sealed the deal for me. The book is split into 4 parts: Who and why we worshipWhere and how we worshipWhat happens when...

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Anne Lamott – Dusk, Night, Dawn

I had a copy of this book as an ARC from NetGalley, the cover drew me right in, and the blurb seemed like it could be a very well timed book for me: ” How do we get through dark times when we feel like giving in to fear and despair, and when existential dread has convinced us of our smallness? “ Unfortunately, the style of the book was not my cup of tea. It was written kind of like a stream of consciousness, and I found that...

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David Robertson – What Would Jesus Post?

I started reading this book before lockdown 1.0 last year and unfortunately it just wasn’t the right time for me to be reading it, so I’ve only just got round to finishing it – not a reflection of the book, just a crazy year! Focusing on how to remain true to your Christian self while interacting online, this book was so interesting. With topics like wisdom and discernment and sewing a digital seed, it covered a wide range...

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Tony Evans – A Kid’s Guide to the Names of Jesus

I requested this book as an advance reading copy from NetGalley as I thought it might be useful for my youth groups. Although the book is pitched at a lower age range than I usually teach, I thought it would have some material that would be helpful. And I think I was mostly right. I think actually if I was to use this book with my teenagers, I wouldn’t have to do much adaptation in terms of aging the material upwards as some of it was...

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She Reads Truth – Esther

I absolutely loved this study. I’ve been struggling to commit to spending time in my Bible and a two week study felt like a perfect opportunity in the run up to Lent. I knew the rough outline of the story of Esther, but this is the first time I’ve read the whole book through, and it was such an eye opener. First of all, I never realised that God isn’t mentioned by name in the whole book of Esther, because it feels really...

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Sarah Bessey – A Rhythm of Prayer

I received this book as a free copy in exchange for a review from NetGalley. I thought this was a great collection of prayers and meditations, although like some previous NetGalley books, I think my experience was diminished by the fact it was an ebook not a physical copy (this is in no way a reflection on the book itself, I just feel like it would lend itself better to something physical). The book is comprised of contributions from a...

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Rev. Chris Lee – The OMG Effect

I’ve been following Rev. Chris on instagram for a while and have loved his 60 second sermons that he posts to give a brief moment of pause during the day. When I saw that he was bringing out a book, I had to pre-order it. Each chapter in the book starts with one of Chris’ 60 second sermons, then continues on with that topic. Topics including Positivity, Prayer, Humble Confidence, Death and Grief, and Love. Each chapter is...

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Sister Wendy Beckett – The Art of Holy Week and Easter

Having no art background and having not ever gone to art galleries or spent time looking at art, I’m probably not the target audience for this book. But then again, maybe I’m exactly the target audience, because I found this book absolutely fascinating. Filled with some pictures that I’d seen before and a lot I’d never come across, this book opened my eyes to the deeper meanings behind the canvas. Each picture...

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Lenny Duncan – Dear Church

This is possibly one of the most passionate books I’ve read in a long time – the subtitle was “A love letter from a black preacher to the whitest denomination in the U.S.”, and that’s exactly what it felt like – a love letter. A book that raises as many potentially ‘controversial’ points as this one could easily be seen as provocative and argument-starting, but the whole book is written from a...

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Colin Marshall & Tony Payne – The Trellis and the Vine

I picked up this book on the recommendation of a few people from Church. As is clearly obvious, things are not normal at the moment and of course Church has been affected by that. Almost every activity we do has been cancelled or materially altered in some way, and as we start to look to ‘the new normal’, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a deep breath and evaluate what and how we’re doing. As I’m sure it did...

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She Reads Truth – Daniel

During lockdown, I thought I’d have so much more time for doing things like reading and digging deeper into the Bible. But I’m sorry to say that I’ve completely lacked any kind of motivation and have struggled to either start or finish any of my She Reads Truth books for the last 5 months. So I was pretty made up to be able to find the time each day to sit down and read the book of Daniel. I was particularly motivated...

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Naomi Graham – Love Surpassing Knowledge

Having seen people I know have to leave a church due to a lack of inclusion and acceptance, I was interested to read this book to figure out what we should be doing better. As the book blurb says “Accessibility is so much more than ramps and physical access”. “When we see someone who is different to us, do we choose to look away to walk away and disengage because we are fearful of what might happen or of what they might say...

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John Mark Comer – The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

I’ve had this book on my shelf for ages, and having read it, I really wish I’d picked it up so much earlier (at the start of lockdown, but ideally way before that), as it has taught me so much about myself. Just a heads up (I finished writing and had to come back to add this), this review feels a bit more like therapy than an actual review, but I just had to write about how much I personally connected to this book, so feel free to...

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David Runcorn – Love Means Love

An insightful and clear unpicking of the ‘issue’ of same-sex marriage that has caused (and continues to cause) friction in the church. It’s a divisive issue and one that is probably not talked about enough because of the potential for upset. This book unpicks the common objections for same sex relationships and gay marriage and thoroughly and overwhelmingly shows you why these objections are not biblical in...

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Healthy Faith and the Coronavirus

I was so impressed with how quickly this book was released when Coronavirus first hit and we all went into lockdown. I’m not so impressed with how long it’s taken me to read it, but that’s entirely my fault and not a reflection of the book! As you would guess from the title, the book talks us through how to correlate our faith with the coronavirus pandemic in a healthy way, when the atmosphere around is is the complete...

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Ben Lindsay – We Need To Talk About Race

I picked this book up to educate myself as Black Lives Matter came to a more global stage in the last few weeks. I always thought that I was a good person, that I wasn’t racist, but I realised that may not be true. And even if it is true, it’s not enough. I needed to learn more about black experiences, so that I could be part of the solution and not part of the problem. What I realised through reading this book, is that I have...

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Graham B. Usher – The Way Under Our Feet

This book felt like it was perfectly aimed at me, tying together two of my favourite things, faith and walking. I’ve got into walking a lot this year, but I never really considered that walking has a spiritual side (apart from giving me time to listen to podcast sermons while I’m out and about). In this book, we start off with a chapter titled ‘Movement’, describing how walking works, the mechanics of it and how it...

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Madeleine Davies – Lights for the Path

I received this book as an advance reading copy from NetGalley, and I’m so glad I requested it. I only wish that this book had been around for me a few years ago. Although aimed primarily at teenagers who have experienced loss, I think this book is valuable for any age range, I certainly found it so helpful to think about the ways I’ve been experiencing and ‘dealing with’ my grief over the last few years, and I think...

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