2021 Faith Based Social Action Christmas and New Year Book Recommendations

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As we approach Christmas and the new year, we have reached out to friends and colleagues to find out what books have resonated with them this year and emboldened them to pursue faith based social action.

Below you can find a selection of books and a link to purchase them.

These books cover a range of perspectives and topics. Blurbs are taken from the publisher descriptions. We hope these recommendations are useful and encourage you and your communities in the call to see faith in action at the heart of in flourishing communities in Cornwall.

Book Recommendations

Ghost Ship: Institutional Racism and the Church of England by A.D.A France-Williams

“The Church is very good at saying all the right things about racial equality. But the reality is that the institution has utterly failed to back up these good intentions with demonstrable efforts to reform. It is a long way from being a place of black flourishing. Through conversation with clergy, lay people and campaigners in the Church of England, AD France-Williams issues a stark warning to the church, demonstrating how black ministers are left to drown in a sea of complacency and collusion. While sticking plaster remedies abound, AD France-Williams argues that what is needed is a wholesale change in structure and mindset. Unflinching in its critique of the church, ‘Ghost Ship’ explores the harrowing stories of institutional racism experienced then and now, within the Church of England.”

Blue Planet, Blue God, The Bible, and the Sea by Meric Srokosz and Rebecca Sally Watson

“The ocean dominates the surface of the earth and is in the pages of the Bible too. The Bible offers a view of the sea and the life it supports which affirms its intrinsic value to God as a good, and indeed essential, part of creation. At the same time, it also speaks perceptively of the sea’s vulnerability to damage and change. The Bible’s focus on the sea raises questions about economics and the interconnectedness of communities, whilst further references to the sea raise questions about our human-centredness and spirituality, and about our fear of chaos and disaster. In a unique collaborative project, the oceanographer Meric Srokosz and the biblical scholar Rebecca Watson not only offer environmental insights on the sea, but also connect the ocean with other key issues of broader concern — spirituality, economics, chaos, and our place in the world.”

Rekindling Democracy by Cormac Russell

“Rekindling Democracy, A Professional’s Guide To Working In Citizen Space, convincingly argues that industrialized countries are suffering through a democratic inversion; where the doctor is assumed to be the primary producer of health; the teacher of education; the police officer of safety, and the politician of democracy. Through just the right blend of storytelling, research and original ideas Russell asserts instead that in a functioning democracy, the role of the professionals ought to be defined as that which happens after the important work of citizens is done. The primary role of the 21st century practitioner therefore is not a deliverer of top-down services, but a precipitator of more active citizenship and community building. And then he goes about showing us how to do so effectively.”

Doing Theology in the New Normal edited by Jione Havea

“Responses to the recent pandemic have been driven by fear, with social distancing and locking down of communities and borders as the most effective tactics. Out of fear and strategies that separate and isolate, emerges what has been described as the “new normal” (which seems to mutate daily). Truly global in scope, with contributors from across the world, this collection revisits four old responses to crises – assure, protest, trick, amend – to explore if/how those might still be relevant and effective and/or how they might be mutated during and after a global pandemic. Together they paint a grounded, earthy, context-focused picture of what it means to do theology in the new normal.”

Finding Abundance in Scarcity by Samuel Wells

“All churches have had to learn to do things differently during closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. None has been more imaginative or inventive than London’s St Martin in the Fields. Through its HeartEdge programmes, it has continued many aspects of its ministry, and developed significant new initiatives and is now a virtual college with an impressively varied programme for practitioners. In this book the St Martin’s team reflects theologically and share its newly found pastoral and practical wisdom in many areas.”

Black, Gay, British, Christian, Queer by Jarel Robinson-Brown

“If the church is ever tempted to think that it has its theology of grace sorted, it need only look at its reception of queer black bodies and it will see a very different story. In this honest, timely and provocative book, Jarel Robinson-Brown argues that there is deeper work to be done if the body of Christ is going to fully accept the bodies of those who are black and gay. A vital call to the Church and the world that Black, Queer, Christian lives matter, this book seeks to remind the Church of those who find themselves beyond its fellowship yet who directly suffer from the perpetual ecclesial terrorism of the Christian community through its speech and its silence.”

The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells

“It is worse, much worse, than you think. The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says it isn’t happening at all, and if your anxiety about it is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. But however sanguine you might be about the proposition that we have ravaged the natural world, which we surely have, it is another thing entirely to consider the possibility that we have only provoked it, engineering first in ignorance and then in denial a climate system that will now go to war with us for many centuries, perhaps until it destroys us. In the meantime, it will remake us, transforming every aspect of the way we live-the planet no longer nurturing a dream of abundance, but a living nightmare.”

Slavery-Free Communities by Dan Pratt

“Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking (MSHT) are global crimes impacting local communities. Vulnerable people are exploited through labour, sex and forced criminality. Churches and Communities are increasingly encountering these victims and survivors, and consequently need to develop more effective engagement. The book will highlight that Churches and Communities are in a unique position to partner towards slavery-free communities. Beginning with the narratives of survivors who experienced three different forms of MSHT, including labour exploitation, sexual exploitation and domestic exploitation, the book then shows how practitioners and theologians respond to these narratives through exploring theologies of suffering, ecology, missiology, restorative justice, trinitarian theology and liberation theology.”

Time to Act: A Resource Book by the Christians in Extinction Rebellion by Jeremy Williams

“Written by members and friends of Christian Climate Action, this stimulating resource book sets out the moral and religious case for joining the struggle against climate change. It reflects on the Christian tradition of non-violent direct action, and offers deeply moving testimonies by those engaged in such protests today, along with powerful sermons, prayers, liturgies and other spiritual resources.”

A Call to Act: Developing a Poverty-Busting Lifestyle by Martin Charlesworth and Natalie Williams

“In recent years churches have rediscovered the centrality of concern about poverty to the gospel of Christ. Yet we can still so easily fall into the trap of adding social action into our lives as an optional extra when convenient, rather than letting the heart of Jesus for justice for those in poverty affect every area of our lives and our discipleship. A practical tool for churches and small groups, and incorporating discussion questions and accompanying videos, A Call to Act demonstrates that, in order to engage with poverty and need, we must re-evaluate our own attitudes and adopt a poverty-busting lifestyle.”

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