Five Tearfund staff members share about a book they’ve read recently that has challenged their thinking and prompted them to reflect on the many ways God’s love can be seen in action in our world.
Ben Clarke, First Peoples Supporter Engagement Officer, SA
By Aunty Revd Dr Denise Champion
Aunty Revd Dr Denise Champion’s new book Anaditj (Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, 2021) is a sweeping yet grounded theological journey through landscape, story and time.
As I have travelled in Adnyamathanha country, in and around Ikara (the Flinders Ranges), I have seen how the landscape can be viewed at different scales. Large and small are mixed up as rocks viewed up close resemble the broader landscape and vice versa. This dual sense of scale is reflected in Aunty Denise’s theology and her approach to story and time.
One passage that for me summarises the book is when Aunty Denise is reflecting on some of her friends’ excitement at walking in Jesus’ steps in the Holy Land. She asks: “What would it mean to follow in Jesus’ footsteps here in Australia and on my own Adnyamathanha country?”
Jo Knight, Advocacy Director, VIC
By Hannah Anderson
Hannah Anderson’s Turning of Days: Lessons from Nature, Season, and Spirit (Moody Publishers, 2021) has helped me to slow down and give thanks to God for all creation. God has taken me on a journey over the years to grasp some of his broader plan for the restoration and renewal of all things. This inspires me to a bigger vision and action, but I have learnt that I need to temper my activism with contemplation. God has taught me much through being in creation.
Through a collection of essays with artwork and Scripture, the author transports you to her local Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, guiding you to tune in and notice God’s revelation in nature. Anderson is a beautifully vivid writer, bringing peace and a new way of seeing God at work as you walk with her in her local natural world, season by season.
Phil Lindsay, International Program and Effectiveness Coordinator, WA
You wouldn’t think that investment banking and the life of a monastic priest would have much in common, but Chris Lowney, who is both, points out in Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-year-old Company that Changed the World (Loyola Press, 2003) how the influence of one could answer weaknesses in the other. It comes down to leadership. The hard-nosed, profit-driven, corporate world of banking is confronted by a different worldview, one that Lowney suggests would benefit not just the banking world, but the world in general.
Reflecting on one’s own state of being loved by God leads one to realise that the rest of creation is also loved by God, and therefore our response must be to see it realise its God-given potential. Lowney’s purpose is to teach about leadership. The bigger picture behind it shows God’s own love and vision for the world, and our role in reflecting that in our own actions and engagement in our work, our communities and throughout our lives.
Karen Quast, Executive Assistant to the CEO, VIC
Tim Keller’s Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (Hodder & Stoughton, 2016) explores why people pray, what prayer is, why we as Christians pray, to whom we pray and how we might approach prayer.
The book provides the theory as well as practical steps for prayer while helpfully acknowledging that there is no one “right” way or “special key” to praying. Prayer will look different in different seasons of our lives but, as disciples of Jesus, prayer is (or should be) a fundamental part of our walk with him, and not just as individuals but as a collective.
Praying with others provides us with the beautiful opportunity to expand our understanding of God and helps shine a light on the different aspects of prayer that we might otherwise too easily neglect or overlook.
Gerry Joeng, Digital Marketing Manager, VIC
What are five transformative values every Christian needs in order to be rooted in Jesus, find their purpose and be God’s agent in bringing peace and hope to the world?
The Deeply Formed Life: Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus by Rich Villodas (Waterbrook Press, 2020) answers this important question through five key values: contemplative rhythms, racial justice, interior examination, sexual wholeness and missional presence.
This book will not only help you to be rooted firmly in Jesus, but also to find the balance, focus and meaning you need to live out your faith in a real way – Christians who are not just loving their God, but also moved to action to bring peace and hope to the world.