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Jonathan Bugden
Jim Currin
Stephen Need
Mandy Briars
Paul Whittall
Paul Chandler, Chief Executive, Traidcraft
Revd Bill Snelson, General Secretary, Churches Together in England
David Adam
Revd Elizabeth Welch
Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham
Roy Williamson
Wendy Craig
Jonathan Edwards
Canon David Rhodes

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Guest Recommendations...

Jonathan Bugden

Jonathan Bugden
Review: 'The Barbarian Way - Unleash the Untamed Faith Within' by Erwin Raphael McManus

Jonathan Bugden is the Chairman of the Board of the Christian Booksellers Convention.

The Barbarian Way - Unleash the Untamed Faith Within by Erwin Raphael McManus:

When you have read Christian books all your life, it is unusual to still find one that brings you to a screeching halt, but that's what happened to me recently. I read The Barbarian Way. Is following Jesus meant to be safe, slick and trouble-free or unpredictable and dangerous? Why have we chosen to make our faith and life so spiritually civilised (even sanitised) when Jesus calls us to follow him into a radical way of life? There is a resonance for me in this book with what was meant to be, a connection to a passion and zeal that has waned with time.
Why is so much 'head-knowledge' not translated into 'lifestyle'?
What really matters?
Why is it easier to settle for what is comfortable when true fulfilment lies in abandonment to God's agenda for our lives?
The author issues the challenge to get back to powerful, raw and simple faith that chooses revolution over compromise, peril over safety and passion over lukewarm and diluted Christianity. Rediscover, of maybe discover for the first time, the adventure Jesus intended our life to be. Be led into, and consumed by the presence of a passionate and compassionate God. Read this book but only if you are willing to be honest with yourself!

Jonathan Bugden

The Barbarian Way
'The Barbarian Way - Unleash the Untamed Faith Within'
Author - Erwin Raphael McManus

Hardback (2005)
Price: £10.99

Nelson Books
ISBN: 978-0-785-26432-3

Captain Jim Currin, CA

Captain Jim Currin, CA
Review: 'The Way of Paradox' by Cyprian Smith

Jim Currin was commissioned in the Church Army in 1979 and served in Manchester and Milton Keynes before joining the CA College Staff to teach Evangelism Studies. He then led the CA double-decker bus project in Cumbria, before becoming the Diocesan Officer for Evangelism, during the Decade of Evangelism. Since then he has been an area Operations Manager for the Church Army and now he works full time for Churches Together in England with the brief for mission and evangelism. When not riding his motorbike or sailing his boat he occasionally appears as Capo the Clown. He has written How to Develop a Strategy for Mission for Grove books, and now Paradox in the Gospel?

The Way of Paradox by Cyprian Smith:

I have always thought that my life was something of a paradox and so when the word caught my eye on the spine of a book in the bargain box of the SPCK bookshop in Sheffield I bought the book. It was a book that caused me to say to several friends, 'This is the most exciting book on theology I have ever read!'

Now reprinted by DLT this amazing commentary on the teaching of Meister Eckhart is full of helpful observation by the Benedictine monk who wrote it: Dom Cyprian Smith OSB. I wrote to ask if I could go and see him at Ampleforth but he declined saying that he wrote 'not knowing where the ripples would go'. In my case they have gone far and wide. Not only did I take it as a base text for my MA Dissertation, but I have now just submitted a script to Grove books to start a conversation on the question 'Paradox in the Gospel?' I hope the ripples continue.
So rather than me tell you how good I think the book is, let me just quote a paragraph from it, and let you see what you think yourself. The choice could have been from any page.

'When we form the faulty concept of Jesus, and therefore of ourselves, we shall always find, if we look into the matter closely, that the fault lies in our failure to come to terms with the essentially paradoxical nature of the truth. It is very hard to face the fact of being who is both divine and human, spiritual and material, mortal and immortal. The temptation is always to simplify the picture, to get rid of the painful paradox by suppressing one of its components. A being who is wholly spiritual and divine will not be troubled by the humiliating worldly facts of suffering, weakness and death. A being who belongs entirely in this world can cheerfully get on with the task of improving his material environment without being distracted by irrelevant and disquieting thought about the ‘beyond’. To accept both elements of the paradox, to recognize their truth, and to attempt to live them, is difficult and uncomfortable. It is not a task for the lazy, the complacent, the fanatical or the opinionated. It is however, the only way to truth and life'.
(p75 of the 1998 reprint).

Jim Currin

The Way of Paradox
'The Way of Paradox'
Author - Cyprian Smith

Paperback (2004)
Price: £8.95

Darton,Longman & Todd Ltd
ISBN: 0-802-82805-1

Stephen Need

Dr. Stephen Need
Review: 'The Uttermost Part of the Earth. A Guide to Places in the Bible' by Richard R. Losch

Dr. Stephen W. Need is Dean of St. George's College Jerusalem, a centre in the Holy Land for fieldwork study and reflection. It offers short courses throughout the year in the Holy Land, Egypt, Greece and Turkey. Dr. Need has led groups across the Middle East for many years and has taught New Testament Studies and Early Christianity in Chichester, Southampton and Jerusalem. He lives with his wife Jill at St. George's College in Jerusalem.

The Uttermost Part of the Earth. A Guide to Places in the Bible by Richard R. Losch:

Living in the Holy Land is an exciting experience and there are plenty of opportunities to travel to the places that are known from the Bible. I always enjoy reading guidebooks and travel writing and there are lots of them around. On courses at St. George's College I am regularly engaged in helping people to come to a greater appreciation of the history of the places in the Holy Land and to learn something of their significance.

This book by Richard R. Losch is a great introduction to the places of the Bible. It not only deals with the places in Israel but also takes the reader through quite a few sites in Greece, Turkey and further afield. The book is a dictionary-type work in which you can look up the places alphabetically. Places from the Old Testament are included as well as those from the New. Among the Old Testament sites are: Armageddon, Babylon and Beersheba; Carchemish, Gibeon and Nineveh. On the New Testament side there are: Corinth, Philippi, Thessaloniki; Ephesus, Tarsus and Galatia; Galilee, Qumran, and Magdala among many others. The more obvious places like Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem are also included. There are other important cities from the history of Christianity too, such as Alexandria and Antioch. Each entry gives a solid but readable outline of the history of the place concerned and the book opens with 'A Brief History of the Holy Land'. There are black and white photographs of some of the places and some useful maps for orientation.

This is not a guide book as such but will certainly help travellers to understand the history of the places they visit and make their time in them much more valuable and enjoyable. I strongly recommend it.

Stephen Need

The Uttermost Part of the Earth. A Guide to Places in the Bible
'The Uttermost Part of the Earth. A Guide to Places in the Bible'
Author - Richard R. Losch

Paperback (2005)
Price: £9.99

ISBN: 0-802-82805-1

Mandy Briars

Mandy Briars
Review: 'The Best Is Yet To Come' by Greg Laurie

Mandy Briars is the Operations Manager for the Christian Resources Exhibitions (CRE). Mandy is a member of a Baptist church in Aylesbury and is part of the leadership team for homegroups. Together with her husband, Steve, she has co-authored the book 'Homegroups: The Authentic Guide'

The Best Is Yet To Come by Greg Laurie is a small book with a big message about faith for today and hope for the future. Written in an easy to read style the author reassures us that nothing is too large or too insignificant for Christ to care about. Drawing upon the first two miracles of Jesus, the turning of water into wine and the healing of the government officer's son, Laurie skilfully weaves together biblical truth with true-life stories and illustrations that you will identify with.

This is a book of hope and encouragement, a reminder to keep looking forward and not back, as the best is yet to come. Laurie's writing is profound dealing with the everyday issues that so many of us wrestle with, fear, worry, or simply wondering where all the years have gone. For all of us life has its moments of joy and sorrow but if we have placed our faith in Christ then as Christians we have something far better to look forward to.

The Best Is Yet To Come is a delightful coffee-table book that you will enjoy reading yourself but will also want to pass on to others.

Mandy Briars

The Best Is Yet To Come - Faith for Today, Hope for the Future
'The Best Is Yet To Come - Faith for Today, Hope for the Future'
Author - Greg Laurie

Hardback (2005)
Price: £7.99

ISBN: 1-590-52332-6

Phil Whittall

Phil Whittall
Review: 'Indelible Ink' compiled by Scott Larsen

Phil Whittall leads North Shrewsbury Community Church ( He is a director of a Christian bookshop in Shrewsbury ( and is editor of Christian Marketplace ( He is married to Emma.

This book just happens to be the last book I've read but it's a great book for people like me that love books, in fact by reading I've discovered a new word 'narcolibric' (print addicted) that describes my condition!

This is a book about the books that have inspired the people whose books have inspired us so we have contributions from John Stott, Joni Eareckson Tada, Josh McDowell and Ravi Zacharias among others explaining which books has shaped their life and thought. Although there is a definite American bias to the contributors the authors they cite have a very British feel with CS Lewis featuring heavily alongside Shakespeare, JC Ryle, TS Eliot and others.

There is a thoughtfulness about this that makes you think 'yes I thought that too' or even 'Ah I get it now' because they have put words to your feelings about books you know and love. Of course there are many books here I haven't read but now I want to read them and to let their words seep into my soul and feed my mind.

This is a reference book of inspiration while being an enjoyable read in and of itself! The insights into the inner workings of the authors I read and respect offers me insight, reflection and new horizons on all my future reading.

Phil Whittall

Indelible Ink
'Indelible Ink'
ed. Scott Larsen

Price: £8.99
ISBN: 1 85345 358 7

Paul Chandler

Paul Chandler,
Chief Executive of Traidcraft

Review: 'Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger' by Ronald Sider

Paul Chandler is chief executive of Traidcraft, the UK's leading fair trade organisation, and lives near Durham with his wife, Sarah, and three daughters. From 1992-2001 he was General Secretary of SPCK, and before that worked for Barclays Bank.

Warning: this book could change your life! Since it first appeared in 1977, it has challenged and inspired many Christians to review their lifestyles and priorities.

Ronald Sider sets out hard-hitting facts about world poverty, with statistics updated for recent editions, but combines this with clear Biblical exposition on God's special concern for the poor. He argues that Christian teaching compels each of us to accept responsibility for our conscious or unconscious participation in unjust trading systems, and urges us to repentance. He calls on us to consider adopting simpler and more environmentally friendly lifestyles, to increase our charitable giving, and to campaign to make the world a more just place.

Reading this book is likely to make you feel uncomfortable about the extent to which you are reflecting the gospel message in your own life. It is a call to radical discipleship. In this year of the Make Poverty History campaign, 'Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger' should be required reading for all Christians, challenging them to engage more fully in the fight against poverty.

Paul Chandler

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger
'Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger'
Ronald Sider

Out of print: 2003
Price: Currently only available Second hand
Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 0-340-69446-7

Bill Snelson pictured with the author Rowena Loverance

The Revd Bill Snelson,
General Secretary, Churches Together in England

Review: 'The British Museum Christ'

Bill Snelson served in various Church of England parishes in and around Leeds before becoming County Ecumenical Officer for West Yorkshire in 1993. He has been General Secretary of Churches Together in England since 1997.

Rowena Loverance shared the Presidency of Churches Together in England with Archbishop Carey, Cardinal Hume, and Baroness Richardson over the four years which spanned the turn of the millennium. It made for some memorable conversations. A Quaker of broad ecumenical and inter-faith sympathies, Rowena's witness has been in the work-place of the British Museum and the world of education and academia.

This beautiful book uses some of the treasures of the British Museum to trace the key events of Jesus' life and the main elements of his teachings, as revealed through the New Testament and foreshadowed in the Old. It is written in faith from faith, and assumes very little knowledge of the Christian story in the reader. So it is a piece of Christian mission on the edge, a great example of grasping the opportunity to explain and expound the Christian faith to thinking, exploring adults whose interest and indeed wonder may have been evoked by the artefacts described.

A book by a lay person, from lay experience, and for lay people, "Christ" is well-researched, thoughtful and stimulating - stimulating in particular in raising for me how I communicate the faith in non-technical, non-churchy language and forms.
"Christ" fulfils two major criteria for me:
  • Would I be embarrassed if I left it on a train and others picked it up and read it? No, I wouldn't.

  • Would I happily give it to those among my own family and friends who are sceptical about the Christian faith? Yes, I would; and I will.
The Revd Bill Snelson

The British Museum Christ
'The British Museum Christ'
Rowena Loverance

Price: £9.99
British Museum Press
ISBN: 0-714-15015-0

David Adam

David Adam

David Adam was born in Alnwick, Northumberland. When he left school at 15 he went to work underground in the mines for three years before training for the ministry. He was Vicar of Danby in North Yorkshire for over twenty years, where he discovered the gift of writing prayers in the Celtic pattern. His first book of these, Edge of Glory, achieved immediate popularity. He has since published several collections of prayers and meditations based on the Celtic tradition.

His books have been translated into various languages, including Finnish and German and have appeared in American editions. He was made a Canon of York Minster in 1989.

Recently he retired from Holy Island, where he was the Vicar for 13 years. On the Island he took many retreats and regularly taught Pilgrim groups and school groups on prayer and the Celtic saints. During his ministry there he met over a million worshippers and seekers. He has broadcast on television and radio as well as producing CD's. His other interest is folklore, telling local tales including the stories of St Aidan and St Cuthbert. He now continues this work and his writing from Waren Mill in Northumberland.
By The Rev'd Canon David Adam...

First published in 1937 and although re-published, again Out of Print with limited availability.

It will reveal to you prayers of the people. These prayers have a feeling of the open air and the salt sea, of labour and of travel, of the home and family life. This is folk prayer at its best.

When I first came across this book I felt it liberated me to be more 'earthy' in my prayers and to be at home with God in my home. What excited me was the sheer delight in the world and in worldly images. It was like going into a lost world - a world that we had lost - where God was close and real. This was once part of our rich heritage that we have exchanged for trivial pursuits and watching the television. To turn back to God who is found among the ordinary could enrich us indeed.

The God of this book is there in the 'dark happens of our lot' as well as the good times: a God who will enable us to walk in a path of light no matter how cheerless the day. Above all this is a book to encourage you to pray in your own words and with images that belong to the world in which you live: to approach God through the earth and its happenings for God loves the world.

David Adam.

Hebridean Altars by Alistair Maclean
Hebridean Altars
Alistair Maclean

Hodder & Stoughton

Elizabeth Welch Revd Elizabeth Welch

The Revd Elizabeth Welch is Moderator of the West Midlands Synod of the United Recformed Church, and from July 2001 until July 2002 served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church alongside her present position. Elizabeth was ordained in 1976 and has served in an ecumenical role throughout her ministry; locally, nationally and internationally. She is co-author of Travelling together: a handbook on local ecumenical partnerships and has also written various articles on ecumenism and management.

I am interested in the way in which people search for spirituality, but don’t necessarily look to the Christian faith for help on their journey. I know that I can get caught up in a busy lifestyle, in which it does not feel as if there’s enough time for prayer and reflection.

Travelling Light by Daniel O Leary gives ‘breathers’ for each day of a month. These are short reflections on the spiritual life, followed by a practical suggestion for taking the reflection forward. O Leary reminds me that on my journey to wholeness, God is already seeking me.
O Leary writes from his experience of pain and struggle as well as from a well-spring of joy and freedom. He helps me to see God in the ordinary things of life and to learn to let go of those things which keep me back from coming closer to God, whether these are negative drives from inside myself or the pressures from outside myself.

I am happy to recommend this book to those who are seeking moments of rest and reflection in the midst of a busy daily round. These ‘ breathers’ give space for breathing in the life-giving Holy Spirit.

By Revd Elizabeth Welch

Travelling Light
Travelling Light
Daniel O Leary
1-85607-319- X

Vincent Nichols - Archbishop of Birmingham

Vincent Nichols was ordained Priest in 1969. After work in parish ministry, sixth form college chaplaincy and Adult Catechesis in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, he was appointed General Secretary of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales. He worked extensively with Cardinal Hume in London, before being ordained Bishop in 1992 and serving as Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster. He became Archbishop of Birmingham in the year 2000.

The book that I would like to recommend is Tears at Night , Joy at Dawn. Andrew was a third year student at Oscott College in Sutton Coldfield, in the Midlands. He was a normal, likeable and talented young man who had already accomplished much, but had very much more to do, when around the age of 30 he was diagnosed with cancer. We are all asked to consider our ‘calling’ whatever our chosen path. We will all have known someone who has struggled with an illness, perhaps questioning their faith.

This book combines the themes of ‘vocation’ and ‘embracing illness’ in a moving and uplifting way that has already touched those considering a religious vocation and those suffering with cancer. Andrew Robinson lived an ordinary life but, as the diary testifies, died a holy and faith-filled death , leaving us this ‘treasure’. In reading it, you will come to know in a very real way the sentiments of the psalmist: At night there are tears, but joy comes with dawn.

Title - Tears at Night, Joy at Dawn – Journal of a Dying Seminarian
Author: Andrew Robinson
Price: £5.99
Publisher: Alive Publishing
ISBN: 0-954-03352-3

Roy Williamson

Roy Williamson was Bishop of Bradford and Bishop of Southwark, and is now well-known for his regular slot on Radio 2's Pause for Thought with Terry Wogan. He is author of several books including Joyful Uncertainty, Open Return and Not Least in the Kingdom (all published by Triangle).

The books I find most memorable are those which warm my heart, stretch my mind and inspire my service towards others. Knowing Jesus falls very firmly within that category.

The title at first suggested an uneventful and slightly boring journey through familiar territory. Instead, it proved to be the most stimulating and thought provoking book I have read in years. It certainly took me to familiar territory, namely, the Resurrection of Jesus, but then proceeded to explode my categories of thought in a host of different areas in both church and society. I found myself spontaneously and openly praising God as I read it.

Alison is clearly excited by the gospel. He brings a freshness and persuasiveness to his presentation of the Risen Crucified Christ that is hard to resist. He made me ask new questions about my faith, but it was always worth it. Indeed, there were moments when I felt that I was discovering Jesus for the first time.

I keep returning to the book for Alison has helped, and continues to help, me to know Jesus better.

The Rt. Revd. Bishop Roy Williamson

Knowing Jesus
James Alison

Price: £7.99
Publisher: SPCK
ISBN: 0-281-05222-0

Wendy Craig

My life is so busy these days. It seems that as I become older I'm working harder than ever. Consequently reading, which I love, has to be done in snatches - on a train, in my dressing room between scenes, at the table when I'm eating alone. That's just one of the reasons why I love Eddie Askew's books.

He takes a passage from the Bible, meditates on it, and follows on with an appropriate prayer in the form of a poem. Each chapter is short and easy to read.

These reflections are deeply satisfying, comforting and inspiring, and Eddie has illustrated them with his own beautiful water colours and sketches.

Eddie's faith is deep and he is able to councel and guide other Christians through his gifted writing and painting. He joined The Leprosy Mission and served in India for fifteen years before becoming International Director of the Mission's world wide operations, so he has vast experience of Christian service from which to draw.

All his books have been a blessing to me but one of my favourites is "Slower than Butterflies". The passages were originally written for "Thought for the Day" on BBC Radio Nottingham. In our busy lives Eddie asks us to step aside for a few minutes each day, look around, and pause for thought.

Wendy Craig.

Slower Than Butterflies
(Thoughts For The Day)
Eddie Askey

Price: £4.25
Publisher: The Leprosy Mission
ISBN: 0-902-73139-4

Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards is perhaps one of our most respected and loved athletes. His prowess on the track is well documented. Jonathan is a shining example of a true Christian, living his life in the glare of the spotlight, but never failing to stand up for his beliefs. His success at the Sydney Olympics was applauded by all and this paperback edition of his bestselling autobiography includes new chapters on the Sydney Olympics.

By Jonathan Edwards Olympic Champion...

One of the books I have found most helpful as a believer is: 'Balancing the Christian Life' by Dr. Charles C. Ryrie.

I have read a lot of his work, and have always been impressed by his ability to present biblical truth in a clear and accessible manner. This particular book aims to encourage believers towards spiritual maturity, and is an inspiring and challenging mixture of biblical teaching and practical application.

Dr. Ryrie is forthright in his views, and these will not always be met with universal approval. Nevertheless, it is refreshing to experience such conviction in the present-day climate of ambiguity! My personal copy comes complete with study guide, and provides an excellent resource for either individual or group study.

I have no hesitation in recommending it.

With warmest regards,

Jonathan Edwards

Balancing the Christian Life
Dr. Charles C. Ryrie

Price: £7.50
Publisher: Moody Press
ISBN: 0-802-40887-7

Canon David Rhodes

Canon David Rhodes is based at Holy Trinity Church, Boar Lane Leeds. He is well known for his care in the community. He is a former national newspaper journalist, and has written a number of books, notably 'Faith in Dark Places', 'The Advent Adventure, and 'Lenten Adventure'.

By David Rhodes...

One of the few really great people in the world today is Nelson Mandela. My favourite book would be, without doubt, his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom. Although this is not a religious book in the normal meaning of that term, it seems to me to embody the love of God in the passionate struggle for life and freedom for the people of South Africa. Mandela's amazing generosity of spirit as he emerged from a quarter of a century of imprisonment speaks powerfully to me of the way in which God forgives our own sins. Similarly, his commitment to a new order of justice and mutual respect for blacks and whites is a modern parable which gives a stunning immediacy to Our Lord's own commitment to bring good news to the poor and liberty to the captives. A great book.

Long Walk to Freedom

Price: £10.99
Publisher: Abacus
ISBN: 0-349-10653-3

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