Living His Story: Revealing the extraordinary love of God in ordinary ways: The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2021 Reflections on the Psalms The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief Hearing God in Poetry: Fifty Poems for Lent and Easter Reforesting Faith: What Trees Teach Us about the Nature of God and His Love for Us The Sign and the Sacrifice Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World
Apologia Pro Vita Sua Lessons in Leadership: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude That Makes the Difference The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning John Henry Newman: A Very Brief History Pursuing God's Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups Justice for Christ's Sake: A Personal Journey Around Justice Through the Eyes of Faith
Reflections for Lent 2022: 2 March - 16 April 2022 Embracing Justice: The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2022 The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters The 1662 Book of Common Prayer: International Edition Callings: Twenty Centuries of Christian Wisdom on Vocation Meister Eckhart's Book of the Heart: Meditations for the Restless Soul Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times
Financial Management for Episcopal Parishes: Revised Edition Reflections for Lent 2022: 2 March - 16 April 2022 The Flemings of Fleming Island: An Historic Florida Family Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence The Sign and the Sacrifice Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. Justice for Christ's Sake: A Personal Journey Around Justice Through the Eyes of Faith

Bishop's Institute Recommendations

By St. John's Cathedral Bookstore & Gift Shop

By St. John's Cathedral Bookstore & Gift Shop
The Sign and the Sacrifice

The Sign and the Sacrifice

Rowan Williams

$17.00 $15.81

Recommended in Books for Lent 2022 in January 2022 Bishop's Institute Newsletter

Reflections for Lent 2022: 2 March - 16 April 2022

Reflections for Lent 2022: 2 March - 16 April 2022

Philip North, Christopher Herbert, et al.

$7.99 $7.43

Recommended in Books for Lent 2022 in January 2022 Bishop's Institute Newsletter

Justice for Christ's Sake: A Personal Journey Around Justice Through the Eyes of Faith

Justice for Christ's Sake: A Personal Journey Around Justice Through the Eyes of Faith

James Jones

$31.99

Recommended in Books for Lent 2022 in January 2022 Bishop's Institute Newsletter

Embracing Justice: The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2022

Embracing Justice: The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2022

Isabelle Hamley

$26.99

Recommended in Books for Lent 2022 in January 2022 Bishop's Institute Newsletter

Hearing God in Poetry: Fifty Poems for Lent and Easter

Hearing God in Poetry: Fifty Poems for Lent and Easter

Richard Harries

$23.99

Recommended in Books for Lent 2022 in January 2022 Bishop's Institute Newsletter

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer: International Edition

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer: International Edition

$30.00 $27.90

Reviewed in May 2021 Bishop's Institute Newsletter. "The April edition of this Newsletter contained a review of a new book by Samuel L. Bray called Anglicanism: A Reformed Catholic Tradition. At the time we included it I had no idea Professor Bray was also bringing out this very fine new edition of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. On a visit to Savannah earlier this month a friend presented me with a copy of it. Since then I have made the book a present to a number of other people. The promotional material for this new international edition tells us what we need to know about why it was deemed worthy of producing: The Book of Common Prayer 1662 is one of the most beloved liturgical tracts in the Christian church, and remains a definitive expression of Anglican identity today. It is still widely used around the world, in public worship and private devotion, and is revered both for both its linguistic and theological virtues. In order to continue to attract new readers to the treasures of this prayer book, the editors have made judicious (and gentle) updates: State prayers of England have been replaced with prayers that can be used regardless of nation or polity; obscure words and phrases have been modestly revised, but always with a view towards preserving the book’s own cadence and a selection of treasured prayers from later Anglican tradition has been appended. This edition has received some very fine positive reviews by theologians, liturgists and others including this one from the distinguished church historian Diarmaid MacCulloch: The Book of Common Prayer has kept its place at the center of Anglican identity in a remarkable way, considering the long and kaleidoscopic history of the churches that use it. This latest presentation of its riches is, like the original, marked by judicious common sense, but also by a sure instinct for how its many virtues can elegantly be augmented by the practice of later centuries. It is to be welcomed as a gift to Anglicans worldwide: not a trophy of antique display but a practical framework for everyday worship."

Apologia Pro Vita Sua

Apologia Pro Vita Sua

John Newman

$22.00 $20.46

Recommended as a "Rector's Pick" in the November 2019 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by the Rev. Cn. Dr. Douglas Dupree. "If ever you have been moved to read anything by John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890) the eminent Victorian theologian, spiritual writer and poet, now might be a good time to do so. Newman was canonized by Pope Francis on October 13th, 2019 during an open-air mass in St Peter’s Square. Newman’s life was marked by two conversions. The first one came as a young boy of fifteen and under the influence of what we would call the Evangelical movement in the Church of England and also that of John Wesley’s preaching and teaching at the start of the 19th century. Of his boyhood conversion to Christ, Newman wrote in his great spiritual autobiography, the Apologia Pro Vita Sua, (1864): When I was fifteen a great change of thought took place in me. I felt under the influence of a definite Creed. . . I believed that the inward conversion of which I was conscious. . . would last into the next life, and that I was elected to eternal glory. . . The first part of Newman’s life centered in Oxford where he won a scholarship to Trinity College at age 16 and where he was elected a tutorial fellow at Oriel College at 21. He was ordained in the Church of England and was Vicar of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford. He served that distinguished church for 15 years. In 1845 Newman experienced his second conversion: parting with his friends and Oxford and being received into the Roman Catholic Church. On the occasion of Newman’s canonization last month, HRH Prince Charles wrote an article for L’Osservatore Romano in which he gives thanks for Newman’s gift to both the Anglican and the Roman Catholic churches and to the world. He wrote: In the age when he lived, Newman stood for the life of the spirit against the forces that would debase human dignity and human destiny. In the age in which he attains sainthood, his example is needed more than ever – for the manner in which, at his best, he could advocate without accusation, could disagree without disrespect and, perhaps most of all, could see differences as places of encounter rather than exclusion."

The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters

The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters

Priya Parker

$17.00 $15.81

Reviewed in June 2020 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by Dale Beaman, MPH, PCC, Executive Coach and Leadership Development Expert and a member of our Diocesan family. "The Covid-19 pandemic and social unrest in the world continues to weigh heavy on our hearts and minds. Who would have imagined that we would need to ask, do I need to wear a mask in public? How do I safely grocery shop? What is Zoom? And now, we find ourselves faced with the heart-wrenching unjust death of George Floyd which has ignited a call for the end of racism in America and around the world. The hope of change can begin by holding purposeful conversations so that we can better understand ourselves and others. Leading these types of engaging conversations in our church and the community helps shift the way we think, how we feel and what we do. Real change comes through seeing through a new lens that enables us to change our minds and hearts.A timely and valuable resource to help leaders create connection and hold meaningful conversations is the acclaimed book, The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters, by Priya Parker. Parker works across the globe to help individuals and organizations create transformative gatherings (virtually and in-person while six feet apart). Gatherings — which she defines as the conscious bringing together of people for a reason — are an essential human activity. The reasons we gather are as varied as we are, says Parker. “We gather to solve problems we can’t solve on our own. We gather to celebrate, to mourn, and to mark transitions. We gather to make decisions. We gather because we need one another. We gather to show strength.” This book inspires me because it is a brilliant guide that teaches us how to keep conversations real, look inward and make connection. She emphasizes that having a clear purpose is critical to these sessions and talks. Parker’s intentional advice about how to spark your gathering provides fundamentals that will help leaders, hosts and anyone who wants to organize purpose-driven, memorable collective experiences. Creating safe spaces for brave conversations can build community, mutuality, and justice. All in the spirit of making it a better world now and for generations to come. Reflections: Who do you want to bring together virtually or in-person (six feet apart) to have a meaningful conversation that can create change? What would be the purpose of the conversation? What is the outcome you want to result from the conversation? (new attitude, belief, behavior, or movement?) What could be the greatest impact of this conversation?"

Callings: Twenty Centuries of Christian Wisdom on Vocation

Callings: Twenty Centuries of Christian Wisdom on Vocation

$33.99 $31.61

Recommended as a "Rector's Pick" in the October 2019 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by the Rev. Cn. Dr. Douglas Dupree. "As a college chaplain of many years, one of the top questions I was repeatedly asked by students was ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ This collection of writings, that ranges across the ages from callings in the early Church 100- 500 AD through our sometimes called ‘Post-Christian World’, is a treasury of reflections on vocation from Ignatius of Antioch to John Henry Newman and Karl Barth. Here is a perfect ‘go-to’ gift for godchildren, ordinands and for young people being launched in the world. I am grateful to Doug Walker, the Bishop’s Deputy for Advancement & Stewardship for introducing me to this excellent resource."

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Brené Brown

$28.00 $26.04

Recommended by Jacksonville leadership consultant and coach Dale Beaman in May 2019 Bishop's Institute Newsletter. "I have a new favorite book by Dr. Brene Brown called 'Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts, 2018.' Readers may know that Brene Brown has become well known, particularly for her TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability (one of the top five most viewed TED talks)."

Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World

Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World

Tom Holland

$18.99 $17.66

Reviewed in March 2020 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by the Rev. Cn. Dr. Douglas Dupree. "The keynote speaker at the Spring Clergy Conference at Camp Weed February 27-28 was David Zahl, author of Seculocity, a thought provoking look at contemporary society through the lens of the Gospel. I was surprised, and very pleased, that David Zahl ended his final talk by informing us that he had scheduled the very fine historian of the ancient world, Tom Holland, to speak at an upcoming conference he would be hosting in New York. Zahl had read Holland’s latest book Dominion and as I am in the middle of it, I was delighted to find someone else enjoying it so much as well. Before coming to write about Christianity as the single most enduring influence on the shaping of the West, Tom Holland had penned a goodly number of distinguished (and highly readable) histories of ancient Greece and her war with Persia; the Roman Empire; the origins of Islam; the Middle Ages and Anglo-Saxon England. Dominion tells the story of how Christianity shocked and shook the ancient world and how it is yet the most compelling worldview shaping our contemporary life whether we be believers, agnostics or atheists. Holland himself probably belongs to the middle of those categories. A predominant attraction of the book, to my mind, is that Holland does not attempt to present a straightforward chronological narration of the history of the Christian Church. Rather, he selects aspects or ‘currents’ of Christian influence that have spread most widely and that have been enduring into the present day. One of these, charity or almsgiving, is the subject of chapter five. I was amazed to learn how the general understanding and theology of almsgiving and supporting the poor and vulnerable in society evolved and shifted emphasis in the early Church. Holland’s book opens with the most vivid scene and description of the impression the death of Jesus made on the imagination of the Roman world--- that a form of death the Romans utilized for rebellious slaves and so hideous that they refrained even from writing about it—would become the emblem not only of ‘suffering and shame’ but an emblem of redemption in which one might glory."

Financial Management for Episcopal Parishes: Revised Edition

Financial Management for Episcopal Parishes: Revised Edition

James B. Jordan

$40.65

Reviewed in August 2021 Bishop's Institute Newsletter. "Earlier this summer, by invitation of the Canon to the Ordinary, Allison DeFoor, the Diocesan Office enjoyed a very informative visit from James B. Jordan who is a CPA and educator who has helped many Diocesan and parochial groups to set up policies and procedures for the better management of their donations and assets. He is the author of the book that we are happy to recommend this month to lay and clergy lay leaders in the Diocese. " From the back cover: Financial Management for Episcopal Parishes defines the roles of the clergy, staff, vestry, and congregation in the establishment of a transparent and functioning set of processes that any church can implement to protect its donations and assets. Throughout the book are real life examples of processes and procedures that did and did not work and why—and the simple steps that can be taken to create a manageable system of checks and balances.

The Flemings of Fleming Island: An Historic Florida Family

The Flemings of Fleming Island: An Historic Florida Family

Scott Ritchie

$19.95

Reviewed in November 2019 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by Owene Courtney, St. John's Cathedral. "In 1968 my family moved to northeast Florida and settled in a remote section of Clay County seven miles south of Orange Park. It was so remote that a phone call to the nearest town was considered long distance! There were only three houses on our street, and we were surrounded by woods and the St. Johns River. There was a creek beside our house, and we built a bridge so we could walk across it into what became a childhood paradise full of trails and paths, horses, an old church, remnants of houses and even an old Model A. Through the woods, there was one big house and a swimming pool where we later discovered an old woman named Honey lived. Honey had a sister named Dorit, who her grandchildren called Oma, and another sister named “Miz Biddle.” Best of all, these lovely ladies had wonderful grandsons who came from up north during their spring break. They had names like Frederic and George, and they knew how to get the Model A out of the old garage, and we often rode around the dirt roads in it. My friend Cindy lived in a house with a paddock, and she had three horses which we could ride whenever we wanted to. So between the Model A and the horses, the dirt roads and trails, and the old church with a big bell and a spooky cemetery, my brothers and sisters and I thought we had found nirvana! And that was my introduction to Hibernia and the Flemings of Fleming Island! It is my great joy to review this beautiful book by my longtime friend Scott Ritchie about a family that has been like royalty to my family for many years. Scott has taken the Fleming family histories, some true and some not so true, and researched and studied them carefully, producing a superb story of the origins of Fleming Island and the great family that founded it. This book reads like a blend between Where the Crawdads Sing and Killer Angels, with detail about the Fleming men’s involvement in the various wars just as precise and full of data as his description about the flora and fauna and wildlife and the land that was Hibernia. In the book, you will meet Dorit and Honey and Miz Biddle mentioned above, granddaughters of Margaret Seton Fleming and the original Frederics and Georges for whom the “northern boys” were named. Scott’s wife Margot was also a Fleming, thus his attention to detail and accuracy in order to tell the family story! As Scott said when asked about the book, “I learned that we cannot accept long-standing oral histories at face value! The true stories are far more interesting.” Scott writes like the educator he is, with clarity and accuracy, and he is unabashedly honest about the fallacies of many of the Fleming family myths. He also deals honestly and delicately with the subject of slavery and the harsh truths about the Fleming family’s slaves. Though they were well treated and eventually freed, they were owned as property which Scott makes sure the reader understands. Many of the descendants of those slaves were still living in Hibernia in the 60’s and 70’s including Margaret Frazier whose interview with Scott is one of his sources. The story that is true that the family has always told is that St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church was built by Margaret Seton Fleming and others in 1877, and the first service in it was her funeral in April 1878. So many of us here in the Diocese of Florida have been a part in some way of that beautiful church, from those of a certain generation who went to Camp Weed when it was located there, to those of us who grew up worshiping there. Today it sits rather lonely on Old Church Road with the cemetery behind it where so many of the Fleming relatives and winter visitors are buried. Clay County has grown up around it with highways and housing developments. It does not have an active parish at this time, but it is opened frequently for funerals and weddings for people who knew and loved it. There is a touch of holiness in the air as you approach it, reminding me of the words of Miz Biddle in the prologue to her book about Hibernia: “May we have peace in the world as there is peace today on this tiny debonair Island.” Hibernia: The Unreturning Tide If you read this book carefully and fall in love with the story and the people as I did all those years ago, you must treat yourself to a visit to St. Margaret’s, and do as Scott says at the end of his book, “Park the car and take a walk through the cemetery...Sit quietly for a while and take in the sights, the scents, the sounds and the feel of this sacred ground.”

The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning

The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning

Jonathan Sacks

$18.00 $16.74

Reviewed in December 2020 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by the Rev. Cn. Dr. Douglas Dupree. "The Anglican Communion was distracted and divided in debate throughout the first decade of this century following the consecration of the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson. The debate reached its zenith in the summer of 2008 at the Lambeth Conference, the decennial assembly of some 650 Anglican bishops from 185 countries representing 85 million members. Dr Rowan Williams made a wise and constructive decision to invite Rabbi Jonathan Sacks to speak to the Lambeth Conference about covenant, and how the concept was applied to Judaism. Sacks told the assembled bishops: “A covenant is a way of holding together two or many millions of individuals who may be very different indeed, but who come together to achieve together that which they could not achieve alone," Rabbi Sacks explained. "And a covenant respects the difference, and integrity of that difference, of the different parties to that covenant. … The words of an outsider gave many the words they needed to think a little more clearly about how their household of faith might continue to live and work together. Dr. Williams is quoted as saying he thought the talk “did a great deal to give a common language to a very diverse group of Christian leaders." One of his obituary writers identifies Sacks’ unique gift that endeared him and the 33 books he wrote to many religious teachers and preachers within Judaism and in Christianity as well: He was prodigiously talented in two areas that only rarely come together. He had a trained and sharply honed philosophical mind, and he com­­bined this with superb powers of story­telling and popular communication. As for the Rector’s book picks for December I can do no better than to recommend you read something by Jonathan Sacks if you have not yet been introduced to him. Here are some that I would put at the top of the list: Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times (hardcover) September 1, 2020. The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning (paperback) Sep 2, 2014. Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence (paperback), 2017. To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility (paperback) Feb 6, 2007. Lessons in Leadership: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible (paperback) Aug 20, 2015."

I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude That Makes the Difference

I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude That Makes the Difference

Thom S. Rainer

$12.99 $12.08

Recommended as a "Rector's Pick" in the October 2019 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by the Rev. Cn. Dr. Douglas Dupree. "Some of you are familiar with Thom Rainer the respected pastor with LifeWay Christian Resources. It wasn’t until a friend attending a new member’s class at her church shared this book with me. It is the perfect answer to my prayer, ‘Lord, how can I share what I think is really important about the Christian fellowship we call a church with a newcomer?’ It says it all clearly, concisely and persuasively. I think it is a useful tool for evangelism."

John Henry Newman: A Very Brief History

John Henry Newman: A Very Brief History

Eamon Duffy

$18.99

Recommended as a "Rector's Pick" in the November 2019 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by the Rev. Cn. Dr. Douglas Dupree. "If ever you have been moved to read anything by John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890) the eminent Victorian theologian, spiritual writer and poet, now might be a good time to do so. Newman was canonized by Pope Francis on October 13th, 2019 during an open-air mass in St Peter’s Square. Newman’s life was marked by two conversions. The first one came as a young boy of fifteen and under the influence of what we would call the Evangelical movement in the Church of England and also that of John Wesley’s preaching and teaching at the start of the 19th century. Of his boyhood conversion to Christ, Newman wrote in his great spiritual autobiography, the Apologia Pro Vita Sua, (1864): When I was fifteen a great change of thought took place in me. I felt under the influence of a definite Creed. . . I believed that the inward conversion of which I was conscious. . . would last into the next life, and that I was elected to eternal glory. . . The first part of Newman’s life centered in Oxford where he won a scholarship to Trinity College at age 16 and where he was elected a tutorial fellow at Oriel College at 21. He was ordained in the Church of England and was Vicar of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford. He served that distinguished church for 15 years. In 1845 Newman experienced his second conversion: parting with his friends and Oxford and being received into the Roman Catholic Church. On the occasion of Newman’s canonization last month, HRH Prince Charles wrote an article for L’Osservatore Romano in which he gives thanks for Newman’s gift to both the Anglican and the Roman Catholic churches and to the world. He wrote: In the age when he lived, Newman stood for the life of the spirit against the forces that would debase human dignity and human destiny. In the age in which he attains sainthood, his example is needed more than ever – for the manner in which, at his best, he could advocate without accusation, could disagree without disrespect and, perhaps most of all, could see differences as places of encounter rather than exclusion. [Duffy is a distinguished historian of the Reformation. He is also a good introduction to Newman amidst a sea of Newman studies more often hagiography than history.]

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

Francis S. Collins

$18.00 $16.74

Reviewed in August 2019 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by the Rev. Cn. Dr. Douglas Dupree. "I am always thankful when a friend whose observations and opinions I trust recommends with enthusiasm a book he or she has enjoyed reading. Just recently, Barnum McCarty, the senior priest of the Diocese, recommended to me a book by the distinguished scientist and Christian apologist Francis Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, paperback, 2007. The book, in turn, was recommended to Canon McCarty by his friend and primary care physician who had read it with equal enthusiasm. Francis Collins is no ordinary research scientist. Collins helped to discover the genetic ‘misspellings’ that cause cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease, and a rare form of premature aging called progeria. A pioneer gene hunter, he led the Human Genome Project from 1993 until 2008. More recently he has been the Director of the National Institutes of Health, Bethsaida, Maryland. He was the founder and first director of BioLogos, an organization whose purpose is to ‘invite the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith’. In 2009 Pope Benedict XVI Collins to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences."

Lessons in Leadership: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible

Lessons in Leadership: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible

Jonathan Sacks

$24.95 $23.20

Reviewed in December 2020 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by the Rev. Cn. Dr. Douglas Dupree. "The Anglican Communion was distracted and divided in debate throughout the first decade of this century following the consecration of the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson. The debate reached its zenith in the summer of 2008 at the Lambeth Conference, the decennial assembly of some 650 Anglican bishops from 185 countries representing 85 million members. Dr Rowan Williams made a wise and constructive decision to invite Rabbi Jonathan Sacks to speak to the Lambeth Conference about covenant, and how the concept was applied to Judaism. Sacks told the assembled bishops: “A covenant is a way of holding together two or many millions of individuals who may be very different indeed, but who come together to achieve together that which they could not achieve alone," Rabbi Sacks explained. "And a covenant respects the difference, and integrity of that difference, of the different parties to that covenant. … The words of an outsider gave many the words they needed to think a little more clearly about how their household of faith might continue to live and work together. Dr. Williams is quoted as saying he thought the talk “did a great deal to give a common language to a very diverse group of Christian leaders." One of his obituary writers identifies Sacks’ unique gift that endeared him and the 33 books he wrote to many religious teachers and preachers within Judaism and in Christianity as well: He was prodigiously talented in two areas that only rarely come together. He had a trained and sharply honed philosophical mind, and he com­­bined this with superb powers of story­telling and popular communication. As for the Rector’s book picks for December I can do no better than to recommend you read something by Jonathan Sacks if you have not yet been introduced to him. Here are some that I would put at the top of the list: Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times (hardcover) September 1, 2020. The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning (paperback) Sep 2, 2014. Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence (paperback), 2017. To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility (paperback) Feb 6, 2007. Lessons in Leadership: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible (paperback) Aug 20, 2015."

Living His Story: Revealing the extraordinary love of God in ordinary ways: The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2021

Living His Story: Revealing the extraordinary love of God in ordinary ways: The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2021

Hannah Steele

$18.99

Reviewed in March 2021 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by Rev. Canon Jerry Smith, Rector of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, Tallahassee. "In the unfolding story of God we witness the ruthless love of the Father calling us back to relationship with Himself. From immediately after the expulsion from the garden (read intimacy with the Creator), God’s initiative has been to see us back enjoying this same healthy, fulfilling bond. Of course, we understand that Christ came to make the otherwise impossible, possible. His announcement that “the Kingdom of God has come near” is clearly the ultimate act of God reaching out and making, what we lost due to sin, now attainable. Forgiveness and reconciliation with the Creator, the ultimate goal of God, is now ours in Christ! But the story of God didn’t end with the resurrection of Jesus, nor did it end in the last chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. We recognize that God is still at work calling creation back to Himself and the church’s primary task is to be the hands and mouth of God, completing this task. The church is the story of God today and Hannah Steele’s book, Living His Story is a fresh take on how we are to be partnering with God making the story clear to a new generation. The Archbishop of Canterbury has challenged the church to study this book together this Lenten season to help us understand that the implications of this task. “…(God) has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us (the church). So we are ambassadors for Christ since is making his appeal through us.” (2 Cor 5:19,20) Steele has made this mission understandable and breaks down the nature of the story of Jesus in a way that is accessible for most of us. If we find the idea of evangelism off-putting, Steele makes it as simple and implies that our lives can be as much a part of the story of God as those of the biblical icons. God is in the transformation business and our friends and colleagues want to know how our lives have changed since becoming part of the ongoing story of God. For those interested in using this book as a parish study there are extra materials including free summary videos and discussion questions available online."

Meister Eckhart's Book of the Heart: Meditations for the Restless Soul

Meister Eckhart's Book of the Heart: Meditations for the Restless Soul

Mark S. Burrows and Jon M. Sweeney

$16.95 $15.76

Recommended in May 2019 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by the Rev. Cn. Dr. Douglas Dupree. "Eckhart (1260-1328) was a German theologian, philosopher and mystic who has lest an enduring and ever-fresh and relevant legacy to Christians down through the ages. You may call his name to mind by remembering one of his often-cited observations: “If the only prayer you say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough”. I call this book unique because the compilers extract small gems embedded in Eckhart’s writings and recast them in simple prose poems that leave a lasting imprint on one’s spirit."

Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times

Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times

Jonathan Sacks

$30.00 $27.90

Reviewed in December 2020 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by the Rev. Cn. Dr. Douglas Dupree. "The Anglican Communion was distracted and divided in debate throughout the first decade of this century following the consecration of the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson. The debate reached its zenith in the summer of 2008 at the Lambeth Conference, the decennial assembly of some 650 Anglican bishops from 185 countries representing 85 million members. Dr Rowan Williams made a wise and constructive decision to invite Rabbi Jonathan Sacks to speak to the Lambeth Conference about covenant, and how the concept was applied to Judaism. Sacks told the assembled bishops: “A covenant is a way of holding together two or many millions of individuals who may be very different indeed, but who come together to achieve together that which they could not achieve alone," Rabbi Sacks explained. "And a covenant respects the difference, and integrity of that difference, of the different parties to that covenant. … The words of an outsider gave many the words they needed to think a little more clearly about how their household of faith might continue to live and work together. Dr. Williams is quoted as saying he thought the talk “did a great deal to give a common language to a very diverse group of Christian leaders." One of his obituary writers identifies Sacks’ unique gift that endeared him and the 33 books he wrote to many religious teachers and preachers within Judaism and in Christianity as well: He was prodigiously talented in two areas that only rarely come together. He had a trained and sharply honed philosophical mind, and he com­­bined this with superb powers of story­telling and popular communication. As for the Rector’s book picks for December I can do no better than to recommend you read something by Jonathan Sacks if you have not yet been introduced to him. Here are some that I would put at the top of the list: Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times (hardcover) September 1, 2020. The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning (paperback) Sep 2, 2014. Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence (paperback), 2017. To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility (paperback) Feb 6, 2007. Lessons in Leadership: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible (paperback) Aug 20, 2015."

Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence

Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence

Jonathan Sacks

$17.95 $16.69

Reviewed in December 2020 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by the Rev. Cn. Dr. Douglas Dupree. "The Anglican Communion was distracted and divided in debate throughout the first decade of this century following the consecration of the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson. The debate reached its zenith in the summer of 2008 at the Lambeth Conference, the decennial assembly of some 650 Anglican bishops from 185 countries representing 85 million members. Dr Rowan Williams made a wise and constructive decision to invite Rabbi Jonathan Sacks to speak to the Lambeth Conference about covenant, and how the concept was applied to Judaism. Sacks told the assembled bishops: “A covenant is a way of holding together two or many millions of individuals who may be very different indeed, but who come together to achieve together that which they could not achieve alone," Rabbi Sacks explained. "And a covenant respects the difference, and integrity of that difference, of the different parties to that covenant. … The words of an outsider gave many the words they needed to think a little more clearly about how their household of faith might continue to live and work together. Dr. Williams is quoted as saying he thought the talk “did a great deal to give a common language to a very diverse group of Christian leaders." One of his obituary writers identifies Sacks’ unique gift that endeared him and the 33 books he wrote to many religious teachers and preachers within Judaism and in Christianity as well: He was prodigiously talented in two areas that only rarely come together. He had a trained and sharply honed philosophical mind, and he com­­bined this with superb powers of story­telling and popular communication. As for the Rector’s book picks for December I can do no better than to recommend you read something by Jonathan Sacks if you have not yet been introduced to him. Here are some that I would put at the top of the list: Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times (hardcover) September 1, 2020. The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning (paperback) Sep 2, 2014. Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence (paperback), 2017. To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility (paperback) Feb 6, 2007. Lessons in Leadership: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible (paperback) Aug 20, 2015."

Pursuing God's Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups

Pursuing God's Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups

Ruth Haley Barton

$26.00 $24.18

Reviewed in July 2020 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by Rev. Canon Jerry Smith, Rector of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, Tallahassee. "In the introduction to her book Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups Ruth Haley Barton unnerves the reader with these words; This approach to leadership presents unique challenges because it requires us to move beyond reliance on human thinking and strategizing to a place of deep listening and response to the Spirit of God within and among us (p. 11). This of course requires us to be living in a paradigm that includes the active presence of a Living God who actually longs to commune with us and share with us His plan for His bride. It also presupposes that all of the leadership team (read vestry in our case) subscribe to the theology that God’s goal includes our personal transformation AND that leaders themselves are actively pursuing this end by engaging in the necessary disciplines that will make them available to both hear and obey the God they serve. The first two chapters of this book paint the picture of God’s goal as identified in scripture and then concludes (for the leadership team of a parish): if everyone in the group is experienced in the spiritual discipline described here and practicing them regularly, go on the chapter three. If some aren’t, determine which disciplines the group needs to understand and practice more consistently, then plan to go and get on the same page… (p. 48) before moving on as a group. She argues later: The presence of even one person who doesn’t get it or who actively resists—no matter how gifted he or she is might be in other ways—can negatively affect the group’s ability to function well as a spiritual community (p. 79). The pastor who is also a people pleaser may find this difficult but when Jesus said ‘woe to you when all speak well of you’ he was more probably speaking to the awkwardness of attempting to authentically follow God’s direction among other religious folk than among a culture that could not care any less about spiritual things. Barton has written many other equally challenging yet inspiring books in the genre of spiritual transformation. It seems that the longing of her ministry is to witness the church become the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12 (you will need to go back and read that yourself). She writes: when a leadership group starts making decisions in this fashion (utilizing the biblical disciplines she outlines in this book) the stress of making major decisions subsides. Our joy in community and confidence in God’s intimate presence increases dramatically (p. 227). It has been my experience that it never gets better than when you are partnered with leaders who share the longing to be in the place God wants them. This is not magic. It is not a program that was developed by a successful church that you want to be like. It is not anything less than learning to become the people God actually wants us to be in our little corner of the vineyard. The ascension challenge of Jesus was to go and be His witness in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8) but the real challenge is for us to begin to understand what that means in Tallahassee, Mayo, Jacksonville and High Springs. How do we BE God’s people growing as effective witnesses that reflect the love and mercy of God to people in our part of this broken world? I would encourage you to pick up a copy of Barton’s book, it may just change the way you engage in ministry."

Reflections on the Psalms

Reflections on the Psalms

C S Lewis

$13.99 $13.01

Rector's Summer Book Pick in June 2019 Bishop's Institute Newsletter. "Firstly, if you want a general introduction to the Psalms choosing a book as a focus for study and meditation, you can do no better than to stick with one of these contemporary classics, all still in print. Lewis wrote a very fine little book entitled Reflections on the Psalms, originally published in 1958. There is a particularly beautiful passage in chapter 5 of Reflections on the Psalms by Lewis that helps develop his theme of that chapter on the Psalms inviting us into the presence of God and of beholding ‘the fair beauty of the Lord."

Reforesting Faith: What Trees Teach Us about the Nature of God and His Love for Us

Reforesting Faith: What Trees Teach Us about the Nature of God and His Love for Us

Matthew Sleeth

$16.00 $14.88

Reviewed in October 2019 Bishop's Institute Newsletter by the Rev. Cn. Dr. Douglas Dupree. "In regard to personal testimony, there are some striking similarities between the author Matthew Sleeth of Reforesting Faith and the physician-geneticist Francis Collins who discovered the genes associated with a number of diseases and whose book, The Language of God, we reviewed here in August. Each of these distinguished authors won places to study science and medicine in spite of an unconventional earlier education; each was brought up in a home where religion was absent; each was touched or haunted by patients asking them what they believed and each was converted from atheism to faith in Jesus Christ. Matthew Sleeth suffered from dyslexia as a boy but his perseverance along the way to become a doctor resulted in offers from three medical schools. Graduation from medical school, early promotion, a happy marriage, beautiful children and a firm faith in the future of science established a solid foundation upon which to keep building his gifted future. And then, suddenly, in 2001, ‘life stopped flowing from one good thing to another’. First, on the family’s annual beach escape, his wife Nancy’s brother was swimming in the ocean when he was pulled down by an undertow and drowned. Sleeth’s children witnessed it happening. Nancy became seriously depressed. About the same time a mentally ill patient stalked Sleeth and was stopped only when police discovered the patient had murdered his mother and hid her body in a closet. Finally, there came the clear September morning when Sleeth got a call from his neighbor. Her son was the same age as the Sleeth children. The neighbor was calling to ask for help telling her son that his father was in the first plane that crashed into the Twin Towers. Sleeth discovered ‘the harder I tried to pull things together, the more our lives unraveled. The darkness would not lift. My supply of optimism ran dry . . . for the first time I woke up to the fact that evil exists in the world’. Sleeth made the deduction that evil is not a scientific concept; it does not lend itself to measurement. It is a spiritual concept. Up until that point, he writes, ‘I had faith only in things that could be qualified, tested and reproduced. I didn’t believe in God. If someone had pressed me about God’s existence, I would have pointed to television preachers caught in scandals or the church trial of Galileo.’ If a patient asked him about his faith, he would reply, ‘I believe in the healing power of third-generation antibiotics’. But science was failing him. He began a spiritual search tackling sacred texts right and left. Then one Sunday on duty at the hospital, in an idle moment, he picked up a Bible he found in the midst of all the magazines littering a coffee table in the waiting room. He had never read one. There were thousands of books in his home, but no Bible. Here is what he found in the Bible: I started reading the book of Matthew. Within a few pages I was presented not with answers but with the Bible’s great question: “What say you of Jesus?” Right away I recognized that Jesus was unlike any person I’d ever met. He was both more human and more godly than anyone I’d known. Although my coming to faith was a process—more like Peter’s than Paul’s—it soon began transforming every area of my life. By this point in the review, if you are moved by Matthew Sleeth’s testimony (as I was), you might rightly ask, “where do the trees come into this story?” Matthew Sleeth simply loved nature and trees from an early age with a passion. This love affair with trees was happening in his life as an atheist and continued as foundational in his newly found Christian life. Not long before his conversion, on a holiday on an island off the southwest coast of Florida, sitting outdoors in the night, after the children were tucked into bed, Nancy turned to him and asked, ‘What do you think is the biggest problem on the earth?” Her question came out of nowhere but after thinking for a moment he replied, ‘The world is dying. There aren’t any Elms left on Elm Street . . . I don’t think humanity can do business as usual for the next hundred years and expect that things are going to turn out all right.’ He had no immediate answer to Nancy’s follow-up question: ‘If the world is dying, what are you going to do about it?’ An answer did come two years following his conversion to Christianity. When the answer came he told his wife he wanted to quit his job as chief of staff and head of the emergency department and spend the rest of his life serving God and helping to save the planet. And so Matthew’s present journey began with selling the family’s home, giving away half of their possessions, and moving to a house the size of their former garage. It also involved starting to go to a church where the congregation became like family and where they remain to this day. Since that life changing decision, Matthew Sleeth has travelled the country attending more than 1,000 events, campuses and churches with the message that the Bible calls us to be good stewards of the earth. Matthew Sleeth’s book is a personal testimony that vividly conveys the warm spirit of a loving God and one man’s desire to preach God’s love of our planet and especially the trees that literally are our breath of life here on earth. It is also full of wholesome theology, suggestive Scriptural passages and splendid anecdotes. Read Reforesting Faith and you will be looking around your backyard or garden for a spot to plant a tree."