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Reform Magazine | May 27, 2024

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You have to read this - Reform Magazine

You have to read this

There’s nothing like sitting in the summer sun, with a glass of the local brew and a good book. Well, I’m afraid there’s not much we can do about the weather, and you’re on your own as far as the drink’s concerned, but Reform can certainly help you find a good book. We asked friends and family of the magazine to recommend a summer read that will have an impact on your life. So read on…


Parker-Palmer_Let-your-life-speakLet Your Life Speak: Listening for the voice of vocation
Parker J Palmer
Jossey-Bass, 1999

At a time when we need to listen carefully to what God is saying to us as individuals and as a church community, this book gives us the space to think deeply and to respond faithfully. Palmer moves us beyond anxiety so that we might live into our vocation as ministers and disciples.


David Grosch-Miller is moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly 2014-2016



Friday-GospelsThe Friday Gospels
Jenn Ashworth
Sceptre, 2013

Since this novel came out in 2013, I’ve
already read it twice. Capturing a single day, we are taken tantalisingly through the taut threads of a single Mormon family. The shocking end
is an oddly joyous and perfect conclusion in the midst of raw chaos. Fabulous.


Elizabeth Gray-King is the United Reformed Church education and learning programme officer



Sacred-EconomicsSacred Economics: Money, gift and society in the age
 of transition
Charles Eisenstein
Evolver Editions, 2011

This book invites readers to reimagine our relationship with money, or rather the impact of money on our relationships. Current economic practice turns money into an object of separation, whereas gift economies – the ones in which we were meant to live – invite reunion. This book heals.


Gareth Higgins is a film reviewer
 for Reform

gods-presenceGod’s Presence: A contemporary recapitulation of early Christianity
Frances Young
Cambridge University Press, 2013

The summation of a lifetime’s study of early Christianity by a Methodist theologian who integrates her scholarship with her vocations as preacher, mother of severely-disabled Arthur and poet. Scholarship, sermons, and poetry blend together to produce a book that is full of wisdom, ecumenical, beautifully written and radiating God’s presence.


David Cornick is general secretary of Churches Together in England



muhammadMuhammad: His character and conduct
Adil Salahi
Islamic Foundation, 2013

This easy-to-read biography presents the life of the Prophet from the formative years to his last day on earth. In our troubled world, the book is a must – for Muslims and non-Muslims – to understand his character and how the Prophet conducted himself in good and in troubled times.


Anjum Anwar is dialogue development officer for Blackburn Cathedral



paradise-lostParadise Lost: Smyrna 1922: The destruction of Islam’s city of tolerance
Giles Milton
Sceptre, 2008

The destruction of the city of Smyrna in 1922 by Turkish troops, which led to the separation of the Christian and Muslim populations between Greece and Turkey, marked the last moments of close to 2,000 years of Christian presence in Asia Minor. The forgotten story of Smyrna deserves to be revisited in our own age of religious enmity, and Giles Milton does it spectacularly well. He writes as an historian with a novelist’s eye for telling detail, and that made Paradise Lost not only an education in religious tolerance, but also a book hard to put down.

Simon Jenkins is editor of and a Reform columnist



meeting-God-in-Mark-FCMeeting God in Mark
Rowan Williams
SPCK, 2014

Mark tells his short story of Jesus as a “regime change” – God is taking over, and it’s happening in Jesus. A world changer and life transformer of a gospel. Williams similarly crams a lifetime of scholarship into 74 incredible, accessible pages. Read them – you won’t be the same.

Lawrence Moore is director of the Windermere Centre



Marilynne Robinson
Virago Press, 2014

I admit; this book isn’t typical summer reading. It’s not light and fluffy; in fact, it’s dark at times, but it’s beautifully written in deceptively simple style, and is a powerful story of personal transformation. The voice (and title) of the book is the wife of an elderly preacher in a fictional US Midwestern town. The book is part of a series but stands confidently on its own.

Charissa King is production and marketing coordinator for Reform



Far-From-the-TreeFar from the Tree: Parents, children and the search
for identity
Andrew Solomon
Scribner, 2012

This book explores the relationship between parents and children who exhibit a markedly different identity. Solomon explores identities including deaf, prodigy and transgender, using over a decade of interviews and his 
extraordinarily inviting style of reportage to draw the reader into an exploration about the complexity and richness at the heart of diversity. I reread this book every year; its process and findings are remarkable.

Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet and leader of the Corrymeela Community

Generous-Justice-coverGenerous Justice: How God’s grace makes us just
Timothy Keller
Hodder & Stoughton, 2010
So often, when it comes to pursuing justice, we get tired or forget why it is we set out in the first place. I found Generous Justice to be both encouraging and challenging.  Grappling with biblical truths, Keller considers our call to both evangelism and social justice.

Andrew Weston is moderator of the Fellowship of United Reformed Youth



unapologeticUnapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity
 can still make surprising emotional sense
Francis Spufford
Faber & Faber, 2013

There aren’t many Christian books you could recommend to an ardent atheist, an interested unbeliever, a new convert and a long-toothed stalwart of the faith, but there’s literally no one I don’t want to read this book. It’s like coming across Christianity for the first time – and being bowled over.

Stephen Tomkins is editor of Reform



This is an extract from the June 2015 edition of Reform.

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