Here are a some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:
* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology
Timeless wisdom from a renowned theologian on living well
From the fairy godmother’s pumpkin coach to Herr Drosselmeyer’s nutcracker, godparents have long been associated with good gifts. But in The Character of Virtue theologian and ethicist Stanley Hauerwas offers his real-life godson something far more precious than toys or trinkets—the gift of hard-won wisdom on life and the process of maturing.
In each of sixteen letters—sent on the occasion of Laurence Wells’s baptism and every year thereafter—Hauerwas contemplates a specific virtue and its meaning for a child growing year by year into the Christian faith. Writing on kindness, courage, humility, joy, and more, Hauerwas distills centuries of religious thinking and decades of self-reflection into heartfelt personal epistles that are both timely and timeless.
An introduction by Samuel Wells—Laurence’s father and Hauerwas’s friend—tells the story behind these letters and offers sage insight into what a godparent is and can be.
Diana Butler Bass
The author of the multiple award-winning Grounded and leading trend spotter in contemporary Christianity explores why gratitude is missing as a modern spiritual practice, offers practical suggestions for reclaiming it, and illuminates how the shared practice of gratitude can lead to greater connection with God, our world, and our own souls.
More and more people are finding God beyond the walls of traditional religious institutions, but these seekers often miss the church community itself, including its shared spiritual practices such as gratitude. While four out of five Americans have told pollsters they feel gratitude in their daily lives, cultural commentator and religion expert Diana Butler Bass finds that claim to be at odds with the discontent that permeates modern society.
There is a gap, she argues, between our desire to be grateful and our ability to behave gratefully—a divide that influences our understanding of morality, worship, and institutional religion itself. In Grateful, Bass challenges readers to think about the impact gratitude has in our spiritual lives, and encourages them to make gratitude a “difficult and much-needed spiritual practice for our personal lives and to make a better world.”
Grateful is partially an individual, emotional response to our circumstances, but research has shown that what we often miss is how much more it is a communal, actionable response. Bass examines this more unexpected experience of gratitude, and reveals how people and communities can practice it and thrive, whether or not they are part of a traditional religious community.
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