As the end of 2022 draws near, we highlight some of the most important theology books released this year…
Although some of these theology books will appear on our Advent calendar of 2022’s Best Books (and no, we won’t reveal here which ones will be on that list), we won’t say that these are the 15 BEST theology books — just that they are important ones that should be widely read and discussed…
We feature our theology book of the year first, and after that the remaining book are in alphabetical order by the author/editor’s last name….
*** What one book would you add to this list?
Two Books by Andrew Root:
Churches and the Crisis of Decline:
Congregations often seek to combat the crisis of decline by using innovation to produce new resources. But leading practical theologian Andrew Root shows that the church’s crisis is not in the loss of resources; it’s in the loss of life–and that life can only return when we remain open to God’s encountering presence.
This book addresses the practical form the church must take in a secular age. Root uses two stories to frame the book: one about a church whose building becomes a pub and the other about Karl Barth. Root argues that Barth should be understood as a pastor with a deep practical theology that can help church leaders today.
Churches and the Crisis of Decline pushes the church to be a waiting community that recognizes that the only way for it to find life is to stop seeing the church as the star of its own story. Instead of resisting decline, congregations must remain open to divine action. Root offers a rich vision for the church’s future that moves away from an obsession with relevance and resources and toward the living God.
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The Church after Innovation:
Churches and their leaders have innovation fever. Innovation seems exciting–a way to enliven tired institutions, embrace creativity, and be proactive–and is a superstar of the business world. But this focus on innovation may be caused by an obsession with contemporary relevance, creativity, and entrepreneurship that inflates the self, lacks theological depth, and promises burnout.
In this follow-up to Churches and the Crisis of Decline,leading practical theologian Andrew Root delves into the problems of innovation. He explores where innovation and entrepreneurship came from, shows how they break into church circles, and counters the “new imaginations” like neoliberalism and technology that hold the church captive to modernity. Root reveals the moral visions of the self that innovation and entrepreneurship deliver–they are dependent on workers (and consumers) being obsessed with their selves, which leads to significant faith-formation issues. This focus on innovation also causes us to think we need to be singularly unique instead of made alive in Christ. Root offers a return to mysticism and the poetry of Meister Eckhart as a healthier spiritual alternative.
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