Today marks the start of our Summer Sale, with some substantial reductions across SCM Press until 16th September. Here are just a few representative highlights.
In Creaturely Theology an impressive array of contributors show that theological reflection on non-human animals and related issues are an important though hitherto neglected part of the agenda of Christian theology and related disciplines. The book offers a genuine interdisciplinary conversation between theologians, philosophers and scientists and continues to be a standard text on the theology of non-human animals.
Contributors include Esther D. Reed, Rachel Muers, Stephen Clark, Neil Messer, Peter Scott, Michael Northcott and Christopher Southgate.
Oliver Davies, described this as a “timely and invaluable guide to approaching these questions from a distinctively theological perspective.”
Wentzel van Huyssteen said “For anyone wondering how to think religiously about animals this paradigm-shifting book will be a serious but exciting challenge…. The carefully selected essays in this book present us with a sophisticated and nuanced broad scope of issues with transversally integrated arguments that will draw in readers from all disciplines and perspectives. I am happy to very strongly recommend this book.”
Creaturely Theology is available at an offer price of £8.00 (usual price £30.00).
If you’re a preacher, the good news, according to The Future of Preaching, is that “Rumours of preaching’s demise may yet prove greatly exaggerated”. The book includes contributions from some of the leading authors in the field, including Ian Paul, Leslie Francis and Roger Standing. Here’s an extract, taken from Geoffrey Stevenson’s introductory essay.
What is the future of preaching? More pointedly, as many have asked, is there a future for preaching? I will not here rehearse the well-known tropes from harbingers of doom. Instead, consider what Dean Inge observed, not about preaching but about human nature: ‘Any hopefulness for the future of civilization is based on the reasonable expectation that humanity is still only beginning its course.’ This encourages me to ask, what if, far from fading away under the harsh light of European secularism, Christianity is still only beginning her course? What if she returns, as she has time and time again, to the resurrection form of her Lord? Would a resurrection in preaching be far behind? As Richard Lischer observed, ‘most every reform movement in the church whether Franciscan, Dominican, Lollard, Brethren, Lutheran, Presbyterian, or Methodist, has meant not only a revival of preaching but a re-forming of its method of presentation’ (2002, p. xvi). Rumours of preaching’s demise may yet prove greatly exaggerated.
But who would be so foolish as to try to predict the future of preaching? Almost every form as practised in British churches today – from the three- to four-minute homily before Mass to the 50- to 60-minute thematic or expository sermon – is located in a culturally specific ecclesial context. Very few practices can claim an unbroken lineage of rhetorical form and liturgical meaning that goes back more than a couple of hundred years. Shifts happen over time. Not only do theologies but also fashion and sensibilities change, sometimes gradually, sometimes abruptly. You have to ask, will the preaching of our digitally immersed younger generations migrate online, becoming a welter of tweets and text messages launched into the ‘blogosphere’? And can that still be called preaching? Time will tell. But preaching isn’t standing still.
As indicated by many of the contributors to the book, there are historical givens, without which whatever is being done with words in an act of worship or evangelism can no longer be called preaching. There are also new insights and understandings about the preaching act that result from theology being done afresh in our time and culture. This can result in tension and uncertainty. Tension can of course be enormously creative, and uncertainty is not always a bad thing for a pilgrim people. It also gives a real provisionality to predictions and prescriptions. At base, however, a discussion about the future of preaching is implicitly an invitation to engage in preaching that is ‘forward-looking’ even while it acknowledges its roots and respects its heritage. Taken together, I think the contributors to The Future of Preaching strongly assert that forward-looking preaching will hang on to three things (there may be more). It will engage faithfully with the Bible, it will engage directly with its listeners, and it will engage prophetically with the world.
The Future of Preaching is available at the sale price of £5.00 (usually £16.99).
Walter Brueggemann has been one of the leading voices in Hebrew Bible interpretation for decades; his landmark works in Old Testament theology have inspired and informed a generation of students, scholars, and preachers. In Disruptive Grace he brings his erudition to bear on those practices – prophecy, lament, prayer, faithful imagination, and a holy economics – that alone may usher in a humane and peaceful future for our cities. Carolyn Sharp’s introductions to each section highlight the characteristic themes of Brueggemann’s oeuvre that come to expression in these chapters. The result is more than an encounter with the ever challenging word of Scripture; Disruptive Grace also offers an introduction to the thought of a brilliant, passionate, and incisive interpreter of the Hebrew Bible.
Disruptive Grace is available in the SCM sale for £10 (usual price £25.00)
Advancing Practical Theology which is available during the sale at £20.00 (down from £25.00) seeks to grow the vision of what practical theology is and can be. Eric Stoddart’s volume has proved very popular indeed, and attracted a lot of praise:
“In this refreshing autobiographical engagement of the discipline of Practical Theology, Eric Stoddart calls for a radical, postcolonial, global, justice-seeking and ethically liberative approach to the objectives of the craft based on the notion of critical discipleship. Stoddart practices what he calls for as he reflects critically on his own faith journey, facilitates a small group of ordinary (lay) people’s wrestling with the political issue of Scottish Independence and critically reviews a recent landmark book publication on the discipline. Advancing Practical Theology is a welcome, polemical, international and very readable book that offers pointers for the future of a discipline that having come of age needs to move courageously forward on the path of actually making a difference in the world.” Emmanuel Y. Lartey, L. Bevel Jones III Professor of Pastoral Theology, Care and Counselling
“This is a remarkable book – keen, perceptive, and fiercely honest. Eric Stoddart writes from the depths of lived experience, and with all the particularity of his Scottish ecclesial heritage, to advance a way of doing theology which is resolutely and rigorously practical. Here is an ambitious manifesto for a practical theology which is radically coming of age.” Margaret Whipp, Oxford.
“Eric Stoddart has done the practical theology ‘imagined community’ a great service by recalling us to a radical commitment. Using his personal story and a story of ‘shared praxis’ (the coming independence vote in Scotland), he grounds the understanding of practical theology in a complex network of contexts, experiences and traditions. He challenges the too easy and comfortable world which even practical theologians may inhabit, calling us to a more critical discipleship. This is a book which will set the cat among the pigeons.” Zoe Bennett, Cambridge Theological Federation
“In Advancing Practical Theology, Eric Stoddart beautifully displays his rare talent. He breathes life into the dry bones of methodological discussion through a judicious and deeply engaging use of humour, personal narrative, deft unpacking of complex theories, and highly illuminating case studies. Running through Stoddard’s fascinating forays into the nature and method of the discipline is a crucially important theme: practical theology is not only analysis of practice, but much more fundamentally engagement with what it means to be Christian in interpersonal and socio-political contexts.” Neil Pembroke, Associate Professor of Practical Theology
Also included in the sale is Doug Gay’s Honey from the Lion, a book which, in the light of the Brexit vote and new questions around Scottish independence feels more relevant now than ever. An extract appeared on this blog last month.
There are lots of other great titles available in our sale, across practical ministry, philosophy, and theology – too many for just one blog post. We’ll try and highlight a few more in the coming weeks. And do take a look at the sale page on our website for the full range. The sale ends on Friday 16th September.