The Book of Common Prayer

by Alan Jacobs

 

When his Anglican priest stopped using the Book of Common Prayer in the 1960s, poet W. H. Auden suspected the priest had “gone stark raving mad.” Unfolding the story of how a sixteenth-century manual for devotions became a standard for religious sanity, Jacobs transports readers back to the England of Henry VIII, when Archbishop Thomas Cranmer formulated the Book to unite a religiously fractured country. Readers probe the theological reasons why the first edition, published in 1549, dismayed both traditionalists and evangelicals with its liturgical and doctrinal compromises between Catholic and Reformation orthodoxies. But those readers also watch as the majesty of Cranmer’s prose wins over generations of worshippers, spiritually nourished by its regal cadences and fiercely resistant to those who would revise it. Indeed, the repeated attempts to revise the Book—some successful—occasion tense drama, succinctly recounted here. Likewise chronicled are the international conflicts occasioned as the Book metamorphoses as the global empire Britain builds—then shrinks. This fascinating history, a strong entry in the Lives of Great Religious Books series, exposes the surprisingly taut life of a church-pew volume.

On The Thirty-Nine Articles

by Oliver O'Donovan

The Thirty-Nine Articles, together with the Book of Common Prayer, form the foundation of Anglican theology. Yet there are very few extended treatments of them. Oliver O'Donovan relates the Articles to the exhilarating and troubled century in which they took shape. He also shows how the distinctive insights and values of a past age relate to the demands of today's world. 'What I propose in this case - is not to talk solely about the Articles, but to talk about God, mankind (sic!), and redemption, the central matters of the Christian faith, and to take the Tudor authors with me as companions in discussion. Two voices will be speaking - each raising the questions that Christian faith in his time forces upon him.' Here is a new edition of his book on one of the key texts of Anglican identity by one of the UK's leading theologians. The book has been out of print for some time and there have been repeated calls for a new edition with a new introduction which engages with more recent developments and offers the text to a new generation.

Deep Church Rising

by Andrew Walker and Robin Parry

 

The major cultural changes in Western societies since the Reformation have created a serious challenge for the church. Modernity in particular has been inhospitable to Christian orthodoxy and many have been tempted to reject classical versions of the faith. This has led to a division within churches that Walker and Parry name ''the third schism'' a divide between those who believe and practice the central tenets of Christian tradition and those who do not. The authors have adopted and adapted C. S. Lewis' phrase ''deep church'' to highlight the necessity of remembering our past in order to recover historic Christian orthodoxy. This book is a call to deep church, to remember our future, to make a half-turn back to premodernity; not in order to repeat or relive the past, but in order to draw on its rich yet often-forgotten resources for the here and now.

Community and Growth

by Jean Vanier

 

Contemporary society is the product of the disintegration of more or less natural or familial groupings. People are afraid, uncertain and shut themselves away. But they need companions, friends with whom they can share their lives, their visions and their ideals; in short, they need community.

 

This completely revised edition of Community and Growth is your guide to communal life. Written by the founder of the world-famous l'Arche community for the mentally handicapped and their helpers, Jean Vanier offers a series of "starting-points for reflection" on the nature and meaning of community.

The Luminous Dusk

by Dale C. Allison, Jr.

 

For millennia humans knew the stars as well as we know our own backyards. Yet today many if not most of us have lost vital connections with our natural world, and so have in many ways lost our sense of wonder. In the thoughtful, genre-bending nonfiction tradition of Wendell Berry and Walker Percy, Dale Allison explores the loss of wonder in Western society. Mining insights from sources as diverse as ancient creation myths and contemporary children's books, he highlights our ongoing disconnect from the cosmos, tracing its undeniable spiritual and philosophical impact. The Luminous Dusk is an elegant, lyrical call to seek the stillness of God in our clamorous world.

Desiring the Kingdom

by James K.A. Smith

 

Malls, stadiums, and universities are actually liturgical structures that influence and shape our thoughts and affections. Humans-as Augustine noted-are "desiring agents," full of longings and passions; in brief, we are what we love. James K. A. Smith focuses on the themes of liturgy and desire in Desiring the Kingdom, the first book in what will be a three-volume set on the theology of culture. He redirects our yearnings to focus on the greatest good: God. Ultimately, Smith seeks to re-vision education through the process and practice of worship. Students of philosophy, theology, worldview, and culture will welcome Desiring the Kingdom, as will those involved in ministry and other interested readers.

Imagining the Kingdom

by James K.A. Smith

 

How does worship work? How exactly does liturgical formation shape us? What are the dynamics of such transformation? In the second of James K. A. Smith's three-volume theology of culture, the author expands and deepens the analysis of cultural liturgies and Christian worship he developed in his well-received Desiring the Kingdom. He helps us understand and appreciate the bodily basis of habit formation and how liturgical formation--both "secular" and Christian--affects our fundamental orientation to the world. Worship "works" by leveraging our bodies to transform our imagination, and it does this through stories we understand on a register that is closer to body than mind. This has critical implications for how we think about Christian formation.

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