Living life at the top: 100 reflections on abundant life, by Paul Clark

Living Life at the Top (Paul Clark)

Abundant life … is it possible in 21st century Australia? Have you ever asked yourself, ‘Is this all there is to living? Could we get more out of life?’ These questions form the basis for this little book that has grown out of 60 second radio spots originally broadcast live on 96.5FM, a Christian radio station in Queensland.

The book retains the 60 second script format so each page contains a different topic. On first glance this is frustrating because you want to go deeper to find what the author thinks of the topics included; topics such as pain, anger, science and religion, self-esteem, family life, criticism, parents and love but none of the topics is unpacked for us. It is designed for deeper unpacking elsewhere, either alone or with a friend, or in a group over a coffee. It is designed for us to reflect on our own context through personal reflection or conversation with others. As such, this little book may seem light-on but the short messages stick with you so that you reflect on them through each day.Continue Reading

Community is Messy: The perils and promise of small group ministry, by Heather Zempel

Community is Messy  (Heather Zempel)The potential for small groups to facilitate spiritual growth has long been recognised. We find references to the early church meeting in the homes of believers and small groups known as ‘class meetings’ were a key in the Methodist movement promoted by John Wesley. In many congregations small groups supplement the work and witness of the gathered church.

For Heather Zempel, small groups are essential for promoting Christian community. Readers should not expect, however, to find guidance in this book on how to do it. Rather, the writer uses her experience to draw attention to the challenges and problems of small groups.Continue Reading

Cards, Carols and Claus: Christmas in popular culture and progressive Christianity, by Rex A E Hunt

Cards, Carols and ClausIn his latest book, (released in time for Christmas) Rex A E Hunt, a retired Uniting Church minister suggests the festival called Christmas is a celebration still “under construction”. He describes it as “a weaving of story, myth, customs and ritual, which since its inception has been debated, ignored, celebrated, banned and from the mid 1800s, reinvented”. Continue Reading

The Good Life: What makes a life worth living? by Hugh Mackay

The Good LifeIn his introductory chapter Hugh Mackay looks at the Utopia complex being sold to us by business, the media and general societal pressure. He suggests that the pursuit of  happiness can actually make you miserable. We seem to think that happiness is our default position whereas often we grow through pain. Wholeness can involve the whole range of emotions and  experiences. Continue Reading