September Bookshelf

September 21, 2021 | Bookshelf

This month we are working on learning and growing as we navigate into the new year. This can mean many different things for everyone. Embrace your own journey and get out there! Discover the varied selection of books below.


(2018, Algonquin Books) By Silas House

Southernmost is a novel about judgment, courage, heartbreak and change. It wrestles with the limits of belief and the infinite ways to love. In the aftermath of a flood that washes away much of a small Tennessee town, evangelical preacher Asher Sharp offers shelter to two gay men. In doing so, he starts to see his life anew—and risks losing everything: his wife, locked into her religious prejudices; his congregation, which shuns Asher after he delivers a passionate sermon in defense of tolerance; and his young son, Justin, caught in the middle of what turns into a bitter custody battle. With no way out but ahead, Asher takes Justin and flees to Key West, where he hopes to find his brother, Luke, whom he’d turned against years ago after Luke came out. And it is there, at the southernmost point of the country, that Asher and Justin discover a new way of thinking about the world, and a new way of understanding love.

Silas House is the author of five novels. His book for middle-grade readers, Same Sun Here, was a finalist for the E. B. White Read-Aloud award. A frequent contributor to the New York Times and a former commentator for NPR’s “All Things Considered,” House is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and is the winner of the Nautilus Award, the Appalachian Writers Association’s Book of the Year and other honors.

Hinge Moments: Making the Most of Life’s Transitions

(2021, IVP) By D. Michael Lindsay

Hinge Moments explores those times when we have an opportunity before us to make a change or to respond to a situation, and the decisions we make―opportunities to open (or close) doors to various pathways of our lives. The book shares faith-based stories of success and failure from the author’s 10-year study of 550 PLATINUM leaders. There are seven phases of transition charted, which provide both practical and spiritual insights for making the most of each stage. In uncertain and tumultuous times, there is no better advantage than wisdom gained early.

Gordon College President D. Michael Lindsay is an award-winning sociologist and educator who is an expert on religion, culture and leadership. Since his inauguration as president of Gordon College in 2011, Dr. Lindsay has introduced several successful leadership mentoring initiatives and expanded the College’s global outreach. Previously, he directed the Program for the Study of Leadership at Rice University, where he served on the faculty. View from the Top, Dr. Lindsay’s second book, is to be released in May 2014. It reports the findings of his 10-year Platinum Study, the largest-ever interview-based study of leaders. His Pulitzer-nominated first book, Faith in the Halls of Power, was listed in Publishers Weekly’s “Best Books of 2007.” His research has been funded through fellowships awarded by the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Academy of Education and the National Science Foundation.

Quietly Courageous: Leading the Church in a Changing World

(2018, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers) By Gil Rendle

The changing dynamics of contemporary church life are well-known, but what’s less well-known is how leaders can work most effectively in this new context. In Quietly Courageous, esteemed minister and congregational consultant Gil Rendle offers practical guidance to leaders—both lay and ordained—on leading churches today. Rendle encourages leaders to stop focusing on the past and instead focus relentlessly on their mission and purpose—what is ultimately motivating their work. He also urges a shift in perspectives on resources, discusses models of change, and offers suggestions for avoiding common pitfalls and working creatively today.

Gil Rendle is former senior vice president for the Texas Methodist Foundation as well as former senior consultant and director of consulting for the Alban Institute. As an ordained minister with a Ph.D. in organizational and group dynamics, he has worked with congregations across denominations for more than 30 years. He is the author of several books, including Holy Conversations: Strategic Planning as Spiritual Practice for Congregations.

Health Talks

(2013, independent) By Glenn Sprunger

Health Talks provide you with a brief, educational, topical prop that will get your conversations started. Health Talks have been used in the workplace, in the family, in church, in small groups, and in counseling. If you set aside 15-20 minutes each week to have a “Health Talk” with people around you, communication and relationships will be strengthened. People will look forward to connecting on a more meaningful level. In the process, you will gradually be introduced to a biblical worldview and a series of questions which will potentially help you get to know and to love one another and to strengthen your community.

Glenn Sprunger received a bachelor’s degree from Evangel College, a master’s degree from Wheaton College Graduate School and a M.Div. from Ashland Theological Seminary. As an ordained minister in the Brethren Church, Sprunger has served churches and parachurch ministries in Indiana and Ohio. He is the executive director of Spirit-Driven Sports. He has spent nearly 30 years doing counseling and people-helping ministries in community mental health centers, churches and parachurch ministries.

The Genesis of Liberation: Biblical Interpretation in the Antebellum Narratives of the Enslaved

(2016, Westminster John Knox Press) By Emerson B. Powery and Rodney S. Sadler Jr.

The Genesis of Liberation explores how the Bible became a source of liberation for enslaved African Americans by analyzing its function in pre-Civil War freedom narratives. They explain the various ways in which enslaved African Americans interpreted the Bible and used it as a source for hope, empowerment, and literacy. The authors show that through their own engagement with the biblical text, enslaved African Americans found a liberating word. The Genesis of Liberation recovers the early history of black biblical interpretation and will help to expand understandings of African American hermeneutics.

Emerson B. Powery is professor of Biblical Studies at Messiah College. He is the coeditor of True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary and the author of Jesus Reads Scripture: The Function of Jesus’ Use of Scripture in the Synoptic Gospels and Mark in the Immersion Bible Studies series. Powery also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Biblical Literature and the Common English Bible. Rodney S. Sadler Jr. is associate professor of Bible at Union Presbyterian Seminary. He is the author of Can a Cushite Change His Skin? An Examination of Race, Ethnicity, and Othering in the Hebrew Bible and coeditor of The Africana Bible: Reading Israel’s Scriptures from Africa and the African Diaspora. He also served as the managing editor of the African American Devotional Bible.

Living Strong, Finishing Well: How to Keep Growing and Learning for the Rest of Your Life

(Sept. 7, 2021, Fleming H Revell Co.) By David Stoop

Living Strong, which is scheduled to be published this month, features counselor and cohost of the popular “New Life” Live broadcast. It encourages those at midlife and beyond to live well, keep growing, keep learning, nurture relationships and leave a positive legacy

Dr. David Stoop (1937–2021) was the founder and director of the Center for Family Therapy and cohost of the nationally syndicated New Life Live! radio and TV program. The author of more than 30 books, including Forgiving What You’ll Never Forget and Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, David coauthored several books with his wife, Jan, and led seminars and retreats on topics such as marital relationships, parenting, men’s issues, fathering, and forgiveness.

Mr. Flopsy Whispers from God: A Lesson on Being Still

(2021, Cottontail Publishing) By Christi Eley

Mr. Flopsy, Whispers from God is an early reader storybook that shares the simple message and guidance from a pet bunny to help your child find stillness and peace. By connecting with animals, children learn to see and hear God’s love and feel secure as they learn to be quiet, patient, brave and trusting. Written in a rhythmic bouncy script, Mr. Flopsy, Whispers from God provides a platform for your child to begin their own relationship with God and is reaffirmed by the gentle words and affirmations of God’s love through the Bible verse “Be still and Know that I am God” Psalm 46:10.

Christi Eley developed a deep love for animals as a child inspired by the bunny she and her grandfather rescued and raised together. It was her dream to grow up and do something with bunnies. She did this with her successful local ministry, Mrs. Cottontail and Friends. She has been working with children and animals for over 20 years, spreading joy and love through her educational bunny programs. This work has deepened her faith and opened her eyes to the most important things in life. Her desire is to teach children to slow down, connect deeply with animals while drawing close to God.

Walk in Faith: 5-Minute Devotions for Teen Guys

(2019, Althea Press) By Andy Dooley

Walk in Faith connects powerful excerpts from scripture with the everyday ups and downs of being a teenage boy–from dealing with peer pressure to setting goals for the future. These five-minute Christian devotions will help teen guys successfully navigate some of life’s most important and trying moments with a little faith―and God’s unwavering guidance.

Andy Dooley is committed to empowering the next generation of leaders as a passionate youth director at Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. He has been working with young people for two decades, through sports, fitness and ministry. Dooley was named the 2016 Face of Reebok One, which allowed him to expand his platform of helping people understand and implement a holistic approach to spirituality and health. He is married to Tiffany, and they have three children, Hope, Skylee, and Andy II. You can visit his blog at

Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight

(2006, Brazos Press) By Norman Wirzba

Living the Sabbath explores a much more holistic and rewarding understanding of Sabbath keeping. Wirzba shows how Sabbath is ultimately about delight in the goodness that God has made in everything we do, every day of the week. With practical examples, Wirzba unpacks what that means for our daily lives at work, in our homes, in our economies, in school, in our treatment of creation, and in church. This book will appeal to clergy and laypeople alike and to all who are seeking ways to discover the transformative power of Sabbath in their lives today.

Raised on a farm in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies, Norman Wirzba is a professor of theology and ecology at Duke University. He writes and makes public presentations on a wide variety of topics ranging from environmental philosophy and ethics to food studies and sustainable agriculture from a theological point of view. His goal is to show that Christian faith is a lot more interesting and compelling than people might think.