Social media and phones have gradually taken over reading. It’s harder to pick up a book, let alone finish it. But what if we had eleven books for you that have shaped, inspired and changed our minds?
This World Book Day 2022, we give you eleven books of faith, courage, equality, world events and justice.
Why we recommend it: it is an honest book connecting faith, science, the climate crisis and activism. Hayhoe writes with honesty about feeling drained at the lack of action and repeated conversations with those who don’t value climate justice. She makes science simple, which is needed!
How it made a difference: her words left us feeling excited again about the call of followers of Jesus to step up, be heard, take action and persevere. Rather than feeling alone in the pursuit of creation care, she demonstrated the Lord’s perspective in it.
Anthropocene – ‘the most recent period in Earth’s history when human activity started to have a significant impact on the planet’s climate and ecosystems.’ (Nat Geo)
Why we recommend it: we know that our impact on the climate is causing a crisis across the planet. But in all the numbers, graphs and scientific words, we can forget the real stories of people. People who are facing its effects and coming up with incredible solutions.
From Nepal to Kenya to Patagonia, Vince writes an enjoyable journey worldwide to ask people what we should be doing to stand with them.
Why we recommend it: when it comes to living out our faith when responding to racial injustice, we need forgiveness, reconciliation, hope and encouragement. This book offers that in Martin Luther King’s sermons. It’s a reflection of the heart and soul of a Christian preacher who responded to racial injustice with faith and action, with sermons full of hope, conviction and wisdom.
How it made a difference: this book helped us discover the correct response to racial injustice as a Christian and to persevere. It has led us to hope and believe in change in people’s attitudes, actions and life as a whole.
Why we recommend it: it’s a brilliant book to learn how to be a good ally and increasingly anti-racist. Dabiri challenges the talk of ‘being an ally’, expanding our thinking to interrogate whiteness altogether in how it was created to divide those the powerful were taking advantage of. Dabiri helps interrogate the capitalist systems that uphold ongoing structural racism.
How it made a difference: by revealing how different injustices intersect and compound. It advises on what we can do about it as communities, not just individuals.
Why we recommend it: Strobel’s faith journey is a fascinating read. We enjoy the scepticism and questioning that happens throughout. This book reconfirms for me that God can handle our doubts and questions because He is sovereign.
How it made a difference: sometimes people may question their faith, but this book is timely as a place to rebuild our understanding of truth. We hope this helps someone else in the same situation of questioning.
‘Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.’
Why we recommend it: Tozer shares that true contentment, purpose and daily peace can only come through a continued pursuit and relationship with God. Everything put above God is an idol, even if it looks like ‘God’s promises’, ‘jobs’ or ‘good works’. God calls us to complete surrender and an intimate relationship with Him as Father.
How it made a difference: the book taught us to lay down things close to our hearts that we were safeguarding. To surrender them to Jesus for a greater reward… even more of Him.
GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN
Why we recommend it: by challenging assumptions and limitations on women for centuries, this book helps us look at scripture differently. Bessey highlights Biblical stories of how Jesus related to women and uses that to challenge gender inequality today.
How it made a difference: it gives us fresh eyes for familiar passages. It also grows our understanding of the context in which they are written and what that means for women today.
Why we recommend it: Did you know that most offices are five degrees too cold for the average woman? Or that almost all crash test dummies are male bodies? Or even that voice assistants are far more likely to understand a male voice?
Criado-Pérez takes us through all the areas (spoiler: there’s a lot!) where there is an absence of data on women’s experiences. The undervalue and underrepresentation of women is not only wrong, but is most likely leading to greater harm.
What would you say if I told you that even how we clear snow from our streets is a feminist issue?
Why we recommend it: we cannot say we are doing the work of justice if we bench half of the team! Global injustice and poverty disproportionately impact women. To see an end to this oppression, we need to have a high view of equality – seeing the image of God in every person.
How it made a difference: it equips us to more deeply understand some of the tricky parts of scripture used to quieten women’s voices. It also gives a biblically sound framework to make decisions.
Why we recommend it: a good book to read when joining Tearfund! It helped us to understand from a heart perspective that extreme poverty can be alleviated.
How it made a difference: it is challenging and uncomfortable, but it is really important for anyone who has a slight interest in poverty and justice.
Why we recommend it: Hopkins challenges us to think beyond the world’s current brokenness and imagine what ‘could be’ instead playfully. Engaging our imagination to picture the future we’re trying to build and then start doing it. He asks some fab questions: what if we took play and imagination seriously? What if we fought back and reclaimed our attention? What if we become better storytellers?
How it made a difference: Hopkins shares stories of people worldwide unleashing their imaginations – from reclaiming busy roads to turning them into local parks and lots more. I found it brought me a lot of hope and joy in the face of environmental problems and invited me to be playful with solutions.