“The Shack” by William P Young

“When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of The Shack. This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!” - so wrote Eugene Peterson.

I have just finished reading this book after it was recommended by a friend.  I have never read anything like it. The creativity and imagination of The Shack is just something else.  It takes you to the very heart of God in a narrative like none you have ever read before.  It dares to answer in some way the questions one never asks in church.  The story is compelling and I guarantee you will be laughing and crying at some parts.  At others, I kept saying to Nigel this is very, very clever.

I could not put it down.

It is easy to read but so thought provoking .  I want to hear how others feel about it, so when you’ve read it let me know what you thought!

Liz Heath

August 2008

Film: “An Inconvenient Truth”

Al Gore’s film on climate change was released about a year ago.  The science has moved forward a bit since then (it is now even more certain that the climate changes we are already seeing are caused by human activity) but the film is still an accessible and interesting way of appreciating the issues involved.  For Christians climate change is particularly significant because it impacts disproportionately on the poor and God’s concern for the poor is evident throughout the bible.  For more on climate change from a Christian standpoint see www.tearfund.org/Campaigning/Climate+change+and+disasters

I’ve got the film on DVD if anyone in the fellowship would like to borrow it.

Andy Neal

December 2007

Book: “The Language of God - A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief”

By Francis Collins, Pocket Books (£8.99)

There are people who believe that the findings of science rule out having a belief in God.

In this book Francis Collins disputes this view.  He is one of the world's leading scientists and led the international Human Genome Project which sequenced the three-billion-letter-long hereditary code of life.  The finding was announced to the world by President Bill Clinton from the White House with Francis Collins standing by his side.

Francis Collins was an atheist into his twenties, but became not only a believer in the existence of God but an evangelical Christian, through a process which he describes.

He deals with some of the major difficulties faced by seekers: suffering, harm done in the name of religion, miracles.  He has been helped in his searching by another atheist who became a believer, C S Lewis.

Collins, as well as being a scientist, is a qualified medical doctor and in an appendix to the book deals with some of the current issues in medical science.

There is a good deal of scientific material in the book which the non-scientist may not easily absorb, but it is worth trying.

All in all a worthwhile book.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu says it is 'a real godsend for those with questioning minds but who are also attracted to things spiritual'.

Bill Dyer

November 2007


Tell us about a book you’ve read, some music that you’d recommend or a film that you’ve enjoyed.  Contributions to Andy Neal, editor@wwbc.co.uk

“Christy Miller” by Robin Jones Gunn

Christy Miller is a pretty normal American teenager and in these books you go through parts of her life, meet her friends and deal with being a Christian and other social issues.  They are fantastically well written and you feel like you are there with her and want to pray along with her.  Some of the things in her life give you advice for your own life

The series is written for 11- 16+ years old girls and is available from the GLO bookshop.  You don't have to start from book one. If you’re interested (and I deeply recommend you to give them a go) then books 4 - 9 are available to borrow from Chloe Howat.  They are easy to read and don't take long as you keep wanting to pick them up!

Chloe Howat

August 2008

“Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson

Rev Jack Ames (76) is writing in 1956 to his seven year old son to share the stories and experiences, joys and puzzles of his long and faithful life as a pastor in the insignificant Iowa town of Gilead.  His honesty, example and wisdom are an inspiration.  This novel, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2005, is gently and beautifully crafted.  I read it twice and often paused to reflect on the Jack’s thoughts.  It was extraordinary to find such Godly, Christian wisdom in a novel which has not arrived through Christian publishing channels.

Andy Neal

September 2008

Tecarta Bible App

There are a lot of Bible apps out there, some are free, some require internet access while you are using them.  Tecarta does neither of these.  It’s available on The App Store for Apple devices and on Google Play for Android.  There are nine English language Bibles available.  My favourite is the New International Version.  The current version is the 2011 revision.  If you’re a purist you’ll have to suffer spellamerica (Savior, plow)!  The page presentation is excellent (especially on an IPad though it’s good on my Huawei G300 phone) and I love the live cross references.  It’s so quick to get to related verses elsewhere in the Bible.  The search facility is great when you need to find a verse.  You can highlight verses and write margin notes.  You can put in bookmarks and copy verses to the clipboard, to text, to email and to Facebook and Twitter.

Along with the Bible versions there are commentaries, devotional guides and Bible dictionaries.  I splashed out £13.04 for the NIV Study Bible and a huge 62p for John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes.  Matthew Henry’s Commentary comes in at 62p too. It’s great the way you can flick between the passage you are studying and the reference books.  OK, the maps (.pdf files) are a bit small on the phone but you can zoom in.  Bible prices range from 62p for the King James to £5.29 for the New Living Translation.

The downside is that folk will think you’re texting during the sermon, and you may have to have your quiet time near a socket if your phone needs charging.

Andy Neal

October 2013

Spirit-Filled Life Study Bible

From Scottish Churches Renewal in the 70s through CLAN Gathering, Healing Rooms and the Glasgow Prophetic Centre, I’ve been soaking up and loving charismatic/pentecostal teaching for a long while.  I’d often wished for a scholarly Bible commentary that reflected this.  So, I was delighted to find this study Bible appearing in the list of volumes available in Tecarta (see below).  Published by Thomas Nelson, it features:

 Kingdom Dynamics - 41 themes throughout the Bible that give us values as we advance the gospel throughout the world

Word Wealth - More than 550 key terms defined and brought to life, pulling the language from the original Greek and Hebrew into everyday English

Truth-In-Action - Charts with practical application from every book of the Bible

Detailed book introductions

Verse-by-verse study notes

In Tecarta (see below) it costs £9.95, including a copy of the New King James Bible, on paper about £20.

Andy Neal, March 2015