Recent books in brief

Recent books in brief
So Everyone Can Hear: Communicating Church in a Digital Culture

by Mark Crosby (SPCK, £9.99)

These days the Sunday homilies, with the occasional pastoral letter from an archbishop or bishop, are not quite enough.

With the clamour for attention online the need for all the churches to make their message heard in the din of current of events is vital many observers believe. Though as many people have long left the tent and carried their vital interests to other fields, this is difficult.

More than that, such intensive communication certainly requires full time activity by someone, whether a minister or lay person, to keeping it going. The message needs to be, literally, “new everyday”.

At the very end of this book, author Mark Crosby provides a “communications checklist”. There, in a few pages, are compressed the vital lessons from the previous chapters. Reading it over even before starting the book will alert many involved in the communications task as to their shortcomings.

Here is a direct and clearly written book which will help harassed parish workers focus their minds and imaginations on the task of continuous communications. Without communications, with adherents and with outsiders, everything else a parish or church attempts to do will go for nothing.


L is for Lifestyle: Christian Living that doesn’t Cost the Earth

by Ruth Valerio (Inter-Varsity Press, £8.99)

While so many people express deep concern about the way the physical world – what the Pope has called “our common home” – is being degraded, we do not always pay attention to the little things we all do that can inflict that damage. We have to change the way we live our daily lives.

Ruth Valerio, who “enjoys working on her allotment and minding chickens and pigs”, may have an answer. In the 26 short chapters of this book she provides an alphabetical primer on what we might do, from ‘A is for Activist’ down to ‘Z is for Zeitgeist’.

Here the problem is reduced to things everyone can do, which is its main attraction.  Do you really have to carry around a plastic bottle of water filled with commercialised water?  Can we avoid buying our salad for lunch in a plastic box? Yes we can. We have to move from being careless to being careful.

Yet all too often we think of what governments can do, not what we can do ourselves.  We should give up complaining. We can take action by changing our lives first.

Ruth Valerio’s book will help many take the first steps towards a new kind of future.