The Book Club met on 27th February 2020.

We agreed that The Life you’ve always wanted’ by John Ortberg is well worth recommending. It is a gentle introduction to spiritual disciplines which makes you think ‘I could do that!’. It speaks persuasively to recent Christians – it could be part of Alpha follow up – while not so recent Christians can still find plenty.  It is entertaining and easy to read although the anecdotes can be superficial and some may find the suggestions for confessing to one another difficult.

We noted that a few Home Groups have been studying it, using the questions in the book and the DVD.

Here’s the link to abe books (other booksellers are available):
The Life You 27ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg – AbeBooks

St Paul’s Christian Book Club met on December 12th 2019 and discussed

‘A beautiful mess’ by Danielle Strickland.

We found it an enlightening, easy read, particularly helpful to those who find chaos a bit threatening. With the help of some striking examples from the Bible and from her life, the author illustrates the possibilities of transformation and growth which arise from experiences which seem beyond our control.

Here’s the Amazon link (also available from other booksellers) :

‘The making of us’ by Sheridan Voysey

The book club thoroughly enjoyed reading and discussing this book. It is a gentle and reflective account of the author’s spiritual and physical journey with his friend along the Northumbrian coast with Durham cathedral as their destination. We found we could enjoy it on different levels : it’s an easy read with some lovely descriptions of the landscape, but there are profound insights which encourage careful thought. By the end Sheridan finds a deeper understanding of his experience and a closer relationship with God.

It might even make you want to go on your own pilgrimage!


Sadly we couldn’t endorse ‘Out of the saltshaker into the world’ by Rebecca Manley Pippert so enthusiastically. We found this account of ‘evangelism as a way of life’ heavy going. Although the author includes plenty of examples from her own experience, the model of evangelism is quiet detailed and it is quite a daunting prospect to work through all the steps. By comparison ‘Evangelism for amateurs’ by Michael Green which we had on the book display recently seemed a bit more accessible.

‘The Introvert Charismatic’ by Mark Tanner

The book received warm approval, notably for its balanced appreciation of the needs of both introverts and extroverts in church.

The Book Club would like in particular to recommend  chapter 10,  ‘Six steps towards fullness of life’. Here’s a short summary :

  1. Recognise and accept that you are an introvert :
    ‘God has made us, and He has made us well’.
  2. Nourish yourself with :
    • routines which work for you : introverts don’t thrive on chaos
    • relationships : maybe part of a small prayerful group?
    • boundaries : limits on activities which drain you
  3. Find a voice : the best places, times and ways to have your say. This includes those who like   to ‘say it in flowers’, or a card, or music or dance.
  4. Learn a second language : share a bit of ‘extrovert speak’, such as contributing to the  conversation as others’ thoughts are formed rather than later when your thoughts are fully formed
  5. Step out in faith : don’t be afraid to respond when the Spirit speaks to you.
  6. Practise the habits which bring health :

There follows five pages of bullet points p191-195! Here is the Amazon link to the book (also available from other bookshops).

More on Mark Tanner, author of our most recent
book club choice :
Mark is now Bishop of Berwick. Check him out on Wikipedia! His wide experience includes youth pastor and
military chaplain. Interestingly, neither ‘introvert’ nor ‘charismatic’ appear in the Wikipedia

More details of St Paul’s Book Club here

Have you read a Christian book which you’d like to tell church members about? Contact Andy