Strong and Weak by Andy Crouch
In this fairly short read, Crouch unpacks the tension that lots of us as Christians feel, and that we see in the Bible itself- the tension between power and weakness. Jesus tells us both to serve and wash the feet of others but also that we’ve been given authority to the extent that we can cast out demons and heal in his name. How do we engage with this paradox? Andy unpacks what it looks like to be both strong and weak through two journeys; 1) engaging in hidden vulnerability and 2) being open to visiting the darkest and most difficult places of our world. It is only when we step out in authority and vulnerability that we can truly flourish and enable others to flourish with us. In other words, only when we hold strength and weakness together can we be carriers of justice. This book is so important for us in Just Love, not because I think we’re in serious danger of leading with authority and no vulnerability (ie. exploiting), or because many of us will suffer significantly with vulnerability and no authority, rather this book highlights the real danger of being neither strong not weak, not stepping out to make a tangible difference in the world and not being willing to make sacrifices and be wounded for the sake of justice. If we want to be leaders that look like Jesus, that are used to bring about real change in our nation and our world, we have to learn to use our authority but also to engage with the suffering of others.
Recommended by Esther.
Generous Justice by Tim Keller
You’d be hard pressed to find a better introduction to the biblical call to social justice. With characteristic clarity and simplicity, Tim Keller takes us through all the big points the Bible has to make about poverty, justice and compassion. Beginning in the Old Testament and working on through, the central question of the book is this: what does the gospel of Jesus have to do with social justice? Generous Justice digs deep into that question not only theologically but also practically, exploring what it really looks like to ‘love our neighbour’; he finishes up with an incredible chapter on Peace, Beauty and Justice that brings it all together in an amazing way.
Recommended by Tim Lornie
The Crucifixion of the Son of God by Fleming Rutledge
This book is a masterpiece. Apparently, it took Rutledge twenty years to write, and you can tell when you read it. It is a long book packed full of theological depth, and yet it is beautifully written by an author who knows how to preach. Since reading it, it has not just gathered dust on the book shelf; there are sections – especially the chapter on justice – which I have read over again and again, and many more that I am eager to return to as soon as I get a chance. It is a masterpiece that addresses the magnitude of Jesus’ cross and resurrection without ever feeling narrow or partisan, and with an ability to lead you into fresh wonder on just about every page.
Recommended by Josh
Global Poverty: A Theological Guide by Justin Thacker
Justin Thacker writes in depth about the theology and the practicalities of how we might go about tackling global poverty together. He manages to combine both a wonderfully detailed theological understanding and a great knowledge of development economics in one beautifully written and deeply compassionate work. When I first read Thacker’s book, I was deeply impacted by both the brokenness of our world that he exposes, but also by the deep hope that we find throughout the story of a God who is on the side of the poor and the broken-hearted, both locally and globally. He takes us through the story of Creation, Fall, Israel, Redemption and Consummation, challenging us all the way into a deep understanding of God’s heart for justice for the global poor.
Recommended by Curtis
Surprised by Hope by Tom Wright
Tom Wright is a genius. He’s widely regarded as the greatest living New Testament scholar and in this book he sets out his position on what we hope for as Christians. Spoiler alert: It’s not pie in the sky when we die; it’s a renewed heaven and earth. This has massive ramifications for the mission of the church and for how we live our lives today. The theology in this book is foundational for what we believe as an organisation and it’s written really well. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to think about why we should care about justice.
Recommended by Tim Hendry