BY C. CHRISTOPHER SMITH CULTURE / BOOKS January 16, 2015

It has been said that there is no end to the making of books (Ecclesiastes 12:12), and the veritable mountain of books slated for release in 2015 bears witness to that truth. Here are 12 of the books to be released this year that we’re most excited about: 


(Note: Most of these are in the first half of the year because many publishers have not yet announced their fall lineups.)

Out of Sorts: On Being Comfortable with Unanswered Questions

by Sarah Bessey (August – Howard Books)

Bessey’s first book, Jesus Feminist, was both delightful and helpful, and I love that she is now tackling the sorts of unanswered questions that—if we are honest with ourselves—we all face daily.

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church

by Rachel Held Evans (April – Thomas Nelson)

Blogger and commentator Rachel Held Evans writes with great insight that resonates with young adult Christians. This new book describing her experiences with church is highly anticipated as an important reflection on the nature of church in the 21st century.

Walking With Jesus

by Pope Francis (April – Loyola Press)

Like many folks, I deeply appreciate the vision that Pope Francis has demonstrated in the early years of his papacy. I am very excited about this book, with its reminder that following Jesus is at the very heart of the Christian faith.

Our Souls at Night: A Novel

by Kent Haruf (May – Knopf)

The final novel in a series set in a small eastern Colorado town from the late novelist, who passed away in November, this book will not only immerse us into this carefully crafted rural American world, but will also be a pointed reminder of how much Haruf will be missed.

Redeeming Sex: Naked Conversations About Sexuality and Spirituality

by Deb Hirsch (May – IVP Books)

The first solo book by Deb Hirsch offers “a holistic, biblical vision of sex and gender that honors God and offers good news to the world.” In a world in which differing views of sexuality are tearing apart churches and communities, I am eagerly anticipating the promise of good news!

The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perseverance

by Bethany Hoang and Kristen Deede Johnson (April – Brazos Press)

Perseverance isn’t always a popular word, but it’s an essential virtue in a world shaped by fast food culture. This book promises to explore the intersections of working for justice and biblical theology, a combination that although slow, messy and demanding our perseverance, is at the heart of following Jesus.

Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe

by Erin Lane (IVP Books)

In further wrestling with the nature and practice of church, Erin Lane challenges us to imagine a faith in which belonging is just as important as believing. This will be another excellent resource for those who are struggling with church.

A Fellowship of Differents: Showing the World God’s Design for Life Together

by Scot McKnight (February  – Zondervan)

In our world in which people are losing the capacity to talk and work with people who differ from them, Scot McKnight reminds us that our churches are called to be diverse communities in which people of different backgrounds and beliefs are learning to be reconciled.

From Tablet to Table: Where Community Is Found and Identity Is Formed
by Leonard Sweet (January – NavPress)

John Pattison and I argue in Slow Church that church should be much more like a meal. Leonard Sweet, always provocative, goes even further and says that our experience of Scripture should be more like a meal than a tablet set in stone.

God Help the Child: A Novel
by Toni Morrison (April – Knopf)

Toni Morrison is one of the few living master novelists, and a new novel from her is always cause for excitement.

Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God
by Lauren Winner (March – HarperOne)

I love imaginative works, and Lauren Winner here applies her imagination to the language we use for God, drawing upon lesser-known biblical descriptions of God. This book has potential to shake up our understanding of who God is and the language we use to talk about Him.

The Grand Paradox: The Messiness of Life, the Mystery of God and the Necessity of Faith

by Ken Wytsma (January – Thomas Nelson)

In a similar fashion to Sarah Bessey’s book above, this book highlights “the messiness of life” and how our Christian faith can help guide us in everyday challenges.

This list was adapted from a longer list of Top 50 Books to Watch for in 2015 from The Englewood Review of Books.

C. CHRISTOPHER SMITH

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