Three books I’m looking forward to reading…

Cold, dark evenings are perfect for getting some reading done. Here are some books I’m looking forward to over the next few months.

Forming Intentional Disciples

Too many people have recommended this book to me, I’ve read reviews on countless blogs, e.g. here, and I’ve finally ordered it: Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry A Weddell. Very soon, I am doing some sessions at the seminary again on catechetics and, owing to the Year of Faith, I want to root it very explicitly in the new evangelisation. So I am looking forward to some practical insights.

Jonathan F Sullivan uses it for a presentation here, and cites Weddell’s list of “normals” for a disciple of Christ: having a living, growing relationship with God; an excited Christian activist; knowledgeable about the faith; knows and uses their charisms; knows their vocation and actively lives it; in fellowship with other disciples.

I wonder, if we’re really honest, how many “intentional disciples” there are in our parishes? I would hazard a guess… not too many. But don’t worry, people, that is changing! 😉


Theology of the Body is something that affects every single one of us, whatever our path or stage in life, and I am looking forward to Christopher West’s new book, Fill These Hearts. I love this interview with West by Sarah Reinhard, especially his wonderful reflection on desire:

Fill These Hearts is a book about desire, about the deepest ache we feel inside for something.  What are we supposed to do with that cry of our hearts?  Where are we supposed to take it?

I put forth certain ideas in the book that I think some people–namely, those who have been taught that holiness demands we suffocate or repress our desires–will find troubling.  Desire can get us in trouble, it’s true.  But the solution is notdeath of desire, but depth of desire.

In that context, the most exciting aspect of writing this book came well after I was finished with it.  On November 7 of last year, Pope Benedict gave an address in the context of the Year of Faith about the importance of desire.  When I read it I got chills: it was such an affirmation to me of what I had written.

Pope Benedict is inviting the whole Church in that address to foster what he calls “a pedagogy of desire.”  In the Christian life, we are pilgrims seeking the redemption of desire.  The Christian life, he says, is not “about suffocating the longing that dwells in the heart of man, but about freeing it, so that it can reach its true height.”  That, in a nutshell, is what my new book is all about.


Finally – I’ve been recommending this to enquirers and other adults in our parish and I am looking forward to reading it myself: The Seven Big Myths about the Church, by Christopher Kaczor. I admit it – I am not the greatest apologist; in fact, I struggle with apologetics. However, it is vital that we tone those apologetics muscles if we are going to be effective evangelists and catechists. Archbishop Fulton Sheen memorably said,

There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.

…and this book is for all those millions.

What’s on your ‘new evangelisation’ reading list at the beginning of this year?

About transformedinchrist

I live in Southsea and work for the Diocese of Portsmouth. My first love is for catechesis and evangelisation: until January 2013, I worked for a busy, thriving parish in south London coordinating the catechesis - sacramental programmes and adult formation. In November 2013, I completed my MA in catechetics at Maryvale Institute, Birmingham. View all posts by transformedinchrist

7 responses to “Three books I’m looking forward to reading…

  • Jonathan F. Sullivan

    Thanks for the shout-out! One thing you should let people know is that if they are looking to buy copies of Forming Intentional Disciples in bulk they can probably get a better deal by ordering straight from Sherry at (I gave copies to every pastor in our diocese!)

  • Tonia

    I really enjoyed both Forming Intentional Disciples (I reworked my blog after reading it) and The Seven Big Myths book (I’ve posted about them both). My last book was Courageous Leadership that you recommended and I’m now reading The Ordinary Path to Holiness by Richard Thomas which Leila at Little Catholic Bubble recommended.

    If I had to go on personal recommendations rather than blogs I’d be reading Fifty Shades of Grey!

  • lilylaval

    Thanks for the tips! Fill these hearts is top of my wish list (out tomorrow!) but will check out Transformed In Christ too!

  • Paul Rodden

    Getting close to the top of the pile in my study…
    Handing on the Faith in an Age of Disbelief

    The New Evangelization by Archbsp Rino Fisichella: Responding to the Challenge of Indifference

    Thanks for the tip last year about Francis Kelly’s, ‘The Mystery We Proclaim’. It was excellent and very useful.

    As to apologetics, I’d recommend highly a book by a Protestant, ‘Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions’, by Greg Koukl. (Koukl is co-author of an excellent book on relativism with the ‘infamous’ revert, Frank Beckwith.)

    It’s about how to discuss and answer challenges without getting mean or defensive, and getting them to really think about the issue. In other words, it’s not about providing answers so much as getting them to think first before they throw out the old chestnuts: in short, shifting the burden of proof and other ‘tactics’ in dealing with those difficult confrontations in a genial and winsome manner, yet without backing down.

  • FID: God Has No Grandchildren | Thine Own Service

    […] excellent and readable book, Forming Intentional Disciples (hence, FID). The book was initially recommended to me by Hannah Vaughan-Spruce (who writes at Transformed in Christ) and by Bishop Philip Egan on […]

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