Bible Society book in finals

Will judges award GOLD to Macquaries?

Making a mark in Christian literature

Bible Society Australia offers wide-ranging Christian literature through Koorong but is also a publisher of some amazing titles. For the second year running, a book from the Bible Society family has made the Australian Christian Book of the Year shortlist.

The Rev Dr John Harris – author of the seminal One Blood, 200 Years of Aboriginal Encounter with Christianity, on the relationship between Indigenous people and the Australian church – is in the running for this year’s award, for his new book Judging the Macquaries: Injustice and Mercy in Colonial Australia.

In the book, Harris offers his assessment on the character of Lachlan Macquarie and his adversary, Samuel Marsden, a senior chaplain in the colony of New South Wales. “It ended up being a book about … what people thought of [Lachlan Macquarie] at the time, both those who loved him and admired him – and those who immensely disliked him,” says Harris.

Should the book clinch the top spot on 2 September, it will be the second consecutive win for publications from the Bible Society family. Last year’s winner was For Better Or Worse: How the Church is Better and Worse than You Ever Imaginedby Natasha Moore and her colleagues at the Centre For Public Christianity.

Others on this year’s shortlist

Graeme Clark, the man who invented the cochlear implant, has been called a “giant of medical science” by former Prime Minister John Howard. He is 86 years old this year, and his book I Want to Fix Ears tells the story of the development of the device helping bring sound to the profoundly deaf. He told Eternity in 2015 he believed that hearing is the primary sense for a Christian. “It’s about understanding language, Scripture and the meaning of words,” he said. “After all, ‘I am the Word,’ said Jesus. If you understand words you really understand what it is to be human, relating to God.”

Sam Chan’s book How to Talk About Jesus Without Being that Guy won the US Christianity Today‘s Book of the Year for evangelism in 2018 for his textbook-style tome, Evangelism in a Skeptical World. His latest book has been called a “popular-level repackaging” of that material, designed for everyday Christians.

Of the shortlist’s ten titles, only two are written by women. One of them is Sue Williams’ book, Healing Livesthat follows the friendship between Dr Catherine Hamlin, an Australian obstetrician and pioneer in fistula surgery, and her protégée Mamitu Gashe. Hamlin and Gashe first met when Gashe sought treatment for horrific childbirth injuries at the age of 14. Under the iconic doctor’s guidance, Gashe went from mopping floors and comforting her fellow patients, to becoming one of the most acclaimed fistula surgeons in the world, despite never having had a day’s schooling.

The full shortlist

On 2 September one of these ten books will be announced as the Australian Christian Book of the Year:

  • Abundance: New and Selected Poems by Andrew Lansdown
  • Being the Bad Guys by Stephen McAlpine
  • The Good Sporting Life by Stephen Liggins
  • Judging the Macquaries by John Harris
  • Talking Sex by the Book by Patricia Weerakoon
  • Jesus through Muslim Eyes by Richard Shumack
  • Western Fundamentalism by Gordon Menzies
  • How to talk about Jesus by Sam Chan
  • I Want to Fix Ears by Graeme Clark
  • Healing Lives by Sue Williams

Until then, check Koorong for these and other titles, and select your favourites. By making a purchase you support Bible Society’s mission work, and everyone’s a winner.

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