Reading Posts

2021 Reading List – 3/4

2021 Reading List – 3/4

Fall is in the air… finally. If you live somewhere that has seasons, you’re likely enjoying the beauty of the leaves changing all around you. Where I live in Arizona I can finally walk my dog in the morning and not die of sweat.

Here are the books I’ve read since January of 2021 with my rating for them (5 being the best) along with a brief review. Any book without a number rating has been given to me by the author or publisher.

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Women in the Church

On Monday of this week we hosted another one of our tasting nights for Communion Wine Co. At the event, we’ve been doing a Q&A about wine/Jesus/the Bible/Christianity/the Church, etc. We received twenty questions and one of them was voted on as the number one question by a long shot. Here was the question:

Why were the women in Corinth not allowed to speak in church? Is it due to false prophets taking advantage of women not being taught to read or write?

I’m guessing this question comes from a place of personal pain and struggle. In my two decades in church ministry, I’ve noticed that sometimes this can be a very difficult subject for church leadership to tackle. They may want to empower women, but the pushback you get on this can be surprising.

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2021 Reading List – 2/4

2021 Reading List – 2/4

We are now halfway through the year and this is a good chance to revisit any goals you set back in January. One of my goals for 2021 was to read at least one hundred books this year. So far I’m two books ahead of schedule! If reading is one of the areas you want to spend more time, here are my thoughts on what I’ve read so far. I hope it provides ideas for your next great literary adventure.

Below are the books I’ve read since January of 2021 with my rating for them (5 being the best) along with a brief review. Any book without a number rating has been given to me by the author or publisher.

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Dear God

I recently finished the book Dear God by Bunmi Laditan. It’s a collection of prayers to God and makes an easy read. But don’t let that fool you as to the depth in which these prayers go. Few books I’ve ever read capture such brilliant extremes of both humor and raw honesty. This book will show you why it’s important to also read authors who aren’t white males.

Not only does the reader feel a connection to the author throughout the book, I could not help but feel closer to God as I read through her prayers. It feels like a modern-day book of Psalms (with a bit more humor).

Here are a few examples:

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Looking Both Ways

I was invited to contribute a chapter to a recent book called Looking Both Ways: At the Intersection of the Academy and the Church. The book was made in honor of one of the best college professors I’ve ever had named Dr. Joe Grana. Dr. Grana’s work and influence on others would be impossible to measure as they have affected so many people in profound ways, myself completely included. He recently retired after fifty years in ministry and education and this book was a chance for us to honor him.

The book explores a variety of ways the church and the university can overlap together. I wrote a chapter on rethinking the idea of ordination and shared some of the insights we figured out from my time in Oregon. Although I haven’t had a chance to read the entire book yet, I suspect I’m the only contributing author that mentions Lady Gaga and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

Here’s a teaser quote from my chapter:

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The Angry Chef

My threshold for risk in attempting a new book is pretty high. If any part of it catches my attention I’m in. Especially when I’m in a physical bookstore like Powell’s in Portland and they have books on sale. Oftentimes this leads me to books I will quickly forget about. But sometimes you find a gem.

Such was the scenario that recently caused me to buy a book called The Angry Chef by Anthony Warner (see: Amazon link). One of the negative side-effects of reading a lot is that it gets harder for books to impress you. I’ve often heard of the ideas in them before. But it also means I’m truly grateful when a book blows me away and exceeds my expectations. This was the case with reading Warner’s book.

Anthony Warner is a chef who likes food and science and takes issue with much of the way we think about food today. He especially takes issue with the diets that popularize the ways in which we eat or don’t eat food. Personally, I’ve spent much of this year changing the way I eat and work out and I want to understand both better. Warner’s book is a gift in this regard.

I think his argument can be succinctly summarized in this quote: “The more you learn about diet the less interesting the final message is. Eat everything in moderation and move around more. That may not be the most interesting hot take on eating, but dang if it’s not a good perspective to live by.

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