Reading Posts

The Prophetic Imagination

Every now and then I come across a book that seems to speak the language of my soul. Where the words connect on a deeper level than normal and it feels like reading someone else’s profound articulations of thoughts you’ve felt emerging inside you. As should be expected, it is rare to find books like this. I was beyond excited to read Walter Brueggemann’s book, The Prophetic Imagination, originally written in the 1970s. It has since been revised and I easily rated this a five on my reading list this year.

Brueggemann explores the role of the prophetic voice throughout the scriptures and invites the church to continue living out this role in any culture today. He sets it up like this: “the essential question for the church is whether or not its prophetic voice has been co-opted into the culture of the day.” When we live out this role, we as the church “will be prophetic voices crying out in the wilderness of the dominant culture of our day.” While the book itself is not all that long, it is a deep dive into ideas which call us to question many accepted norms around us. This is a much-needed read for the American church. Below are a few of my favorite ideas from the book.

(more…)

How to Survive a Shipwreck

How to Survive a Shipwreck

I had marked Jonathan Martin’s book How to Survive a Shipwreck as one to read for months before I actually did. Martin writes as a prophetic poet. At times it seems he speaks another language entirely. One you can recognize but often don’t know how to speak. The transparency and vulnerability in which he tells his journey invites all of us to seek God in an authentic way. Martin walks the reader through how to journey with God through the heartbreaking seasons in your life.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

The waters that drown are the waters that save.

There is no going back down the birth canal when the Spirit of life is pushing you forward, despite yourself.

There is nothing quite so scary as the Holy Ghost, because we intuitively know that to make room for this Spirit is to make room for our own upending.

On the other side of the storm that tears you to pieces is a capacity to love without doubt, to live without fear, to be something infinitely more powerful than the man or woman you were before it happened.

(more…)

Let Your Life Speak

Let Your Life Speak

I was recently given a copy of Parker Palmer’s book Let Your Life Speak. Parker writes from more of a Quaker perspective and I’ve really enjoyed it (as I have with other Anabaptist roots the last few years). The book is now almost twenty years old and has become a bit of a classic when it comes to hearing from God on how we live our lives faithfully to what God has given each of us. As a pastor, I talk often with people who are attempting to discern God’s will for their lives in areas both big and small. Parker offers quite a bit of perspective in navigating these questions.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

(more…)

My 62 Books of 2016

My 62 Books of 2016

Here are the books I’ve read since January of 2016 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. In addition to this list you might also check out my reading lists from previous years as well as my recommendations on how to become a better reader.

(Click here) to see the books I have personally written, and see below for the ones I’ve read this year. Topping the list were How to Be Here, The Sin of Certainty, Rejection ProofThe Explosive Child, and People to Be Loved.

(more…)

Finding God in the Waves

Finding God in the Waves

finding-god-in-the-wavesI recently finished a great book from Mike McHargue, popularly known as Science Mike. It’s called Finding God in the Waves, and it looks at Mike’s journey away from God and back again. Mike tells it with refreshing transparency as well as an enjoyable sense of humor. What makes it really stand out is the focus on science and logic he brings into the discussion. If you’ve ever wondered if faith is just a crutch for the simple-minded, Mike offers you another perspective. The subtitle of the book: “How I lost my faith and found it again through science,” shows that this isn’t your typical Christian point of view.

Mike’s story—and this book in general—doesn’t fit well into normal Christian categories. That’s why it’s a great way to challenge your thinking and possibly emerge with a much deeper understanding of your own faith in Jesus. As with all authors, I don’t agree with everything in the book. Yet I found this one to be a gem of a read and I highly recommend it. You can also hear Mike on the Liturgists podcast or on the Ask Science Mike podcast.

(more…)

How To Develop a Reading Obsession

How To Develop a Reading Obsession

It is easy to see how reading is on the decline for many people today. With the rise of movies and TV with today’s technology, books have to work harder to compete with companies like Netflix. Then there are things we actually do read involving words, but those words are likely in a digital form on a blog or website. The printed versions of words come to us in the form of a newspaper or magazine. It takes a bit of effort then to find yourself reading a book. Most likely, the book is a recent release or a current best-seller.

Years ago I read a book called The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership by former USC President Steven B. Sample (who passed away this year). It had a chapter about reading and explained something called the “fifty-year test.” This is a category of books that are still being read fifty years after they were written. Dr. Sample stated that reading these books will give you a deeper grasp of culture and perspective and set you apart from others. This is counter-intuitive (hence the book title) since most of us try to read to keep up with what’s going on right now. But I have noticed an unbelievable difference ever since I read that book and tried to pick my subsequent books accordingly. But how does a person ever get to a book which passes the fifty-year test that doesn’t completely bore them to sleep or drone on about irrelevant topics?

(more…)