Reading Posts

Climbing the Tree with René Girard

One of the things I love about reading and exploring new ideas is continuing to trace the ideas further and further back. When you find a book or author who resonates with you, take note of who he or she quotes (especially if repeatedly). Then read that author and do the same. This allows you to trace the origin and evolution of ideas and allows you to grasp them in deeper ways.

The merits of this thinking have been explained in different ways, but here is an intriguing way to consider it:

“Chew on one thinker – writer, activist, role model – you really love. Study everything there is to know about that thinker. Then find three people the thinker loved and find out everything about them. Repeat this as many times as you can. Climb up the tree as far as you can go. Once you built your tree, it’s time to start your own branch.”

Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist

One of the “thinkers” whose name has emerged numerous times in my theological studies has been the French philosopher René Girard. Girard died in 2015 at the age of 91. I recently read his book called I See Satan Fall Like Lightning (see: Amazon link). While it isn’t an easy read (possibly because it is translated into English or it’s just really deep), this one offers plenty to chew on.

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Inspired Imperfection

I remember asking a question to a professor when I was in my undergrad program: “What resource do you recommend to someone wrestling with the inconsistencies between the God of the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament?” I was pointed to a Biblical textbook that was a generic overview of the Bible. Needless to say, this didn’t actually address my question.

Yet it opened my eyes to the gap of people willing to talk objectively about some of the issues with the Bible (and the Old Testament in particular) without either dismissing it or glossing over it. It wasn’t until I met Greg Boyd years later that I found someone willing to tackle this in a way that resonated with me.

Greg’s latest book is called Inspired Imperfection: How the Bible’s Problems Enhance Its Divine Authority (see: Amazon link). I wish this would have existed when I was in college and first beginning to dive into this idea for myself.

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2020 Reading List – 1/4

2020 Reading List – 1/4

March felt like a year unto itself. But we are actually just a quarter into 2020. I’m just grateful we made it to April!

Here are the books I’ve read since January 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:

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My 70 Books of 2019

My 70 Books of 2019

I was able to tackle a few more books than normal in 2019.

Below is the list of 70 books I read and my ratings 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. You can check out my running list throughout the year by clicking on the “reading list” link on the top right of my blog.

In addition to this list, you might also check out:

Click on any of the titles below to get to a link to buy it.

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2019 Reading List – 3/4

2019 Reading List – 3/4

We are 75% through 2019 by now. In Oregon, that means the beauty of Fall is all around us and the weather has a chill to it. It’s one of my favorite times of the year and a good opportunity to check in on the books I’ve read so far. I’m feeling good about being 9 books ahead of my goal of reading 60 total this year.

Here are the books I’ve read since January 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:

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2019 Reading List – 1/4

2019 Reading List – 1/4

We are a quarter of the way through 2019 by now and you have probably forgotten about those New Year’s resolutions. If not, now’s a good time to gauge your progress so far and make sure you are doing what you wanted to do this year. One of my goals was to read at least 60 books this year and so far I’ve read 16 of them. That puts me slightly ahead of pace.

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