I realize that it has been more than a few minutes since you heard from me. I am going to do my best to get back in to the groove of writing something, at least once a week, for the next few months. As an entryway back into the rhythm of writing, today I want to share with you a few of the books that have been on my mind over the last few months. As summer approaches, I hope you will have the opportunity to kick back and maybe read a book or two. If you want to know more about any of these books, don't hesitate to reach out and ask for more information.
As a matter of fact, I will be heading to the beach in a few weeks, so I would love to hear about any of the books that you have read lately or are reading at the moment.
In no particular order, here are the books that I would recommend to you this summer....
Theology and Philosophy
These three writers really shaped the thought that was behind my Doctoral project at McAfee. These are not particularly easy books to read, but I promise they will all be worth your time. Each of these three books try and help us to think about what faith looks like in a pluralistic world. Following Jesus is going to look much different in 2019 than it did centuries, or even decades ago, and these books are essential guides on how to navigate the complexities of life in our cultural moment.
Social and Cultural Commentary
I really appreciate David Brooks. I heard someone remark recently that Brooks was too liberal for conservatives and too conservative for liberals, which makes me think he might be on the right track.
Sara introduced me to Gawande a few years ago, and I think he is one of the most insightful writers of our time. As a pastor who deals with death on a pretty regular basis, I found this book incredibly compelling. I think it should be required reading for students in seminary.
Russell Moore is the head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. I don't agree with everything Moore writes, but I really appreciated his chapter on Religious Freedom. In a culture where Christians on both sides of the political spectrum seem to be happily aligning themselves with politicians and parties, Moore's chapter should be a wake up call to our first allegiance. On this topic, I think he represents the best of the Baptist tradition. If you want an introduction to Moore's thought, he has a nice YouTube channel where he engages various topics.
Deke is the former mayor of Augusta, Georgia and was one of the first people outside of the church to welcome me when I arrived at the First Baptist Church. I had the pleasure of reading his book before it hit the shelves and I was blown away. His passion for creating leaders and change makers jumps off of every page. I gleaned practical skills for how to make a difference in my community, but even better, I learned more about a good friend.
A great deal of ink his been spilled over these three subjects. But Montefiore, Wright, and McGrath all provide new insight into some of history's most important people and places. If you are only going to read one of these, I would start with N.T. Wright. Those of you who know me well understand the impact that Wright continues to have on my thoughts about how we are to live well and follow Jesus in the world.
This wonderful piece of fiction was a welcome introduction to my library when it came out in 2017. The rhythm of life at the Granby Presbyterian Church brought back so many incredible memories of the first two churches I served out of seminary. The stories of Jonas McCann and the collection of saints at Granby shows us what being a part of the Body of Christ is like at it's messiest...and best.
I hope that you find something that piques your interest! Happy reading,