Reading Posts

The Divine Magician

The Divine Magician

I recently finished Peter Rollins latest book, The Divine Magician. Like all of his books, this one challenges the status quo and asks deeper questions to arrive at a more substantial faith at the end. His method of doing this through the three parts of a magic trick is creatively engaging. He unpacks the elements of the Pledge, the Turn, and the Prestige, and makes connections to Biblical faith with each. While the book tends to go into philosophical wonderland at times, my favorite part of reading Peter Rollins is not that I agree with all his answers, but rather that I appreciate the way he causes me to ask new questions.

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Live From New York

SNLI recently finished reading a book on the history of Saturday Night Live. It’s called Live From New York and walks through the creation and evolution of the show. The book is longer than I realized and also proved tougher to read. That’s because it’s quote after quote from different people. While it’s tricky to get into the flow of reading it, taken together it provides loads of behind-the-scenes perspective into a cultural icon.

My favorite quote:

“When I came here Lorne told me, ‘We don’t go on the air because the show’s ready, we go on because it’s eleven-thirty.'” Darrell Hammond

That’s an incredibly profound look into the creative process. At some point it’s got to go out. Anyone who has ever tried to produce something knows this tension.

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Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

After receiving two separate recommendations for Nabeel Qureshi’s book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, I figured it was finally time to read it. I’m glad I did. Nabeel tells his story of growing up as a devout Muslim and his journey with the God of the Bible.

The book follows the journey of Nabeel’s friendship with a Christian named David. You learn early on that these two guys are smarter than most, and their conversations have a deep foundation in apologetics. Both men are rooted in their beliefs and eager to show the other the error of his ways. It is in the context of this friendship that Nabeel is able to see his Muslim faith in a new light.

He sheds light into many aspects of Islam that the typical person may not understand. As one example, Nabeel says,

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A Living Alternative

A Living Alternative

I recently read through a collection of essays called A Living Alternative: Anabaptist Christianity in a Post-Christendom World. As such, some of the chapters are more on point than others. Overall, it provides a great look at Anabaptist theology and raises the questions that need to be asked in our post-Christendom country today. If you are not familiar with Anabaptist theology you may immediately jump to weird things you’ve heard or seen with Mennonite or Amish communities. While those are expressions of Anabaptist thought, this book shows how rich and diverse this theology and way of viewing Christianity really is. As our world continues to move away from Christianity as the norm, I find myself drawn more and more to Anabaptist theology as a way of making sense how to move forward.

A few passages from the intro (by Tyler M. Tully) help to setup the context for this book and why it is so needed in the Church today:

“Anabaptist simply means, ‘baptized over again,’ and comes from a context where to be baptized into the Church as an infant was to be recognized as a Christian and a citizen of the State all at the same time. Yet these Anabaptists were impressed to live a simple, Jesus centered, alternative lifestyle in accordance with the Scriptures. And so they declared their loyalty to God by choosing to be rebaptized as adults, thus announcing: ‘our citizenship is in the Kingdom of God.’ Placing themselves under immense persecution by Catholics and Protestants by this action, the Anabaptist lifestyle was considered as an alternative to and a rejection of the Church-State.”

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What To Do When It’s Your Turn

If you know of Seth Godin, you know that’s he’s brilliant and will challenge you to think outside the box. His latest book, What To Do When It’s Your Turn continues with this expectation. It’s formatted like a magazine so it reads quickly and easily. The biggest shock was the overwhelming amount of typos throughout the book. I secretly hoped this was intentional and that Godin was illustrating his point of being willing to “ship” a product and get over the fear of failure. However, they turned out just to be a confusing number of typos for a book of this size. That’s really my only strike against it as the rest of the material was thought-provoking and encouraging. Seth, if you’re reading this it’s not too late to use that somehow!

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book (and there were a lot):

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My 57 Books of 2014

The last two years I somehow read the exact same number of books each year: 63. That’s a strange number but I wasn’t able to quite live up to it this year. My favorite books were A Farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd (#33) and Culture Making by Andy Crouch (#48).

Here are all the books I’ve read since January of 2014 with my rating for them (5 being the best) and a brief review. You can see this list at any time by clicking on the link at the top of each page on my blog titled “reading list.” Any book without a number rating has been given to me by the author or publisher. You can also check out my lists from previous years, as well as my recommendations on how to become a better reader.

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