Reading Posts

People to Be Loved

People to Be Loved

Few topics today divide people (especially Christians) as quickly as our views on gay relationships. I continue to wade through this one as my heart longs for a stance that my understanding of Scripture doesn’t support. So I keep reading, and processing, and listening to gay people share their stories and perspectives with me. All the while trying to hear from God as clearly as possible. In that light, I was very grateful for Preston Sprinkle’s book, People to Be Loved. In it Preston goes point by point through the six passages in the Bible that address homosexuality and how to best understand them today. Preston does a great job exploring this through an objective lens with a heart for both sides. More importantly, he keeps his heart (and you as the reader) focused on people instead of an abstract issue. I would highly recommend this to anyone seeking to understand the Biblical perspective on this better.

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The End of Religion

The End of Religion

end of religionI finally got to a book I’ve been eyeing for a few years now. The Canadian pastor Bruxy Cavey wrote The End of Religion, and it provides a great way to see Jesus, the Church, and spirituality in a fresh way. In case you’ve never heard of him, Bruxy is one of those guys I keep up with on a regular basis as he challenges my thinking and keeps me on my toes. I was beyond excited when he agreed to write an endorsement for my book last September.

If you are of the more conservative variety in your theology (which isn’t super likely if you’re reading my blog), you might not appreciate the boldness in which he writes. For example, one of the lines of the book says, “Whenever the church gets into bed with political powers, the church becomes the state’s whore.” Your reaction to that quote may indicate whether this is a book you’d enjoy reading or not.

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Ethics

EthicsI recently finished an entire class on the life and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a German pastor and theologian during the rise of Hitler and National Socialism in Germany. As a pacifist, he later joined a plot to assassinate Hitler. As you might imagine, there are lots of complexities to all of this and we have numerous books he wrote to unpack his thinking along the way. One of my favorites is his book Ethics. I don’t agree with all of his conclusions in this book but I find his arguments intriguing and worth spending time considering. Some of his comments in the book even seem to help us understand the rise of guys like Donald Trump (see: The Successful Man).

Ethics gets into the gray area between right and wrong and looks at the complexities of how to live out our faith in the midst of trying times. Bonhoeffer didn’t argue that it was okay to kill Hitler because Hitler was extra evil. Rather, he argued that he willingly assumed guilt for his part in the assassination attempt because assuming this guilt on behalf of others was ultimately the right thing to do. Parts of the book can get a bit theologically dense, so the following are a few of my favorite quotes from the book to give you a feel for it. I group them into four categories: Jesus, assuming guilt, the will of God, and general thoughts.

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"The world will allow itself to be subdued only by success. It is not ideas or opinions which decide, but deeds. Success alone justifies wrongs done. Success heals the wounds of guilt. There is no sense in reproaching the successful man for his unvirtuous behaviour, for this would be to remain in the past while the successful man strides forward from one deed to the next, conquering the future and securing the irrevocability of what has been done. The successful man presents us with accomplished facts which can never again be reversed. What he destroys cannot be restored. What he constructs will acquire at least a prescriptive right in the next generation. No indictment can make good the guilt which the successful man has left behind him. The indictment falls silent with the passage of time, but the success remains and determines the course of history."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics

A Spoke in the Wheel

a spoke in the wheelA week ago I started what may turn out to be one of my favorite classes. The next few months at Fuller I’m studying the life and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian alive during the rise of Hitler. He was executed about one month before the Nazi’s final demise. While I do not agree with everything Bonhoeffer believed or did, his life offers us a vulnerable look at how to live out a faith in Christ amidst the most trying times one might imagine.

The first book I read for the course is called A Spoke in the Wheel by Renate Wind. It provides both a biographical look on Bonhoeffer’s life as well as a collection of some of his writings. Below are some of the quotes from the book that most stood out to me.

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My 51 books of 2015

Here are the books I read in 2015 with my rating for them (5 being the best) along with a brief review. Topping the list this year was The Bible Tells Me So and The Grand Paradox.

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. A lot of people resolve to read more in the new year and if that’s you I hope this list gives you something to get you started.

This year I also released my book Redeeming Pleasure in September.

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