Reading Posts

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.”


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):


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.


The Rise of the Nones

Some of the staff at Central is reading James Emery White’s book The Rise of the Nones. It’s referring to the growing number of people in America who claim no religious affiliation, and not the group of ladies who take a vow of celibacy and commit themselves to the Catholic church. Specifically, White says that “The real mark of a none is not the rejection of God but the rejection of any specific religion.” This book is similar in content to my previously reviewed book The Great Evangelical Recession. The spiritual landscape in America is changing dramatically. We need to see it for what it is and realize that something new is now called for. We must realize that the kingdom of God is emerging in profound new ways and that we need to see ourselves as missionaries to the people in America from this point on.

Here are some of my favorite parts of the book:


Moment Maker

For a few weeks now I’ve been thinking about my message for our worship night last Sunday. We landed on the theme “Moments.” When I met with some of the Creative Arts people to talk through it a few of them recommended I read a recent book on a similar subject by Carlos Whittaker. His book is called Moment Maker and turned out to be a surprisingly engaging experience. Whittaker reads like a young Bob Goff (a bit crazy with a healthy dose of witty humor). He’s the perfect guy to write a book about making moments happen. As you can see in the video above, he has a track record of crazy stories happening around him.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from his book:


Top 10 Theology Books

***List updated August 2014

I originally made this list in October of 2013 and since then it has been continually in my mind as a resource for others. As I continue to read I also continue to refine my list. Below are my most up to date ten recommendations for theology books.

These are not the deepest theological books you’ll ever find, or even books you are likely to find in a Bible college setting. Instead, these ten books serve as great examples of practical theology that is approachable enough for anyone to understand (as is not the case with most theology books). As such, I’d highly recommend this list to anyone looking to deepen their understanding of Scripture and how God interacts with His people. Upon those we can properly build an understanding of how to fully treat others as God intended.

While I can’t promise that you’ll agree with all that you read on this list (I don’t myself), I can promise you that they will cause you to ask new questions, to think new thoughts, and to walk away with a stronger grasp of your faith.