A Christmas Carol (Dickens)

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol in Prose: Being a Ghost Story of Christmas Each year on my Christmas vacations I get the opportunity to read some fiction. This year I chose Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, mainly because I’ve been vowing that I will read it every year for the past five years. I am…

Open Secrets (Lischer)

Richard Lischer, Open Secrets: A Memoir of Faith and Discovery New York: Broadway Books, 2001. My wife stumbled onto this book almost providentially at a bookstore just a few weeks prior to starting our first preaching position in the rural town of Junction, Texas. Open Secrets tracks the life of a young Lutheran pastor at…

The Rule of St. Benedict (Chittister)

I first read a book on monastic spirituality almost by accident. I resonated with the sincerity in their search for God and the thirst for authenticity I saw in their words. Yet I was repelled by a way of life, an intensity of practice that seemed impossible in my own world. Sure, I could drop everything and go live in a monastery, but I had a gut feeling my then-fiancé would not appreciate that very much. I also wasn’t sure how I was going to afford my student-loan payments while living under a vow of poverty.

The Lost World of Genesis One (Walton)

I’m behind on my reading this week, so I’m posting a book sketch my friend, Chris Woodrow, wrote for me. Given the difficulties Christians face in reconciling the Bible with the wealth of scientific information I think this book seems like a good starting-point for conversations. Disclaimer: Chris did me a huge favor in writing…

Slow Church (Smith & Pattison)

Christopher Smith & John Pattison, Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2014. “How many kids are in your church/youth group?” An innocent enough question, but the most common, and often the only question I get asked. Apparently we have as a culture developed a significant and…

The Monks of Mt. Athos (M. Basil Pennington)

Yet the final and most beautiful theme of this book is something of an antidote to the poison of exclusivity. Pennington gives us glimpses into so many Orthodox scholars, priests, and monastics who see Christ within each person regardless of tradition. Pennington’s interactions and relationships with these saints is so encouraging. Here are conversations and interactions marked by love, respect, and true discipleship.

Healthy Congregations (Steinke)

I selected this as my first book because I am beginning a preaching ministry in a new church and I wanted to get a grasp on the general features of healthy congregations. I also, and arguably primarily, chose it because it was short.  ——————- Peter L. Steinke, Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach Herndon, VA: The…

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