Well, summer is about over. I finished up summer by reading a few books that challenged both my heart and mind, as well as a few that were pure entertainment.
Check out my September ministry update if you have not!
Theological Territories by David Bentley Hart – Hart is my favorite contemporary theologian and I am at the point where I will read pretty much anything he releases. I think I’ve read all his books except for one work of essays (The Dream Child’s Progress). This new work includes some rather brilliant essays. Like any book of collected essays, there were a few that I did not like as much. In this collection there were a few where Hart commented on literature, and as I have not read the literature I mostly just skipped it. I’m sure it was great, but I was reading for the heology. In some ways this book did not strike me the way his previous work has. I suspect that is just due to familiarity. Overall, it was still a great read with lots to chew on.
Postcards from Babylon by Brian Zahnd – While Hart is my favorite professional theologian writing today, Zahnd may be my favorite pastor writing today. His books consistently challenge both my heart and mind, but are much easier to digest than Hart. The beauty of Zahnd is he is clearly reading the heavy-hitters I also enjoy reading: Hart, Girard, Moltmann, etc. So in reading Zahnd, I enjoy getting the summarized view of these guys. Essentially, when I read Zahnd I find out if I got the heavy-hitters right. All that aside, I have long believed the greatest sin of the American church is nationalism. This book diagnoses that sin of nationalism and is an absolute must read for pastors in America. While Hart, and others, often speak of the same thing, the beauty of Zahnd is that his writing is accessible for typical, regular Christians.
Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States by Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry – Speaking of nationalism, there is this book. Christian nationalism is a toxic parasite on the gospel of Jesus, yet it accurately describes the faith commitment of millions in the United States. This book is incredibly helpful because the authors define Christian nationalism and describe how while many white evangelicals are Christian nationalists, the two groups are not the same. Within that, they show that commitment to Christian nationalism actually leads to the opposite views when compared with people who attend church regularly and actively practice spirituality. This is a must read to understand the views and ideas floating around in our culture.
Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – There is nothing as much fun as escaping into a beautifully constructed fantasy world, especially when that world has been created by Sanderson. With book four of the Stormlight Archive coming out in November, I began rereading the series. All I can say is, its even better the second time! So Good!