Thursday, August 04, 2016

Twelve Books I Am Reading this Summer

Here's what I'm reading or already read this summer.

The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World's Most Notorious Atheist, by Larry Taunton. Linda and I both read this. This is the best book I've read this summer. Beautiful, authentic, inspiring.

The Apologetics of Desire: A Case for the Existence of God from C. S. Lewis's Argument from Desire, by Joe Puckett. I'm in the midst of this book right now. I'm reading it because of a study I'm doing this summer on the nature of desire. My study has been kick-started by the writings of James K. A. Smith, as follows. Puckett's book is very well-written, eminently rational, and helpful.

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, by James K. A. Smith. Smith is a Pentecostal philosopher teaching at Calvin College (go figure). He is one of the most important voices in theology and philosophical theology today. He's a great writer, and this is a very cool and deep book. Smith is an excellent teacher. Watch how the book goes deeper and deeper until you find yourself in an ocean of ideas.

Desiring the Kingdom (Cultural Liturgies): Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation, by James K. A. Smith. My desire-studies led me to read this. What a book! We are what we desire, what we love, what we worship. And, everyone worships someone or something. Every person is enmeshed in one or more cultural liturgies, largely unconsciously.

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk In a Digital Age, by Sherry Turkle. Turkle is a professor at M.I.T. She is a brilliant scholar, and this is a phenomenal book. Though not addressing Christians, every pastor and Christian leader should read it. And, to my great delight, her proposal adds support to my phenomenology of spiritual transformation.

Reviving Old Scratch: Demons and the Devil for Doubters and the Disenchanted, by Richard Beck. Another very good book! Greg Boyd says, "Beck helps Christians understand that they need not suspend their doubts about "Old Scratch" to discern his reality in the dark dehumanizing forces that are all around us. Whether you're convinced or doubtful of Satan's existence, this book will inspire you to enter into the age-long spiritual battle that has always been at the center of the Christian faith.""

The Theology of Dallas Willard: Discovering Protoevangelical Faith, by Gary Black. This book is must reading for all who have been deeply influenced by Dallas Willard. The first chapter alone is worth the price of admission. As I read it I wrote in my journal, "Now I have finally identified my place in history."

The Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor and Thought, edited by Raymond Gibbs. My doctoral dissertation was on metaphor theory. I have felt that God is calling me back to this, so I purchased this text of recent scholarly articles that bring me up to speed on recent metaphor studies.

Run With the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best, by Eugene Peterson. Linda and I are devouring everything Peterson has written. Bono ("U2") says this is the book that changed him.

The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly In a Violent World, by Miroslav Volf. Volf is another writer I can't get enough of. This book fills out more of the studies I've done on "remembering" as essential to spiritual formation.

Your Church Is Too Small: Why Unity in Christ's Mission Is Vital to the Mission of the Church, by John H. Armstrong. Thank you John for gifting me with your book. I enjoyed meeting with you over coffee. I'm slow-cooking in it, and finding it well-written and important.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X. Because I am so blessed to be a professor at Payne Theological Seminary it is my glad duty to constantly read in the area of African American religion and history. Malcolm X's book is required reading.

My book, which I have not only read but re-read and revised ad infinitum, is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.