Thursday, June 08, 2017

My Summer Reading

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Relaxing as summer has finally begun!

Ever since I was an undergraduate philosophy major I have read multiple books at a time. As many as fifteen books at a time. That's just me. It is a passion, and a hobby, for me. Linda is a huge book reader as well.

I do not always finish a book. Sometimes, even years later, I return to the book and finish it.

Sometimes I read only the chapters or sections I am especially interested in.

Often, I re-read a book. I re-ponder it. I have re-read several books.

It sometimes happens, in a re-read, that I feel I finally understand what the book is saying.

When a book is an academic text, it is common for me to read portions and not understand what is being said.

I read hard copies, and books on my Kindle. I like both.

So, here are books I am reading this summer (and I'll probably add some more).

Eugene Peterson. As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God. To Linda and I, Peterson is a prophet to the American Church, for such a time as this. He is filled with depth, wisdom, discernment, and insight. He exhibits these because, for decades, he has had an actual praying life.

Jim Al-Khalili. Aliens: The World's Leading Scientists on the Serch for Extraterrestrial Life. I am reading selected essays out of this book. This week I read two excellent articles on the vast improbability of ET life: "A Cosmic Imperative: How Easy Is It for Life to Get Started," by Paul Davies (the answer: it's far, far from easy); and "Alone In the Universe: The Improbability of Alien Civilizations," by Matthew Cobb. Note: Both Davies and Cobb rightly tell us that we cannot predict the probability of life emerging from non-life on exoplanets, precisely because we have no idea of how life emerges from non-life. One cannot estimate the probability of something happening given total ignorance of how it happens.

Curt Thompson, MD. The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves. I mostly read a book like this for my own benefit, since I have struggled, at times, with shame. And, I view it as a universal condition (remember Adam and Eve, discovered in the garden by God).

Dallas Willard and Gary Moon. Eternal Living: Reflections on Dallas Willard's Teaching on Faith and Formation. OK - I have finished the book. Linda is nearly finished. We are both re-reading. This is a book I would recommend everyone to read. You will be inspired and blessed and moved.

Rod Dreher. The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians In a Post-Christian Nation. Yes, everyone is reading this book, and so am I. For good reason. Time for a reality check for the Church.

Charles Kraft. Confronting Powerless Christianity: Evangelicals and the Missing Dimension. I just read Kraft's presentation to the faculty of Fuller Theological Seminary. Wow! (Ch. 3, "Ten Critical Issues for Evangelicals")

Robert P. George. Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism. Linda and I watch hardly any secular media. I'd rather read scholars on ethical and political issues. George is one of my favorites. He is Prof. of Law at Princeton, and recently Visiting Prof of Law at Harvard, What a great thinker and writer, an intellectual force to be reckoned with, and a strong follower of Jesus as well.

Alan Burdick. Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation. Good, creative writing on not only the philosophy of time, but the biology of time.

John Jefferson Davis. Worship and the Reality of God: An Evangelical Theology of Real Presence. My friend Dave Nichols and I are reading and re-reading this excellent book on the Presence-Driven Church, with a liturgical spin. I'm still thinking about Davis's analogy between an ontology of games, and real worship.

Peter Bussey. Signposts to God: How Modern Physics and Astronomy Point the Way to Belief. This satisfies a perennial intellectual itch.

Greg Boyd. The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Volumes 1&2. I'm fifty pages in. I need to set aside hours to keep up with Greg's thesis on the "violent" God of the Old Testament.

Craig Keener. Spirit Hermeneutics: Reading Scripture in Light of Pentecost. I'm fifty pages into Craig's book. This is a book I have been waiting for. It's on the role of experience in understanding the biblical texts.

Charles Taylor. The Language Animal: The Full Shape of the Human Linguistic Capacity. Taylor is one of our major philosophers, and a follower of Jesus as well. I am working to understand how he frames the idea that language is constitutive (not merely descriptive) of reality.