Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Books of the Year (for me...)

Here are books I read in 2018, and recommend. 

Craig Keener, Spirit Hermeneutics; Reading Scripture in Light of Pentecost. To better interpret the New Testament texts one must have experienced the kind of things the text refers to.

J. P. Moreland, Scientism and Secularism: Learning to respond to a Dangerous Ideology. Many of my philosophy students are scientistic and unaware. Such is the nature of the American university. Moreland shows how important this is to followers of Jesus, and equips us to combat it.

Bessell van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. A mesmerizing book that has greatly helped Linda and I in our attempts to help others.

James Davison Hunter and Paul Nedelisky, Science and the Good: The Tragic Quest for the Foundations of Morality. How philosophical naturalism (atheism) cannot explain morality.

Jonathan Merritt, Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words are Vanishing - and How We Can Revive Them. Merritt adds to the thesis I put forward in Leading the Presence-Driven Church.

Collin Hansen, Our Secular Age: Ten Years of Reading and Applying Charles Taylor. Taylor is the person to read to understand the absence of God in American culture.

Steve Wilkens, Christian Ethics: Four Views. Today, and in the days to come, Christian leaders have to understand ethical systems and metaethical issues.

Edward Feser, Five Proofs of the Existence of God. Feser explains the force of cosmological arguments for God's existence, with their Aristotelian and Thomistic roots, as well as anyone I've read.

Larry Eskridge, God's Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America. Everyone who was caught up in the Jesus Movement, like I was, must read this book.

Everett Worthington, Hope-Focused Marriage Counseling: A Guide to Brief Therapy. Linda and I do a lot of counseling. This book is a valuable, wise, practical resource.

Francis Beckwith, Taking Rites Seriously: Law, Politics, and the Reasonableness of Faith. Beckwith helps me understand what's really going on politically in America, and gives me a deeper understanding of the nature of persons and human dignity.

Sarah Bakewell, At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others. This book is for philosophers like myself who have been reading Heidegger and the French existentialists since we were undergraduates.

Marc Silber, The Secrets to Creating Amazing Photos: 83 Composition Tools from the Masters. This is a book to read, and re-read.

Lee Strobel, The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural. This book is so encouraging, and provides a wake-up call to the Church.

Michael L. Brown, Playing with Holy Fire: A Wake-up Call to the Pentecostal/Charismatic Church. Loving, critical, and, for me, very inspiring.

Jean Twenge, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement. More valuable cultural understanding. Christian leaders - do not contract this disease and bring it into your churches.

Donna Freitas, The Happiness Effect: How Social Media is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost. A great scholar tells us what's here, and to come, with great cost.

Jack Deere, Even in Our Darkness: A story of Beauty in a Broken Life. Raw, honest, touching, revelatory. I could not put this book down.

N. T. Wright, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus's Crucifixion. For anyone who, like the apostle Paul, wants to know one thing: Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. MIT's Turkle is one of our greatest scholars on the effects of social media on culture.

Mark Yarhouse, Understanding Sexual Identity: A Resource for Youth Ministry. Our church staff is reading and discussing this book together.

Jean Twenge, iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy - and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood - and What That Means For the Rest of Us. Twenge is a great scholar. The title says it all.

Dallas Willard and Gary Black, Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks. When I think of a Spirit-baptized intellect, I think of Dallas Willard.  

Edmund Pellegrino, Human Dignity and Bioethics (Notre Dame Studies in Medical Ethics). This is a valuable resource for all interested in the meaning of persons, and human dignity. 

Derek Shuurman, Shaping a Digital World: Faith, Culture anad Computer Technology. A great book on a most relevant subject. One of the resources I'll draw on as I write (God willing!) Technology and Spiritual Formation.

Michael L. Brown, Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation. An important text for all who are preparing their churches for revival and awakening.

Don Ihde, Philosophy of Technology: An Introduction. Ihde, a phenomenologist, is an excellent philosopher.

John Cheney-Lippold, We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of our Digital Selves. In the midst of an America suffering catastrophic identity confusion, Cheney-Lippold explains how, to our unknowing, we are being viewed as ever-changing digitized selves. 

Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. The best book I read in 2018?

Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. No, this is the best book I read in 2018! I challenge Christian leaders to read this prescient text. While reading, think of Romans 12:1-2 and the reality of the American Church's world-conformation.