Monday, September 16, 2019

My Summer Reading

(When I was in Eldoret, Kenya.)

As a boy I read lots of books. One after the other. I used the library, all the time.

My parents encouraged my brother Mike and I to read. We both love reading, learning, evaluating ideas, and being  caught up in a story. 

This has not stopped! It's increased, I think. More than ever, I see that knowledge is power. The pen is greater than the sword. (And, I married a reader!)

I'm now reading The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great, by Ben Shapiro. If you have a problem with that, what's your problem?

I am a philosopher. (B.A.; PhD) In philosophy we read all sides, as much as we can. Philosophers are voracious readers. They are always looking at arguments and counter-arguments. You won't fully understand your position until you understand the other side.

This is not intimidating or threatening to our safety. This is because philosophers are interested in ideas and the reasoning (logic) behind them. We are trained to "bracket" the author of the ideas. This helps us be less biased and more objective. (BTW - no one is perfectly objective, including you. No one is with bias, to include you. Me as well. Perhaps [though I doubt it] logic is itself biased, as certain postmodern critical theorists claim.)

Study more. React less. Understand. Then, speak, if at all.

In reading Shapiro's book I'm making connections with German philosopher and critical theorist Jurgen Habermas, and Italian philosopher and statesman Marcello Pera. More on that, maybe sometime in the future. In reading I make lots of connections.

In preparing for my New York City trip this summer, teaching Chinese theological students, I read Mao's Little Red Book. There's a new Maoist movement in China that threatens Christians. I must understand this.

I just read Peter Singer's book on Karl Marx. (I began reading Marxist theory in 1978, when I taught a class at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary called "Contemporary Views of Man.") "Socialism" is a word being tossed around in America. Do you know what socialism is? You begin to understand by reading at the foundation, which includes Marx. 

As for the rest of my summer reading, here it was. 

The Assault on American Excellence, by Anthony Kronman.

Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message, by Michael L. Brown.

Jezebel's War with America: The Plot to Destroy Our Country and What We Can Do to Turn the Tide, by Michael L. Brown.

The City of God, by St. Augustine.

Coming Apart: The State of White America - 1960-2010, by Charles Murray.

Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness, by David Powlison. 

Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump, by Robby Soave. 

Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard, by Soren Kierkegaard.

Moral Revolution: The Naked Truth About Sexual Purity, by Kris Vallotton.

Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for the Existence of God, by Jerry Walls & Trent Dougherty.

Spirit Hermeneutics: Reading Scripture in Light of Pentecost, by Craig Keener.

The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America, by Timothy Snyder.

World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech, by Franklin Foer. 

As I begin the fall season...

I've got a hard copy of Craig Keener's The Mind of the Spirit: Paul's Approach to Transformed Thinking. I'm opening it up this week.

Today I received a used copy of Harold I. Brown's Perception, Theory, and Commitment: The New Philosophy of Science. Dr. Brown was one of my undergraduate philosophy professors. He introduced me to philosophy of science (Popper, Kuhn, Feyerabend, Lakatos, et. al.)

And, I just purchased, Erich Fromm's Marx's Concept of Man: Including Economic and Philosophical Postscripts

Dallas Willard said we need more deep people. This requires a lifetime. I'm still learning.