Most Read Book Reviews in November 2014

Takeaway: Someone that has found meaning in a new stream of Christianity may not be the best person to talk about the stream of Christianity that they walked away from.

Over the past couple years I have been intentionally trying to read books about Catholicism and part of that has been reading several stories of Evangelicals that have become Catholic, like Scott Hahn, Francis Beckwith, and Christian Smith. I have been less interested in stories of Catholics that have become Evangelicals but I did think I needed to read ‘the other side.’

Chris Castaldo, has a chapter in Journey of Faith, a book telling the story of people converting from one Stream of Christianity to another, so I was somewhat familiar with his story. Holy Ground, however, is not so much about Castaldo’s own story as it is a book about Catholicism for Evangelicals. And I think that is where my problem really started.

Continue reading the review of Holy Ground

Summary: A short book that felt longer than it was because it felt like a book report.

I like the idea of introduction books. Short books that are able to give an introduction to an idea or a person can be very helpful, but also very hard to write.

I have read a number both the Armchair Theologian books and the Oxford Very Short Introduction Series. They are a very mixed bag. The best of the Armchair Theologian series that I have read is the book on Aquinas by Timothy Mark Renick.

This book by Scott Paeth is definitely on the weaker side. I am still glad I read it because I did not know much about the biography or context of the Niebuhr brothers. Their context and history is important to their writing. I have read at least one book by each of the brothers. So I was not coming into the book blind.

Continue Reading the review of The Niebuhr Brothers for Armchair Theologians

Book Review: Why We Run From God's Love by Ed Cyzewski - a short (19 page) ebook about a spiritually dry season. Worth readingSummary: Short book about the common reality of not wanting to seek after God.

This is a short little book, only 19 pages.  The cheap distribution of ebooks has made shorter works possible again and I think that is a good thing. Not everything worth reading or writing needs to be 200 pages.

Ed Cyzewski, author or co-author of five other books including Coffeehouse Theology, Hazardous and Divided We Unite, has written this short book about being distant from God.

Continue reading the review of Why We Run From God’s Love by Ed Cyzewski

Summary: McGrath tries to imagine what type of advice Lewis would give, if you had lunch over 8 weeks.

McGrath has written one of the two or three best biographies of CS Lewis, so in my ongoing quest to read more and more by or about Lewis, I was eager to pick up McGrath’s newest book, Lunch With Lewis, especially since it was free on Kindle and the audiobook part of my free trial of Scribd.

The preface laid out exactly I was looking for, Lewis is the type of person that many people would say they would like to have lunch with out of a host of historical characters. And so McGrath wanted to imagine what type of things Lewis would talk about and what type of wisdom we could gain if we did have lunch with him. So McGrath set out 8 weeks of lunches, and a chapter for each.

Continue reading the review of If I Had Lunch with CS Lewis: Exploring the Ideas of CS Lewis on the Meaning of Life by Alister McGrath

Summary: An early memoir of finding God through the church.

I am not sure when I started following Preston Yancey on twitter. I think it has been in the last year and I think it was because he is part of a group of people that I have been following as they are embracing the Anglican church.

So starting at the end, in fact, only a couple weeks ago, Preston publicly said he is pursuing ordination in the Anglican church. That is the end of the story. The beginning of the story is of a Southern Baptist pastor’s kid going to college and ready to save the world. As a freshman, he and his roommate decided to start a church. As much because of their youth and distraction and poor relationship skills as anything else, the church fails within the year.

Continue reading the review of Tables in the Wilderness by Preston Yancey

Takeaway: Jesus’ life on earth was for more than just taking us to heaven.

Every once in a while I am truly surprised by a book. I have read several blog posts by Jonathan Martin (he is not currently blogging). And I generally have agreed with with what I read, especially when he was taking an uncomfortable position. So I was interested in reading his book, but did not really know much about him and assumed it would be another, not too much different from all the rest of Christian living books.

Prototype is different, primarily because of the theologically rich content, with virtually zero theological language, and no dumbing down. A lot of the great books that I read I am uncomfortable recommending to many because the language is too theological or the content is too dense to understand without some major background in theology or philosophy. Or if the book is intentionally trying to reach the masses, it is dumbed down and condescending. Prototype has all of the positives of theologically rich text, with none of the negatives of condescension, dumbing down or complicated theological language.

Continue reading the review of Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You’re More Like Jesus Than You Think? by Jonathan Martin

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