Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Reading from 12.15.12-2.15.13

A. Lincoln by Ronald C White was my favorite book for 2012 and ranks in my favorites of all-time. I jumped on the Lincoln bandwagon and have no shame. I was fascinated and challenged by Lincoln's leadership style and grace in both victory and defeat. His rhetorical style is nothing short of amazing.

 Shrew by Rick Lawrance was only okay. The premise was intriguing and has left me asking the question, 'how can Christians be shrewd in the way that Christ has called us to be?'.
Book 3: A Storm of Swords by George R R Martin was my favorite so far. These books are so dang long that I am not sure the time commitment that it takes to finish is worth it but then I start the next book...

Monday, January 07, 2013

Readings 10.15-12.15.12

Father Fiction by Donald Miller
I have been wrestling with the question of how to help young men engage with their faith for the past year or two. This was another good read by Miller. I enjoy his style of writing and insights about life, faith and manhood. I can't say that it has led to an explosion of ideas about how to help students experience God but I did appreciate that Miller seems to find the place between the extremes of Christian masculinity.

Radical by David Platt
This book felt a little like Irresistible Revolution take two with fewer stories. However I can see why it was so popular. It communicates a clear, compelling call that challenges mainstream Christian culture to move away from a tiresome life of pseudo-faith.
This Ordinary Adventure by Christine and Adam Jeske
This book is written by a close friend. And I found that reading a book written by someone you know well is a totally different reading experience. I would and have recommended this book to anyone who finds themselves in a bit of a faith/life funk and looking for creative ways out. Whether or not you can relate to the life that the Jeske's have lived so far, their example should prompt your own creative ideas. I have to admit that my narcissistic side was a little disappointed that I did not make a literary guest appearance. Maybe next time. 

Films #10-12 - if I had a film fest 'Beauty, Hope, Justice and Redemption'

#10 - A Separation is an interesting look at justice, relationships and loyalty in a non-US cultural context.

#11 - Exit Through the Gift prompts questions like 'what is art?', 'Is this guy for real?', 'What is art worth?' and 'Where does street art fit into the art world?', etc. However this is not as much an idea film as it is just really entertaining.

#12 - The Forgiveness in Blood is about a family caught up in a blood fued. How does the sins of past generations influence the next generation? Can peace be found? How does faith influence the culture?

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Readings 8.15-10.15.12

All Is Grace is one of the most beautiful pictures of grace that I have encountered. At the same time Manning's raw retelling of his life is at the same time tragic and inspiring. I am forever thankful to his writings for how they have shaped my understanding of God's love for me.

 Culturematic was one of those books that if you relate, makes you feel better about the ongoing nagging feeling that you are the 'only one like this'. One must be willing to risk and fail to succeed.
 Just a Minute flirted with Chicken Soup for the Soul but in the end avoided the saccharine taste of the latter. The short stories are great for use within a ministry context to remind a youth ministry team why we do what we do.
Wow, this was one of the most difficult books I have read. At the same time I would highly recommend it as a powerful tale of a mother's love, the resilience of children and culture's sometimes harmful obsession with those who suffer.

Sadly The Sense of an Ending was totally forgettable. It was good writing and within a month of reading it I can only remember the general outline. I am sure it is good.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

American Gods was our latest media club pick and I was disappointed. I have read a couple of Gaiman's other stories and loved them but this one felt far too rambling and surreal. However it was interesting to read in tandem with OT prophets as they condemned the worship of idols.

 This was a work read and while some of the language felt like it was directed to an older generation, there was a lot about it that I found thought provoking.

I enjoyed this book only because I enjoy engaging with resources/ideas that I don't agree with from time to time. This one fit the bill.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Films #9 - if I had a film fest 'Beauty, Hope, Justice and Redemption'

By no means was this the best film I have ever seen. I would judge it as far better than other 'Christian' films but that is not exactly impressive company. However I do believe it could and would illicit good discussion therefore it is added to my theoretical film fest.

Readings 4.16-6.15.12

This was a slow reading month and I fell of my usual 3 books every two months rate but this was one of the best reads of the year. It has been on my shelf for over a year and I have kept putting it off as something I already have read about a lot. However time and time again this book challenged me to live differently. Now to see if I actually have the courage to do something about it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Reading 2.15.12-4.15.12
This was our latest read in media club and another book I would not have picked up without a little outside pressure. And I am so glad I did. It is about changing the tone of the political conversation in our country and even broader than that, how to respect each other so that we can have the strongest possible society. The highlight with this read was the chance to meet with the author and spend a couple hours over dinner asking questions and listening to stories about what healthy democracy looks like.
My wife and I have been slowing going through this book for months. I did not love the writing or even the content at points but I have to give it credit for prompting some great conversations while traveling in the car.
For years I have been wrestling with how to better engage male students with their faith or just engage with them in general and this book has been the best thing I have read yet. It is also great as a father but at this point in my life it is an excellent ministry tool even though it is about male development.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Films #6-8 - if I had a film fest 'Beauty, Hope, Justice and Redemption'

The Tree of Life is a film that I will remember as having moments of wonder, moments of boredom and moments of 'what the hell?'. I would include it because nearly every frame is a work of art and it engages the viewer in life's biggest questions of meaning, origin and God vs Nature. I am sure it would not be enjoyed by everyone but is entertainment the point?

I love the idea of what sorts of conversation this film might create. A Christian worldview is not represented here but I believe there is a lot of common ground that could be found. There are interesting thoughts on the creation, economy and value of our goods.

One of the most moving stories I have ever seen. I do not cry easily but the power of friendship, overcoming odds and finding joy in the midst of hardship got me. Both my wife and I wept and laughed throughout this story.

Reading from

I read the two versions of this book as homework for being part of a Sticky Faith cohort out at Fuller. I would not recommend reading both but I would recommend reading one of the two. The book is based of the concern that too many teens leave the Christian faith after HS and the chapters offer ideas based on stories and developing reseach on what might help change the statistics so that more students continue being part of the church.

The Sojourn was recommended to me by my wife and it was a good read. It is the story of a boy, his 'brother', father and his journey into manhood. It is set in the context of WWI which I realized I know little about that period in history.

Four Ways to Forgiveness was my latest media club book and I went into it with high hopes. I completed it a little disappointed. I think if I had read other books by LeGuin first I may have enjoyed it more as I would have better understood the characters and context. I would not recommend this as an introduction to LeGuin.