Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Books I'm Digesting

Eating the Dinosaur, by Chuck Klosterman. I heart Klosterman. The man has impeccable insights into Americana, digging deep into the philosophical underpinnings of cultural phenomena. From Garth Brooks to ABBA to sitcom laugh tracks to Hitchcock to This American Life to Mad Men to Barack Obama to 1980s basketball stars, he covers it all. I love that a) he and I do not share a worldview (at least I don't think so), yet b) his philosophical insights into the human condition and reality are filled with Truth. The best chapter is about the similarities between Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, presidential nominee Ralph Nader, and German filmmaker Werner Herzog--which is that all three are far too literal for the populace to understand them. If that last sentence intrigues you, then read this book.

Colossians Remixed, by Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmat. I'm halfway done with this fascinating "anti-commentary" on Paul's epistle to the church in Colossae and its subversive undertones towards the Roman empire. The authors offer some fairly scathing comparisons between the empire and modern Western culture, and their approach has been creative and enlightening. I'll never read Colossians the same again.

What the Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell. A collection of Gladwell's writings from the New Yorker. Gladwell has an insatiable curiosity for the strangest things, finding a story in anything from hair dye to condiments to football players. His previous books are far more coherent in their theme but this is still a delightful montage of the best of his magazine writings.

Shaping the Spiritual Life of Students, by Richard Dunn. The best youth ministry book on discipleship I've ever read, period. I've been taking my volunteer staff through this over the past year, and Dunn's insights into adolescent development, postmodern culture, and having pacing-then-leading relationships is remarkable. He offers a holistic approach to discipleship, one that engages students emotionally, intellectually, socially, physically, and spiritually. Scholarly yet accessible.

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