Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Books I'm Digesting

A Tale of Two Youth Workers (Eric Venable): An assignment for the YMCP, this short parable simplifies the complex relationship between faith and doubt in a quick, understandable manner. The book is basically a conversation between a young brash youth worker and an older, wiser youth worker. It makes me wonder about the necessity for honest doubts and questioning in faith development. Perhaps a value of our youth ministry needs to be "healthy doubt."

The Return of the Prodigal Son (Henri Nouwen): This is my second book on the subject of Jesus' parable of the two sons, having read Tim Keller's The Prodigal God earlier this year. While Keller focuses primarily on the parable itself, Nouwen poetically draws spiritually connections between Jesus' words and Rembrandt's famous painting. Nouwen makes connections between himself, Christ, and the three central characters in the parable and painting--the younger son, the elder son, and the father. Nouwen is a personal favorite author, and this is one of his best books I've read.

The Trellis and the Vine (Colin Marshall, Tony Payne): We're reading this as pastoral staff, and thus far it's been a basic practical look at the concept of discipleship and how churches can implement radical changes into their approach. The title comes from a great metaphor--the vine is the growth of the gospel in people's lives, while the trellis is the structure leaders must implement in order to keep the vine growing. When we don't have a trellis, the vine flounders; when we focus too much on building up the trellis, we become religious institutions instead of gospel movements.

Think Orange (Reggie Joiner): I've read bits and pieces of Orange material, but finally decided to read through Joiner's first book on the subject. The idea: that the church and family are the God-given communities God is using to change the world, and these two forces need to work together instead of apart. The book has had a great balance of theory and practice, with lots of practical tips and ideas to embrace an Orange philosophy in your church. If you're in children's ministry, student ministry, or any sort of family ministry, it's a necessary read.

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