Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Books I'm Digesting

King's Cross (Timothy Keller): This is classic Keller: Gospel-centered, intellectual, accessible, humble, compelling. King's Cross is Keller's ruminations and commentary on the Gospel of Mark. In this sense, it's much different than any of his other books in its singular focus on one book of the Bible. I learned a great deal about the book of Mark while I was floored once again by the life of Jesus. Keller's books do that to me--I find myself convicted of my own sin and a desire for repentance, all while experiencing a sense of awe at the person of Christ.

Exclusion and Embrace (Miroslav Volf): I've barely begun the fourth chapter in this theological treatise on identity and reconciliation, yet it's already impacting my thinking and values. A Croatian, Volf uses his personal experience seeing the ethnic cleansing in former Yugoslavia as part of a passionate plea for moving past excluding others and learning to forgive and be reconciled in Christ. I've already used examples and quotes from Exclusion and Embrace in my teachings. It's an academic read and requires quite a bit of plodding through it, but this journey seems to be one worth pursuing.

A Kingdom Called Desire (Rick McKinley): I really like Rick McKinley. He's honest, humble, theologically-astute yet with a pastor's heart. His first book, Jesus in the Margins, pointed out what ministry could/should look like. This Beautiful Mess is one of the best books you could read on the kingdom of God. A Kingdom Called Desire builds from the two previous books, forcing us to deal with the desires of our hearts and truly making Jesus the liberating King of our lives. Moving from questions of "how do I...?" to "what do I truly desire?" McKinley paints a beautiful picture of a redeemed church operating from a heart filled with desire for the King of the kingdom.

Consider the Lobster (David Foster Wallace): My first DFW book is a series of essays on topics ranging from John McCain to dictionaries to...well...lobsters. I'm about two-thirds through it, and I've loved it. Well, most of it. The first essay--philosophical musings and cultural observations about a porn convention--was a bit too graphic for my taste. DFW is clearly brilliant and a gifted writer, made all the more tragic by his suicide a year after this book was published. Ironic, witty, and cultured without being elitist, Consider the Lobster feels like a philosopher's Klosterman.

You can read more reviews and book musings at my 2011 Book Journal. What books are you digesting?


  1. That's a great list! I am definitely going to read Kingdom Called Desire. Thanks!

  2. Would you say that the King's Cross would be a good book to read with a group of High School students. I am looking for a book that correlates with a book in the Bible...and this one sounds interesting. If it is not one you would recomend for high schoolers do you have any suggestions??

  3. @ Anonymous, it'd be good for older high schoolers, like juniors and seniors, though it could be a bit ambitious even for them. I'd use it with a leader's group, perhaps.

    For other books like that, the only one I've ever used is "Living a Life that Matter"s by Mark Matlock, through Youth Specialties, which goes through the book of Ecclesiastes.