Thursday, February 23, 2012

Books I'm Digesting

With the birth of my daughter, I have not been reading as much as I'd like. My ever-growing stack of to-read books has been looming on my desk and bedside table. I'm still working through David Foster Wallace's The Pale King, and am about to begin Root and Dean's The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry and Walter Brueggemann's The Prophetic Imagination. Here's what I've been digesting lately:

The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God (Tim Keller): Keller's latest is class Keller: deeply theological, humble in tone, and filled with practical and life-transforming truths. My wife and I have been slowly working through it together, and I've begun going through it with various guys I mentor, both married and single. Tim and his wife, Kathy, have over 37 years of married experience that they bring to table, and they share their ideas with a humble and wise tone that is refreshing in this age of marriage tours and conferences. Based on a series of sermons Keller preached in the early 90s, the issues presented remain relevant and insightful as Keller works through the section in Ephesians 5 about marriage and Christ. Everything that Keller speaks/writes about comes back to the Gospel. Highly recommended.

A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix (Edwin H. Friedman): I try to avoid using hyperbole in reviews, but allow me this one: this is the best leadership book I've read in the past 5 years, and might be one of the best ever. The final book he wrote before passing away, Friedman's ideas about self-differentiation and our chronically anxious culture rings true. With chapter titles like "the fallacy of empathy," Friedman is sure to cause leaders to rethink their entire philosophy of influence. Friedman focuses on the self--how to have a clear presence and identity that is differentiated from the anxious masses, rising above dysfunction in order to redeem and transform. He uses a great deal of evolution and scientific language (a potential turn-off to more conservative evangelicals), but his insights are causing me to reevaluate not only my leadership, but my identity and sense of self. Every leader, from parents to pastors to presidents, should read this.

The Millennial Maze (Stanley Grenz): A balanced look at the various evangelical views of the millennium described in Revelation 20. Grenz puts his cards on the table in the introduction--he's amillennial--but presents each view with a clarity and equality that makes it simple to understand the differences without having a significant bias. He doesn't just compare and contrast; Grenz reveals the hermeneutical mindsets behind each view, as well as the prevailing worldviews they embody. If you're looking to learn more or revist your theology of the end times, this is a recommended resource.

What have you been reading lately?

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