Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Books I'm Digesting

Reading is awesome. It's been awhile since I've posted the books I've been currently digesting. Here are brief synopses and reflections on the books I'm reading and processing:

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life (Henry Cloud and John Townsend). Cloud and Townsend have written a practical and engaging book about the healthy practice of setting relational boundaries, a practice I've wrestled with through the years, yet deeply value as being vital for flourishing relationships. The authors define a boundary as a property line for one's responsibility, defining who we are and who we are not. While some of their cited biblical support for setting boundaries feels like proof-texting, the general principles are beneficial and wise, and I've found immediate ways to put their ideas into practice.

2 Corinthians: The NIV Application Commentary (Scott J. Hafemann). I had to read and write a 1000-word review of a commentary on 2 Corinthians for my first class at Regent College. It's honestly the first time I've read a commentary straight through, cover to cover (perhaps with some skimming here and there!). While a tedious practice, my eyes have been opened to dozens of new insights regarding 2 Corinthians, a wonderful epistle of encouragement for any pastoral leadership struggling in their ministry and calling.

The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited (Scot McKnight). McKnight is one of the theologians that, along with N.T. Wright and Dallas Willard, has shaped a significant portion of my theological thinking and paradigm. So when Wright and Willard have written robust introductions to McKnight's book on the gospel of Jesus, it's certainly worth noticing. McKnight's thesis is that the contemporary evangelical "gospel" is, in fact, a limiting concept that only addresses individual salvation, i.e. how I get to heaven when I die. The gospel according to Jesus and Scripture is the whole story of Jesus being the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy and the breaking in of the kingdom of God into our world. It's not that the soterian message is bad or wrong; it's simply incomplete, and not the whole gospel.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Frank Miller). A classic comic book story from Frank Miller about the aging Bruce Wayne donning the cape and cowl once more to take on the mutant gangs that threaten Gotham City. His coming out of retirement inspires Two-Face and the Joker to face the Dark Knight, but the greatest adversary in the story is unexpected: Batman must fight Superman. As the upcoming Ben Afflck-starring Batman versus Superman film cites Miller's story as an inspiration, I decided to check it out. It's a solid and engaging story, though with a fairly pessimistic worldview regarding justice and heroics.

I Wear The Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined) (Chuck Klosterman). Both hilarious and insightful, Klosterman once again takes a serious look at pop culture phenomena and roots out the existential questions that tug at our souls. Klosterman questions why villains exist, what makes them so dastardly and evil, and how come we still (sometimes) love them? From O.J. Simpson to Bill Clinton to Snidely Whiplash to D.B. Cooper to Machiavelli, Klosterman is a writer that consistently points to the Truth of the matter, even when he's stumbled upon it by providence alone.

What have you been reading lately? Share in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Nice eclectic list, Joel.

    I recently finished reading "C.S. Lewis - A Biography" by A. N. WIlson. A long and very detailed account of Lewis' life. Learned more about Lewis than I really wanted to but it revealed the humanity of a man we have come to over idealize (even idolize!). I will read his works with greater insight now.

    "Becoming Big League" by Bill Mullins is a book about city politics surrounding the first MLB team to play in Seattle - The Pilots. It's not so much a book about baseball as it is about a community growing up from a regional to a world-class city.

    In just 100 pages "Plastic Donuts by Jeff Anderson takes the viewpoint that our giving 'delights the heart of the Father.' It's a fresh approach to the biblical teaching on tithing and it's not what you might think!

    "Getting Things Done" by David Allen is my attempt to bring some calm organization to my life, proving that I'm never too old to learn something new (or at least to try). He presents an entire system that may take a while to fully implement but it looks promising.