Saturday, March 29, 2008

Favorite books?

I'll toss out a possible topic for discussion.
What has been your favorite book of the last two or three years? Let's say that it does not have to be theologically or religiously oriented -- it could be humor, novel, historical, devotional or any other genre. I have several books in mind that have had a formative influence on my thinking. I'm not sure yet which one I would pick as my favorite. I'll get back to you on that.

A secondary question might be which genre is your favorite? I am currently a fan of macro-historical books dealing with early modern European empires. Probably my favorite was C.R. Boxer's "Four Centuries of Portuguese Expansion, 1415-1825" (1969). It is only 100 pages long and written in simple English but brilliantly covers four centuries of European colonialism.

here are a couple of more questions:
-What book have you read twice, and might read again?
-What book do you have on your shelf to read that you are most looking forward to?
-Have you ever paid more than 50$ for a book?
-Do you have any written notes or summaries of books that you might share with others?

Remember Brian's suggestion that we keep our comments to 500 words or less...


Randy R. said...

I just made a post for the previous quesion (last one?), and now have the honor and privilege of making the first post for Joseph's new question! Linda and I are in Louisville, Kentucky visting with my mom and her husband, Ed. My my still lives in the home that she and my dad had built in 1950. My father died from cancer in 1967 and my mom remained a widow until 1996 when I had the incredible experience of performing the wedding for she and Ed (also my Dad's name!). It is almost sur-real(sp) to visit the same home I grew up in. I just returned from a 45" walk, passing the elementary school that I attended, familiar streets and homes from my youth, etc.! Enough nostalgia! To answer Joseph's question, when I visited with him in 1995 and made my first of now almost 10 short-term mission trips, he turned me on to "recreational reading." I used to think that was a sin :-{ (just kidding). I read my first book on that eventful trip (Apollo 13). At the 10 year anniversary of that trip, I calculated that I had read more that 50 books for soley recreational reading puposes! Thank you, Joseph. By far, my favorite author is Stephen Lawhead. He is a Christian man, writing in the genre of historical fiction. The main characters share our faith, but not in an obtrusive or religious manner. All of his stories take place during the times of the Crusades, King Arthur, Saint Patrick, etc. His latest series (3 volumes) is Robin Hood. To date I have read about thirteen of his books, and even as I type this I am currently rereading what I feel is the absolute best of his novels: Byzantium. I cannot more highly recommend a book! I first read it a year after my trip to Istanbul (1997). My second favorite series are likewise historical fiction, The Civil War . . . Killer Angels, The Last Full Measure, and Gods and Generals, all of which I have read twice! Time to run . . .going to one of my brother's for dinner tonight, celebrating my mom's 85th birthday, then watching the Louisville/North Carolina game. One of my brothers graduated from U.L. and is on their board. My other brother and my mom, both completed their graduate work at Louisville. Should be fun!

Brian Emmet said...

We'll be watching the game with you, Randy. Eldest daughter Katie is with us this weekend, heading off to a work conference in Worcester. Her hubby is a big Tar Heel fan, and made her "promise" to watch the game tonight. Our youngest, Peter, and his new bride Amelia will join us, so it's one of those increasingly rare times when (most of) our family is together in one place. And thanks for your personal report from Lousiville, childhood.

Thoughtful question(s), Joseph--thank you. And everyone, let's remember that we can keep two (or more) posts active--no need to neglect John's probings about the future, while also sharing books that have nourished us. Remember to check both strings while you're here.

Recreational reading--mysteries, especially of the hard-boiled genre: Robert Parker, James Lee Burke, William Tapply, Nero Wolfe, Sara Paretsky, KC Constantine--believe me, I have STACKS in my basement, so let me know if you'd like to dip into one/some, and I'd be happy to share, for free! Warning: these are not "Christian" books.

Treasures I have recently returned to: Eugene Peterson's "Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places" and "The Jesus Way"; RF Capon's "The Mystery of Christ and Why We Don't Get It"; Walter Wangerin's "Reliving the Passion" (every Lent) and "Preparing for Jesus" (every Advent).

John M. said...

Books! Thanks Joseph, this is a great one to respond to...

Biggest impact - "Organic Church" by Neil Cole. I have already skimmed through it a couple times since reading it, and will definitely read it again in the future. It would also qualify as the book I've most recommended since I read it a couple years ago.

Second in all the above categories is "The Forgotten Ways" by Alan Hirsch. Waiting on my shelf is "Exiles, Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture" by Hirsch's partner, Michael Frost.

Currently reading, "Crazy for God, How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of it Back" by Frank Schaeffer. It's a great read. Makes me want to go back and read his autobiographical novels.

Most anticipated unread - is "Christ the Lord, the Road to Cana", Anne Rice's second historical novel on the life of Jesus. The first in the trilogy, written just after she came back to the faith of her youth, a few years ago was "Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt", an awesome, faith-building book that I will definitely read again.

Second, unread, most anticipated is "The World is Flat"

Other relatively recent, high impact books: "A Generous Orthodoxy", by Brian McLaren, and "Orthodoxy" by Thomas Oden. And finally, "Light from the Christian East", by James R. Payton -- the infamous book that Joseph and I finally had to stop trying to discuss last fall!

Thanks for sharing Randy. I read "Byzantium" a few years ago at Steve Humble's recommendation.

Watching the LOU/UNC game as I write. Louisville trying to come back, two-point game with 6:30 to go.

josenmiami said...

Hi guys, good comments.

There was a recent Scott McKnight post on dealing with the need for civility that mentioned some controversy surrounding “Crazy for God.”

Os Guiness wrote a critical review of Franky Schaeffer’s book, Crazy for God, in which he lamented Franky’s criticism of his mother and father and their faith.

John M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John M. said...

I am almost finished with "Crazy for God" I identify with so much of Frank's journey. I read Os's response to the book, and Frank's "rebuttal".

To me the book is refreshing. The overall effect for me is a deeper respect for and understanding of Francis and Edith as real people, who sincerely struggled with the issues of life just like the rest of us, and who made a tremendous impact on a generation. But they were neither perfect nor the one-dimensional cardboard cutouts that most of us know them as.

Frank writes frankly from his own perspective (some of which is childhood memories). He is quick to acknowledge that others will remember things differently.

He also solicits the memories of his sisters, their husbands, his own children and some of the Schaeffer associates from years past and prints their comments verbatim. Maybe Guiness is upset because he wasn't asked to submit his memories. In fact he is only mentioned in one brief paragraph, fairly early in the book.

Ultimately, this is Frank's story, not anyone else's, and he freely acknowledges his own sins and shortcomings, calling himself a "smart ass" and an "ass hole" numerous times describing his attitude and demeanor as a teenager and young adult, including the '80's and '90's. He even quotes others as characterizing him as "the little shit from Switzerland", and he says nothing to challenge that assessment.

I guess some will question whether such an airing of dirty laundry and publishing of family quirks and dysfunctions is necessary, and whether there might be a bit of hubris in the subtitle.

But it has been written. It is out there and being reviewed by the public critics. It will not be found in your local Christian bookstore. By deciding to write the book, Frank decided to tell his parents' story too -- how can you write your memoir without telling your family's story? He also tells his own family's story up to the present, and lets his children give some of their own reflections.

If you don't want to buy it, borrow it from the library or spend a couple afternoons at Barnes and Noble reading it off the shelf.

John M. said...

FYI I just published by treatise on "Future Visioning" on the other thread, if anyone is interested.

josenmiami said...

no slam against Frank...but it does sound like something high on my priority list... I left a note on the previous threat about Rodney Stark, Roger Finke (sociologists of religion) waiting for me on my shelf, and I have a half dozen N.T. Wright books further up the food chain than the Schaeffer reality show. Again, no offense intended.

John M. said...

I understand. I had several reasons for being attracted to it -- mostly historical, and the fact that I needed to read something "recreational", quick and easy. It fits all of those categories, while at the same time raising many important issues, and touching on some very personal ones for me as I continue on my journey. But I wouldn't expect everyone to want to read it.

steve H said...

Lawhead, yes! Sayers! Recently been reading another inkling - Charles Williams (Some of your goths and vampires might relate to William's supernatural thrillers, Joseph.) Murder mysteries, yes! All those Brian mentioned are favorites. James Lee Burke (especially the Dave Robicheaux novels) and P.L. Gaus are great too.

"The Journals of Alexander Schmemann" are great reading --even "devotional" much of the time. John Zizioulas and N.T. Wright are my current favorites in theological writing.

Then there's Louis L'amour for a respite from time to time.

I enjoyed Frank Schaeffer's novel "Portofino" -- hilarious! But the two sequels, though funny at points got tiresome because of some of the same sort of childish reactionary stuff that mars "Crazy for God" in my opinion.

Enough already, Steve

josenmiami said...

I love Charles William's novels. I have read all of them and my two favorite were "Descent into Hell" and "War in Heaven."

Also read all 80 of the Louis L'Amour books, most of them twice or three times, in dark period of my life when I needed light reading and could not sleep.

Favorite book? The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I have read it 3 or 4 times in English, Once in Spanish, and just recently in Portugues.

The books that made the greatest impact on me? Watchman Nee's "Normal Christian Church Life", Ladds' "The Gospel of the Kingdom" and the Master Plan of Evangelism. I might also throw in a "B" list including "The Celtic Way of Evangelism." I have read the first three books each two times and might read Nee's book yet again.

Most expensive book I have bought? (aside from textbooks) Frederick J. Reiter, They Built Utopia (The Jesuit Missions in Paraguay, 1610-1788). It has a lot of flaws methodologically, but I paid $65 for it because I could not find it for cheaper and there is no other comparable work on the Jesuit theocratic Indian kingdom (anyone remember The Mission?).

The book that I most want to read on my “to read” list? Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society. Second down in the list? N.T. Wright’s “Surprised by Hope.”

The two intellectual classics that I want to read this summer? Thomas S. Kukn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” (he the guy that invented the concept of paragidigm change) and Karl Mannheim, “Ideology and Utopia, An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge.” This is the acknowledge classic on the concept of ideology.

The one book that gave me more pleasure than any other in my whole life? “The Sacket Brand” which features Tell Sackett with 40 gunslingers after him. It was a particularly lonely period of my life and I felt like I had 40 gunslingers after me. I was wishing I was a “Sackett” and all my brothers and cousins would come running stand and fight and bleed with me l like a “band of brothers.”

ah…good books…what a treasure!

Brian Emmet said...

I'm partway through Wright's "Surprised by Hope," so let's chat when you finish; I'm enjoying it.

Most expensive book I own...? It was a gift, and a much-appreciated and revisited one: Everett Fox's "The Five Books of Moses," which is his fresh translation from the Hebrew. The notes alone are worth the price of admission (which I think is around $75, but they may have released it in paperback).

Whilst speaking of books, it reminded me of my 13 years in the bookstore business--our little corproation owned 4 stores in the greater Boston area, and some days my commute totalled 140 miles. The current cover story of Christianity Today is about the demise and possible hope of independent bookstores; it featured a couple of folks I know from way back then, one of whom had to finally close his store after 30+ years. I enjoyed those years, but man, I do not miss retailing!

Amen to the Charles Williams kudos--I think it may be time for me to revisit them!

josenmiami said...

well about three or four of us have mentioned Charles Williams. It would be interesting to use this format sometime to read and discuss a short book together.

I forgot to add that the best way to read a Louis L'Amour book is to read it late at night, preferably at 1 am in the morning, with a cigar and a class of scotch, with no one around and near enough to the ocean to hear the pounding of the surf... what a cure for pastoral burnout! (believe me, been there, done that).

I hope we hear from Michael who is avid a George McDonald fan.

Brian Emmet said...

I confess: I don't do, never have done, cowboy novels. No Lamour, no McMurtry, no Zane Grey...what's wrong with me?

Randy R. said...

Since we are making confessions, I have never heard of Charles Williams! Any suggestions as to where to begin with his works?

By the way, for all you "listening" bloggers, Yesterday, Linda and I had a three hour lunch with Chuck Bass and Cherie (Gary Henley's daugther), followed later by a three hour dinner with our family. Absolutely fantastic time! Cherie is moving to Morocco to hopefully get to know Chuck better. Exciting!

josenmiami said...

yes, Chuck called me from Naples but I was leaving town for NOlA.

Randy, I would start with "War in Heaven" ... to my thinking, it is the simplist of his books and, in some ways, the most spiritual. There is a great character in the book who is an excellent example of the best in the pastoral-clergy role. He also symbolizes personal worship ... he is contantly humming and singing the Pslams to himself as he cheerfully faces terrible evil.

Descent into Hell is also really good but a bit more ... esoteric or supernatural.

Brian, you should try The Sackett Brand. If you don't like it, I'll pay you the price of the book. My other favorite is "Flint" , not a Sackett book, but a great novel about a wealthy man who thinks he is dying of cancer and goes out west to find an isolated spot to die, and along the way finds true love and courage.

Eagleman said...

Hello, Friends. I have been away from the blogger scene for a while. Thanks for provoking me to return, Joseph.

My two favorite books of the year have been somewhat local. The first was written in 1925, and is the journal of an American who crossed into the Rifi Berber rebel country (near our home) during the French and Spanish occupation of Morocco. He spent a few months imprisoned in a cave, and another few months in the palace of the head Rifi leader. It was full of insights into the history of the culture here. Amazing how few things have changed. I returned the book to its owner and don't have the title and author handy. If someone is interested, I will get the info for you.

The other was Pilgrims of Christ on the Muslim Road by Paul-Gordon Chandler. It's the biography of a good friend, Mazhar Mallouhi. He is a Syrian writer who has followed Christ in the Arab world for 40+ years, has written a number of popular novels in Arabic, and is a well-known literary intellectual over here. He has spend some serious time in prisons for his faith, and has been banned from several Arab countries. Nevertheless, he continues to touch the lives of many leaders and intellecuals. His latest, "A Sufi Reading of the Injeel (Gospel) of John" won a book of the year award from Aljazeera. Fascinating story of a guy who really knows how to build bridges in impossible places.

My all-time favorite is Nee's Normal Christian Life. It saved my life, my marriage and my faith when I lost my son to a drunk driver on Christmas day only 7 months after beginning to walk with Christ.

Most read? Divine Conspiracy. I don't honestly know how many times. I will read it again. Bottomless!

thewideopenspaces said...

Have you ever felt like a kid who arrived late to the merry-go-round? There it goes, spinning right in front of you, but you can't seem to run fast enough with it to climb aboard! Forgive my perusing the comments, threads, and insights. I'll get to the point where I can "jump on" soon and maybe even climb up on one of those up-and-down horsies. In the meantime, I'm enjoying what I see.

Brian Emmet said...

Thanks, Eagle and Wide Open--welcome! Chime in!

John M. said...

Eagle and Wide Open Spaces, welcome. We also have another thread going, "Future Visioning". Check it out and throw in your comments.

thewideopenspaces said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chris hyatt said...

Gentlemen! Forgive my mistypings. I think I've finally corrected my profile, etc. Thank you to Joseph (If Paul was the apostle to the gentiles, Joseph surely is the apostle to cyberspace) for making me aware of this forum. My two favorite books for the recent season are George MacDonald's devotional "Diary of an Old Soul," which wraps profundity and brevity in the same volume. And "The Return of the Prodigal Son: A story of Homecoming: by Henri J.M. Nouwen. My comments on both?? simply that the titles speak for themselves. Its good to see all of you again. Chris (thewideopenspaces)

John said...

Wonderful to see your name! Judy and I think of you often. We will be going through Texas in June, maybe see you?
I'm currently reading the The's gotten a lot of buzz. Well written. Recently read Church Shift, by Sunday Adelaja. If our vision is less than discipling nations, it's too small. An amazing story, a Kingdom book through and through!
John L

chris hyatt said...

Hello John. My love to Judy. Would love to visit about more in depth about your journey to TX. Email - my Blah-blah-blahg is at

josenmiami said...

its wonderful to have Chris in here with us as well as eagleman...welcome! I told Chris when he found me on facebook that it felt like a couple of lost and homesick hobits meeting up in the mines of Moria... (if you unfamiliar with Tolkien, that means it felt good).

LeRoy emailed me pesonally his book thoughts and gave me permission to post them in a comment. I think he is traveling at the moment.

I'm not sure I have a "favorite" book. I tend to be both accepting, and critical at the same time. I try to find the good without swallowing stuff just because it's good writing. Truth matters more than style. I hope people in the USA understand that before they vote this year! I was late reading Rick Warren's book, "The Purpose Driven Life". It is a bit corny in part, but certainly thought provoking, as is John Eldredge's "Wild at Heart".

Usually I like historical literature. Things like "The Lunatic Express"...the building of the East African Railway in Kenya, or "The Scramble for Africa"..a history of imperial conquest in Africa. I also like what I would call"popular ecclesiology" and "popular missiology", things like Howard Snyder's "Community of the King" or "The problem with Wineskins"...still good reads in the post modern era. George Allen Ladd's "The Gospel of the Kingdom" is another oldy, but goody. Add in Roland Allen's two classics, "Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours" and "The
spontaneous Expansion of the Church" and you have an effective and relevant mini-theology already developed.

I have read Emil Brunner's "Misunderstanding of the Church" about 10 times and will read it again. At Asbury Seminary I was taught to read Neo-orthodox theologians with very much suspicion, but found them to be asking the "right" questions, rather than answering questions that weren't even being asked, as were many Evangelical apologists. Bart, Bonhoeffer, Brunner, and others made me think about what I believed. It was meat. Much of the Evangelical stuff was mindless pap with not an once of substance or flavor.

I have only paid $50 or more for textbooks that were lieu of hours spent at a library instead of at home where I COULD HAVE WINE OR BEER WITH MY STUDY. I coughed up $52 for "a Theological Dictionary of the New Testament" that I still use regularly.

I'm not in a reading mood right now. Not hanging with intellectuals, so I don't have anyone to impress. I'm into March Madness...go Heels..and other trivial pursuits.

I used to write summaries...cliff notes for myself for later use. In Covenant of yesteryear everybody was reading the same thing. We had kinda' a book of the quarter club, mostly assigned by leadership and mostly written by our "own" guys. I lost interest in even talking about what I was didn't seem to matter.
I hope this was helpful.
God bless you

LeRoy added a postscript that he is not actually quite as 'reactionary' as he sounds. I think he and i must be in about the same place.

I want to 'ditto' his recommedatoins of Roland ALlen...for anyone interested in missions Allen's books are a must read.

John M. said...

Hey guys, it's great to have some fresh voices contributing over here. Good stuff. Good to hear from Leroy and all...

Suggestion. Click on the thread just under this one, Future Visioning, and check out the last three posts.

I'm assuming that no one has been over there to read the issue Joseph raised -- "In evangelizing and discipling how do we respond to the practice of single couples living together among believers and

Surely someone thinks this is worthy of a comment or two. Come on over...

John M. said...

After I dropped the last post, I visited a website called "the fermi project". Anyone heard of it? If you're interested in taking the church to the culture, the future of the church, etc., it's worth checking out:

Randy R. said...

Back again, on the merry-go-round, GREAT image, Chris, and GREAT to hear from you! God bless you! Likewise, it was good to hear from LeRoy. I have N.C. beating Memphis in the championship game Monday night!

In my earlier post I didn't comment on the more spiritual books that have had an influence in my life. Ironically, some of the ones that have had the most profound effect have been among the shortest: "Practicing the Presence of God" by Brother Andrew, dramatically changed my life when I read it on the island of Sicily, during the summer of 1976! Another one the cast a vision, which I have continually followed is the "Body of Christ," by Bob Mumford. I have read most of Henri Nouwen's books and like Chris was profoundly impacted by "The Return of the Prodigal Son." I also drank deeply from "Can You Drink This Cup?" :-} Another book that I am guess ing that Iam y have been the only one to read (it would be really neat if someone else "listening" has heard of it!!!) is "The Persecutor" by Sergei Kourdakov. It is his biography, a Russian, communist, who systematically raided Christian gatherings, severly beating the believers, who himself, one day, came to faith! Powerful story! Another one on my hit list is "Evangelism in the Early Church" by Michael Green. One book that I keep multiple copies on hand to give to folks who might benefit from it is "The Wounded Heart," by Dan Allendar ... which I believe is the best book out there on sexual abuse. Lastly, I would add, "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Phillip Yancey. Powerful!

As it appears to be true with most of these bloggers, I love books. Bob Mumford once compared his library to a host of friends from which he had drawn help, encouragement, advice, counsel, etc. I can only say, "Amen."

josenmiami said...

Michael Green's Evangelism in the Early Church! that is an awesome book and had a profound impact on me as well...

I have only read one of Henri Nouwen's books (don't recall the name at the moment). You guys are whetting my appetite to read the rest of them. I think I know what I'll be doing when I retire!

Brian Emmet said...

Hey, guys, glad to be back. I was out of town over the weekend--in Columbus, working on the ACM October gathering. I flew Sky Bus out there, but as you may have heard, was not able to fly them back home--they went bust on me! Anyway, I got home today instead of last night, so no big deal. But the return flight was way more costly than the trip out!

I should mention the works of N.T. Wright as among the books I am enjoying and finding most helpful.

smokin joe said...

I just read this on Scott McKnight’s blog about an author I had never heard of, in the tradition of the inklings, Thomas Howard. Anyone know his work?

(from Scott McKnight)
I wish I could tell you that I have been a long-time reader of Thomas Howard. I can’t. Discovering his absolutely splendid The Night is Spent filled my Easter weekend and occasional moments with joy, insight, ruminations, and pleasure in his delightful prose.
Any fans of Thomas Howard out there? Any former students? Who’ll speak up for this man?
I must unload one little point first: Sometime ago Thomas Howard must have discovered, perhaps in an old box of things no longer used, the word “piquant” and then and there decided it might be the finest word in the English vocabulary. Go ahead, I say to you my reader, read straight through The Night is Far Spent and underline each instance. (I give the definitions below.)
Howard mastered the Inklings — Lewis, Tolkien, Williams, Owen Barfield and Warnie, with others. That distinguished group of beer drinking, manuscript reading, and Christian thinking group met at The Eagle and the Child. A friend of mine sent me a picture of the pub.

photo of the Inklings pub, the Eagle and Child posted on the main page....

John M. said...

There are a lot of Thomas Howard's out there, including a pirate, a series of English Dukes, and a pseudonym used by Jessie James, but I think this is the Thomas Howard you're looking for Joseph.

Thomas Howard is a highly acclaimed writer and scholar. A convert to Roman Catholicism, he is known for his studies of C.S. Lewis, and Charles Williams, as well as for books such as his Christ the Tiger (1967) and Evangelical is Not Enough (1988).

His most recent book is Dove Descending: A Journey Into T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets (2006).

His sister is well-known author and former missionary Elisabeth Elliot.

Courtesy Wikipedia.

P.S. I did have enough enough about him to do the search, and know that he had converted to Roman Catholicism a few years back. Created quite a stir in the evangelical world at the time. But I have not read anything by him.

Brian Emmet said...

I know of him and his work--he's a New Englander, after all. Prominent in evangelical circles (hey, the brother of E. Elliott!), and then did convert to Catholicism, which did create a stir.

I would highly commend his work to all, along with that of another evangleical-become-Catholic, Peter Kreeft. Kreeft's little book, "How to Win the Culture War" would be a great place to start--it's short (and do not let the title put you off), less than 100 pages, lively and fun. In fact, if all you do is read the little "drama" at the end of the book--perhaps 8-10 pages--you'll have a good sense for Kreeft as an author.

Like Howard, Kreeft is an "expert" in Tolkien, Lewis, the Inklings, etc.

smokin joe said...

Now I am making the connection!

I knew "David" Howard (Elizabeth's other brother) as a missionary to Colombia and later as the President of Latin America Mission, where my wife worked in the 90s here in Miami. I also met E.Elliot once briefly.

I remember hearing about Thomas when he joined Catholicism, but I did not realize he was an author. I might even have his book on C.W. on my shelf...I never paid attention to the author's name. There is a listing of quotes and books that he has written at this url:

by-the-way, have any of your ever heard of Fran├žois Fenelon? He was also Catholic, an Archbishop in the 18th century if I am not mistaken. His book, The Seeking Heart is the best devotional I have ever read, bar none. Although he was Catholic, he was respected and even loved by many French early forerunner of pluralist dialogue!

Brian Emmet said...

Heard of Fenelon, but have not read him. I used to work in a bookstore, so I feel that I "know" many authors whose books I've never read!

smokin joe said...

Brian, I highly recommend Fenelon's devotional book, The Seeking Heart.

I looked in my office and found that I already have Thomas Howard's book The Novels of Charles Williams and I read it several years ago... I never paid attention to the author's name becasue I failed to make the connection.

I would be tempted to read his book Evangelical is not enough but it might make me want to become a Catholic. I am more inclined at the moment to join the Society of Friends... hehehe

by the way, i only have 3 more books to read for school this semester, Jeremy Adelman's Sovereignty and REvolution, in the Iberian Atlantic and Paul Preston's Juan Carlos and his other book Franco...

I discovered I have an extra copy of the Juan Carlos book if anyone is interested...

Michael said...

So Joseph, the hook is in and you have yanked on the line...and here I am. Thanks!

Your email about Kevin Corcoran on post modernism caught my attention because at this moment I am reading JP Morelands book Kingdom Triangle, Recovering the Christian Mind, Renovate the Soul, Restore the Spirit's Power.

JP must have had an encounter with the HS as he is very greatful to the Vineyard in Aneheim to opening him up to the work of the Spirit.

JP Moreland sees Naturalism and Post Modernism as the two greatest threats to thinking christians. He believes that christians in have not thought clearly about the implications to this way of thinking and the lifestyle that they lead toward. He also believes that christians have not adequatley answered these two threats and offered alternatives that speak to what is truely real. I am with him in thinking that we have lost our ability to think and communicate truth that speaks to the issues of our day (not in a moralistic tone).
For me I find myself thinking about the following:
1) Can we be sure of what we believe and still be unsure of ourselves (especially in how we live out what we believe)? It seems like our culture in many ways have become more sure of themselves (self-esteem, self-image) and unsure of what they believe.
2) Have we missed the imperative to put lovingkindness in front of truth? That is the biblical mandate. There is to much harshness in many christian voices.
3) To often truth has been equated with control, power, self-righteousness, and manipulation. Many of us have seen this played out in how we live, in movements, and in the lives of others. For me it is apparent in the religious right and the secular left. I can see why PM would react.

I like JP's sub-title, Recover the Mind, Renovate the Soul, Restore the Spirit's Power.

smokin joe said...

welcome back Michael...several people have mentioned Moreland's book to me. I hope I'll have a chance to look at this summer. One thing the blog could faciliate that would help all of us mutliply our time and readinng power is by giving thumbnail summaries of whatever we are reading...

I agree about the lovingkindess...still thinking about the rest of your comment.

In my mind, the surpassing value of our participation in the blog is the more frequent (if not deeper) sense of relational connection...even more than the content of our opinions. Athough I have known John and Steve for years, I didn't really get to know Brian until he started this blog...and know we chat daily. also, I have come to know Matt B., Sean, Jeremiah and others better through this blog and feel more connected to them. When you disappear, you are greatly missed!

Randy R. said...

Smokin Joe? I thought that we had a new blogger . . . just that same ole' guy with a big Cuban in his hand! Nice pic, Joseph! Love you, brother!

I am 1/2 way through Moreland's book. My recommendation will come if and when I finish it!!

smokin joe said...

Since I started graduate studies I have made about 50 new friends over a 3 year period. The majority of them call me "Joe" and I spend the majority of time around them. Also, the WoW group in Homestead call call me JOe.

My family and sons in law used to be aware that I didn't like being called "Joe" but preferred Joseph, but since they have been around my new friends (who are mostly the same ages as my kids)... most of my family have started calling me Joe as well. I think it signifies a new and hopefully less narcissitic phase of my life.

Brian Emmet said...

New post up, if you're interested.