a trio of great reads

October 6, 2008

Last week, I wrapped up three books that I had been working through. It has been a rich couple of weeks reading these books, and I wouldn’t be surprised if all three of these make it on my list of favorite reads of 2008. By the way, none of these were books I was sent for review…just good reads that I think are worth a mention…

Jesus Wants to Save Christians – by Rob Bell and Don Golden
Rob Bell continues to be a voice that helps shape a lot of my thinking. This was my favorite of his books, and I think it gives a helpful framework for reading the Bible as a whole. It should only be seen as a summary of the Biblical narrative, and not a comprehensive one at that. But, it provides an important understanding for how one should see the context of Jesus’ ministry in the first century and the ministry of the church in the 21st. Scot McKnight’s response to this book matched up with many of my own thoughts, or perhaps I should say my thoughts matched up with his.

Signs of Emergence – by Kester Brewin
This book was first recommended to me a few years ago when it was published in Britain under the title The Complex Christ. I wish I wouldn’t have waited so long to read it. If there an “emerging church genre” of books, than this one is at or near the top of the list for me. It is a thoughtful book, and not just a “here’s some cool stuff we’ve done to be emerging in our church” kind of book. Lost in much of the emerging church discussion at a popular level is how the term came about in the first place — the idea that “the principle of emergence is all about bottom-up change.” (pg. 35) The emerging church must be seen as more than a response to the prior church, or as a popular church culture phenomenon, and Brewin helps us understand its origins in the developing science of emergence.

What is the What? – by Dave Eggers
I have to be honest here, when this book released a few years ago, I shied away from reading it. I assumed it wouldn’t be as ‘fun’ to read as Eggers’ previous books. It isn’t. It is the story of one of the Sudanese Lost Boys. It is published as fiction, though it is based on the life and memories of Valentino Achak Deng, who worked closely with Eggers. The fiction label, along with the description of events that seem to awful to be true, created a bit of denial for me as I read the first half of the book. I knew that stores such as this happen daily, but when you don’t see them firsthand, it is so much more convenient to write them off, isn’t it? But I need to be reminded, I need to see what happens in our broken world, even if I don’t see it firsthand every day. Now may God give me the will and courage to repond to that which I don’t want to see.

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