In such a time, opting to pause and reflect, rather than panic or withdraw, is a necessity. It is not a luxury or distraction–it is a way to increase the odds that you’ll better understand, and engage productively with, the world around you.
Didn’t intend it when I scheduled it, but this turned into a celebration of all those who have stepped into critical roles in the life of Austin Mustard Seed. And now maintain critical roles as they carry forward the life of our church community. One of the easiest sermons I’ve ever preached, because really it just required me to talk about people I have deep affection for.
So the thing is, Chris is a good friend, and I was closely tied to the early days of Help One Now. But I hadn’t read his book. I finally started in on it a couple months ago to prep for the Make Good series at Austin Mustard Seed.
Starting a job with Help One Now certainly wasn’t on my radar at the time. But now it’s imminent. (Something I need to write about more in depth here on the blog.) Nobody has asked me if I’ve read the book anywhere in the process, but I’m ready to say yes if they do.
This doesn’t completely read like a biography. It’s biography enough though, in that it serves as a helpful introduction to how all of the Paul related pieces of the New Testament fit together. And it offers an overall view of how Paul’s developing theology fits in early and contemporary Christian conversation.
Also, it is NT Wright. I read everything he publishes.
A privilege to take the new design for Jonathan Dodson’s new site and turn it into a working WordPress theme. While jiggling around in the backend I was reminded that I first created a theme for Jonathan almost ten years ago. Great job on the design, Jeremiah Chaney!
And while were at it, congrats to Jonathan on the release of is new book, Here in Spirit, today!
Happy to see that the Siri Shortcuts app picks up from Workflow with everything still intact. All my prior workflows work great, like that one that’s publishing these words. Seems a little faster too.
Continuing our journey, and my final series, through the life of Nehemiah. Getting a little more personal in this one, as I think circumstances dictate. Also, many apologies to all for three points that formed the acrostic H-I-P. They really were the best words to use.
The quest continues to work through some classics with my kids. In this case Beowulf, which I’d never read myself.
This is more of a paraphrase of the original, so I hope it isn’t considering cheating. It was very readable though, so I think we made a good choice.
Super duper likely this will end up being one of the most influential books I read this year. A collection of themes that have been on my mind in recent years, but presented in a way that pulls them all together.
So much of what happens in our marketing saturated culture is corporations hooking us into something that’s not healthy for us and keeps pulling us back. He explores the addictive and toxic effects of sugar and social media, among other things. But it’s not all a diatribe, as he ends the book with several thoughtful chapters on exploring a better way for individuals to live.
I read the audiobook and got more out of it than I normally do an audiobook. But I’ll be returning soon to the words on page version — there’s more for me to take away from this book, I’m sure.
The beginning of what is to be my final series of teaching at Austin Mustard Seed. A look at the life of Nehemiah that’s not focused on how to be a great leader or entrepreneur, as Nehemiah is often taught. But it is about how to prepare ourselves and partner with others to join in God’s work of rebuilding and repairing rather than settling into the cynicism and despair that is mor prevalent in our day.
A book I’ve been interested in for a long time. The idea of flow is that all of us are capable of achieving some kind of optimal working condition where attention is tuned and effort seems streamlined. It’s an idea that’s common often for me both in conversations and inner ponderings.
Yet, it’s a challenging book to read, and one you almost have to feel like you’re already in Flow to engage. It’s a deep dive. I appreciate that it’s not a simple how-to manual constructed for quick sales, but almost requiring one to achieve levels of flow to stay engaged and read it. Yet, for others (and me at times), that depth might be a challenge to read through at a time when so many of us would benefit from why the engaged levels of attention of flow are worth regaining.
I don’t even recall where I found this one — pretty sure it was another from the Best of 2017 lists. Curious and entertaining with some veiled deeper themes, but I don’t think it will be first to come to mind in conversations I might have about recent books I read.
The first time I’ve ever taught on Zacchaeus at Austin Mustard Seed, I think? And certainly the first time I ever used the story of Zacchaeus as a calling to participate in small groups of any kind. But I’d do it again.
Much of the recent reading I’ve with my kids has been historically based fiction that we’ve pulled from the recommended reading lists in The Well-Trained Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer.
Most of those books, we’re really enjoyed. Considering this one was a Newbury winner, it didn’t stand out like others we’ve read. Reads as somewhat dated, but I guess that’s because it is!
Sheesh. I’m way overdue posting this one. Listen in, and you’ll get the impression that Tim could have talked another two hours about the creative process of sermon prep. And I would have gladly listened.
I went on a reading binge about eating and the food industry several years ago, working through some mainstream books by Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman, alongside some deeper theological reads by Wendell Berry, Ellen Davis and Norman Wirzba.
It all changed the way I view food, though it probably didn’t change my own eating habits enough.
I still have interest in the topic, and I’m especially aware of Dan Barber after he was featured in one of my favorite episodes of Chef’s Table.
The Third Place was a good addition to my prior reading, though some of it was lost on me as we talked a lot about fish. I’ve never liked fish. Yet another area of food for me to be challenged in because, as I understand it, fish should clearly be a growing part of our diets for sustainability sake.
Longtime Austin residents tend to hate a shopping/living/workspace development called the Domain — so they might be happy to know I likened it to voodoo in this one. Sort of. But I also talked about Paul and Barnabas’ time in ancient Philippi being pestered by a little girl (well, an evil spirit in truth) and singing in prison.
My personality likes to take it all in and try to learn a little something about lots of things. And, as that plays out, I also tend to get bored with subjects and want to move on quickly to the next idea that’s out there to be explored.
One of the subjects, though, that I never tire of is early Christian history. Anything around the first and early second century holds my interest, and I can even tolerate a lot of repeat information to glean out those unique factoids and perspectives different writers might offer.
I picked this up after a glowing recommendation in one of the conversations on the Bible Project podcast. Based on what I named, I was a little surprised that I wasn’t familiar with Larry Hurtado. I am now, and I’m sure more of his writing will make it’s way through my reading list.
I don’t often like to go back and re-read books…and I consider this a fault, more than a strength. But sheesh, there are just so many I want to read.
But I do have a list of books that I have intentions to get back to. Either because they were really good and deserved further thought even years later. Or because I wonder how much more I could get out of them in a new season of life.
The Prophetic Imagination has long been a stand out for me, and it was as valuable last month as it was 8 years ago. (And why, oh why, don’t I have any notes from my first reading of it in my blog archives?) There may not be many books I can compel myself to read again, but I’m glad this was one of them.
Quite possibly, in all my years of preaching and Bible teaching, my first reference to the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. Some meaningful and life important stuff to be found in here too, of course.