June 4, 2014

Spring Book Snippets

If you're new, book snippets are just snapshots of what I've finished reading recently this year. 

To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain by Matt Chandler and Jared C. Wilson. A comprehensive (yet relatively short) walk-through of the book of Philippians and its core teachings and doctrines. This book runs a little bit more along the lines of reading a sermon series on a book of the Bible. So while it gets into details and you're studying a specific book, the authors share some of their own stories and experiences in light of what's being learned by the church in Phillipi--commonly referred to by many as the joy church.

Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul by Mark Buchanan. A couple years back I ended up writing a whole blog series after having read and enjoyed (greatly) Mark's book The Rest of God (see here), so naturally I wanted to read more of his work. True to form, Buchanan's well-crafted, auto-biographical, and at times humorous stories were present throughout Spiritual Rhythm, along with wisdom and teaching on what it means to be an follower of Christ who abides with the Savior through every season Christians usually go through. The books defines four main soul seasons that our examined in the first half of the book, then the second is spent unpacking four practices (prayer, worship, reading scripture, and community) that apply to these seasons but how they look different in each one. Buchanan also tosses in his works of poetry throughout the book as well. 

God's Good Design: What the Bible Really Says About Men and Women by Claire Smith. This book is just straight up hermeneutics on all the big passages of scripture that address women in the context of the local church and in marriage. The author, Claire Smith, brings a great deal to the table as she herself has gone through a journey that started as a non-Christian feminist, to a Christian feminist, to a "not-so feminist" Christian. The material itself is clear and easy to understand, but at the same time it was overwhelming (in a positive way) because this woman is a legit theologian; she gets down into the nitty-gritty details of the Greek and Hebrew interpretation. This is the sort of book that I usually hope to read when I have a significant chunk of free time to really get after it since it's so dense content-wise. Unfortunately, reading it took me what felt like forever because of just my schedule, so I would say if you read this one, make sure to read it with extended free time. Picking it up and putting it down several times is just not the best way to go about reading this one; otherwise, if you're like me you'll loose the train of thinking too much and have to do a great deal of re-reading. But otherwise a super thorough book on the topic.

Echos of Eden: Reflections on Christianity, Literature, and the Arts by Jerram Barrs. I will say that I have not read this book in it's entirety yet (I have only read to chapter 4 or 5 I believe), since my sister absconded it recently to read on her days off for the start of summer. Having read many other books from Barrs though, I can say that it's just as well written and engaging. I've also listened to many of the lectures from his classes (which can be found here) where he discusses a great deal of what has lead to the birth of this book. The book is basically split into two sections. The first, a series of chapters that examine the heart and calling of creators who reflect THE Creator on earth through the various arts and how we go about judging good art--specifically literature and writing. The second part of the book then takes a handful famous authors and examines their works: C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Shakespeare, Jane Austin, and J.K. Rowling--all of whom have left fingerprints and hints of Eden as well as Biblical ideas throughout their writing. (If you go to the site linked above you can access classes where he talks about other authors as well such as Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beatrix Potter, The Bronte Sisters, Elizabeth Gaskell, and more)

Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God's Image by Hannah Anderson. Refreshing and revitalizing are the two words I'd pick to describe my enjoyment of this book. It's a book I want to put in the hands of every woman, young and old. All too often as women I think we have the tendency to identify more with our status, what we do, and even our gender before we examine being made in the imago dei--the image of God. The image of God is the first thing God tells us about ourselves (regardless of gender); it's the big picture. In women's ministry we often get straight to the details, which rightly so ought to be informed by the bigger picture, before getting our roots down deep into all that the imago dei means, creating what Anderson calls identity myopia, which in turn creates other issues many women struggle with that are unnecessary (self-imposed), nor all that biblically informed really. If we want to discuss and understand our identity as women of God, we have to become deeply grounded in what it means to be made in God's likeness first, which is what Anderson's book dives into. Check out Hannah Anderson's great blog as well: sometimesalight.com
Too often as women, we have restricted ourselves to the "pink" parts of the Bible. When we identify first and foremost as women, we can begin to believe that knowledge of ourselves will come primarily through passages that speak to women's issues or include heroines like Ruth or Esther. But when we do this, when we craft our learning and discipleship programs around being "women," we make womanhood the central focus of our pursuit of knowledge instead of Christ. 

Your turn to share! What have you been reading recently?


  1. Hello! Girl, you have been reading some pretty heavy stuff. I have several books started-something I never used to do-and they are all good. My favorite right this minute is Sacred Rhythms. I am in the middle of a study with some of my Holy Yoga sisters and this book is rocking my world!

    1. Very cool Susan! I have a feeling that you would enjoy any of March Buchanan's books =)

  2. Mmmm, this makes me want to pick up a book or two. The Claire Smith and Jerram Barrs books are now on my list. :)

    I finally finished God as Author (Gene Fant). It is so good. My first academic read, and it wasn't as intimidating as I thought. :) It was a beautiful approach to the arts, storytelling, and the world (even the pagan parts), showing that it all is a reflection of God's ultimate narrative.

    I also finished reading the last book in Andrew Peterson's Wingfeather Saga. If you haven't read those yet, you would love them. I wept at the end. They are children's books, but in the tradition of Lewis, it means they have so much to offer! I can't wait to read them to my kids. I'm desperate to find a random kid somewhere who will just sit and let me read it aloud to them. :D

    1. I haven't heard of either of those, but you know me Jen, I'll be sure to look into them soon! =D


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