Tag Archives: books

summer reading list

I actually don’t have a list written out, just some things in mind that I’d like to have read by the end of summer.  But I call it my summer reading list, anyway, just to make myself feel good.  😉

Currently reading (I have book ADD, so help me):

Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading by Maureen Corrigan.  A literature professor reflects upon her life in relation to different plots/themes found in literature.  Only a couple chapters in so far; so far, a pleasure.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.  Been meaning to finish this one for a while.  It’s not often I get to read a novel authored by a non-Westerner, and an excellent one at that.

Sense and Sensibility. ‘nough said.

The Betrayal by Douglas Bond.  A historical novel on John Calvin.  I haven’t read a good “Christian” historical fiction work in quite a while, and I am really enjoying this one.  Calvin?  Yes.  I am a seminary  nerd.

The Bible and the Future by Anthony Hoekema.  Thanks to a theological conversation partner, Doyle, for recommending this one.  Finally, a book on eschatology NOT given from a dispensational premillennial view.  Something to chew on.

Next up:

Vintage Church by Mark Driscoll.

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Don Miller.

Anything else I should be reading?

What are you reading this summer?

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no apologies for my incessant curiosity

Here’s a question.  Actually, there are three.

If you wanted to and could publish one book, and only one, what would you write?   Why?  If you chose not publish, why not?

I’d love your responses.

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this is hilarious!

This guy has a sense of humor.  He contributes some good stuff to this blog, too.

(BTW, sorry; but you probably won’t get his humor unless you are pretty well read in the theology department.)

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in other news…

…I’m applying for re-admission to NBS for the continuation of the Master of Divinity program there.  Hopefully I’ll be able to make my way back up to Washington State before the year is up, but I have a feeling I’ll end up there one way or another.  An omen?  Maybe.  Not going to say one way or another.

Speaking of omens, you should read The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) for an interesting tale of destiny, fate, and omens.  It’s short, and if you like a good philosophical novel, you will not be disappointed.  There are some things to ponder, and some other things that are simply not true, but, hey, it’s a novel.  Whaddya expect?  It’s an enjoyable read, so go read it.

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the (infamous) shack, by william p. young

Here’s a bit of a warning (or apology) to you readers.  I know some of you like to read detail upon detail in book reviews, but in this one, I’m going to disappoint you.  And I really don’t care that much.

“Why?”  you ask.  “That’s meanish.”    Well, because:

1) I borrowed the book from the library, and had to return it before I was through analyzing all the pages I had marked, which numbered quite a few.

2) There are a gazillion other views on The Shack, and I can point to you to one of the more detailed reviews here.  You can go there after you’ve finished reading through my spiel and tell me whether I’m right or wrong.  😉

Because I did not have a chance to scour the book as well as I would’ve liked, I’m going to make this simple.  I will attempt to answer the question, should I read The Shack?

The answer:  yes, and/or no.  Ha!  I said it would be simple, didn’t I?  Don’t worry; it still is, compared to many other reviews, and the above link being one of them.

Here’s why I say “yes”.

1)  I enjoyed reading The Shack, for what it was.  I was actually surprised at the decent literary quality – it’s much better than most of what contemporary Christian fiction (CCF) has to offer.  The plot was clearly laid out, the characters well developed, and descriptions vivid.  Most of the book was dialogue, but I don’t think that discredits its literary quality in any way.  If you don’t like to read CCF because of its mediocre to poor literary quality, you would probably be pleasantly surprised with this book.  For those of you who are not familiar with The Shack or have not read it, here’s a summary.

Mack is middle-aged, and lives the pretty average life for a married guy with a family, except for one thing – The Great Sadness.  He’s been living with this ever since his six year old daughter, Missy, was abducted and murdered during a family camping trip. They never find the body; instead, they found her blood-stained dress, in a run down shack, in the middle of the forest wilderness.  One cold winter day, Mack receives a note in his mailbox, an invitation from “Papa” to come to the shack, the very same one where Missy‘s dress was found.  Not without doubts and speculations, Mack goes to the shack, and encounters the triune God (in the form of Papa, a robust African-American grandmother figure [God the Father], Jesus, a Middle Eastern carpenter [who‘d a thunk?], and Sarayu, a dainty Asian woman [the Holy Spirit]), with whom he spends the weekend, mostly in dialogue and learning.

2)   I know this is going to sound cliche, but it’s a huge element/theme running throughout the book:  I liked The Shack because of its poignant emphasis on relationship with God.  Yeah, it’s Christianese talk to speak of one’s relationship with God, but, really, how often do we remember and behave as though God is actually our Father?  Think about it, really think.  I know I’m guilty of forgetting that relationship thing, although it’s very easy to talk about, right?

Here’s why I might say “no”.

Da Vinci Code has something in common with The Shack, believe it or not.

a) They both received some not-so-nice reviews.  Actually, make that scathing reviews.

b)  They are both fiction, spun in such a way as to draw in the unwitting reader while feeding them both stories and truth mixed up really well.

I think The Shack‘s most severe critics often forget that it’s fiction, and that it has very little to no potential in being used as a seminary textbook.  That being said, The Shack is chockfull of Theology Proper (Young went to seminary, so is it really a surprise?), and it would be wise to put on your thinking cap as you read this.  Don’t check your theological brains out at the door, because there are some issues presented to think through regarding Trinitarian theology, as well as the sovereignty of God, and that’s just a simplified generalization.

I would probably be very cautious in recommending this book to a “baby Christian” – someone who has not had a lot of solid Biblical teaching – but, I might give it to someone in order to use it as a springboard into discussions regarding Theology Proper.


Alrighty, those are my thoughts on that bestseller.  I also have a question:  is it possible to over- emphasize the “relationship with God” aspect of Christianity?

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I know I’m a little late in the ball game, but I’m currently reading The Shack, by William Young, and am over halfway through the book.  (For those of you who may not know, this book was selling among Christian circles like hot cakes last year, as number one on the bestseller list.)

I kinda like it, and kinda don’t.

Next week I will have a review up, and you will know why I have mixed feelings.

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savoring quality dark chocolate…

…is like savoring a quality piece of literature, such as Anna Karenina.  As you chocolate lovers know, one cannot rush through a piece of dark chocolate, otherwise you miss the fullness of the texture and the flavor(s).  You must let it melt in your mouth.  It is the same with this book, which Tolstoy named his first novel.   I highly recommend this marvelous literary work, even if you are not going to read anything else Tolstoy has written (quite a bold statement on my part, because I have not read any of his other works).  The plot is very well developed, the characters are rich, and the moral dilemmas which Tolstoy addresses are timeless.   Since Anna Karenina is about 800 pages, I would indeed recommend savoring it.  It is well worth your time.

***EDIT***  I usually don’t give full-blown synopses of books I’m reading unless I am addressing critical issues (in this case, there would be the numerous moral questions, as well as literary criticism) in it as well.  I will recommend a book, and leave it up to you to look up.  But here’s a very succinct glimpse of the book to whet your appetite:  a peek into the lives of 19th century Russian socialites and those who surround them.

By the way, I compare mediocre literature to milk chocolate.  Too many added fillers, and not enough substance.

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blogging agenda

Yay! It’s still Tuesday, which means I’m not falling back on my promise to update you all with a blogging agenda “tomorrow” (as I said yesterday, if you noticed). Many thanks to those of you who contributed to my request for…reader’s requests. It’s never too late if you wish to participate (rhyming without thinking…yeah!). See my previous blog entry here.

You have chosen these topics from my “i am” page, and I will blog on them. I do not know yet in which order they will go:
-“still searching” (I’m guessing those of you who are curious about this one will get a clearer picture with my thoughts on it.)
-veganism, and as a consequence…
-…food. Recipes and such.
-books (current reads; brief reviews)
-irony (good one!)
-my missionary aspirations
-emerging/emergent church

…and there you have it! I should have an entry done by the end of this week.

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summer reads

Summer Reading List (thus far):
-Misquoting Jesus
-Crime & Punishment
-Blue Like Jazz
-Text of the New Testament

comments, suggestions, additions and protestations welcome.

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