I read 54 books in 2018: about one a week. I love learning and books are one of my favorite forms of learning. I tend to read five types of books: Christian Living, Theology, Leadership, General Non-Fiction, and Fiction. If you’re interested in tracking my reading, getting fuller reviews, and sharing with me your favorites, I use Goodreads and would be happy to have you friend me there. Here were some highlights for me in 2018:
1. What I Learned About Marriage by Losing My Husband: Good luck not tearing up reading Gaye Clark's poignant letter to her deceased husband.
2. Be a Gospel Neighbor: Aaron Menikoff on a topic I think is so important for the church, "The requirement for hospitality gets to the heart of neighboring. It’s even a qualification of elder leadership... Paul has a similar message in Romans 12:13–14: “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” Paul demands a spirit of generosity to all: the brother or sister, the stranger, and even the enemy! Faithful pastors and Christians alike will strive to be good neighbors. They’ll open up their homes to people around them. Such hospitality is not without cost (it takes time and money)."
3. Which of the Ten Commandments Still Apply? YouGov and Deseret News reports that 60% of Americans agree that seven of the Ten Commandments still apply. The three below 60%? "You shall have no other gods before me," "You shall not use the name of the Lord your God in vain," and "Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy" (the only commandment below 50%).
4. What Dostoyevsky's Prostitute Can Teach Us About Love: If you've ever read Crime and Punishment (which I recently had the joy of re-reading), this is powerful connection between the cross and the book. Mark Galli connects Sonia's reaction to the Christ, "Raskolnikov later meets a young woman, Sonia, who has been compelled by poverty to become a prostitute to support her family. He is immediately drawn to her, and after he learns that Sonia had been friends with Lizaveta, he feels compelled to confess his murders to her... When it dawns on her what he has just confessed, “...What have you done—what have you done to yourself?” she said in despair, and, jumping up, she flung herself on his neck, threw her arms round him, and held him tightly." Raskolnikov is not the only one who is shocked by Sonia’s gesture. The reader is as well... There we see the meaning of the Cross and the revelation of the deepest nature of God. Jesus did not consider the glory of divinity as something to exalt in, but decided to bear the yoke of human nature. He showed himself not only to be a man of sorrows, but also a God who has borne our griefs; not merely a man wounded for our transgression, but also a God bruised for our iniquities (Isa. 53). He saw the grievous sin of humankind, and the Cross is the sign of his “violent, hysterical weeping” for us."
5. Death Valley Sunup to Sundown: Think Death Valley is ugly? Think again. This is stunning.