Previously I shared my 2018 reading list. Within that list are a variety of books. Some were fun, some were serious, other books I wish I never started. The later books I will not spend anytime on. Rather, below, I want to share with you my big picture reflections over the books I read and the impressions they made.
Authors – In 2018 I read a lot from the same authors. Be it Richard Blackaby, Tim Keller, Eugene Peterson, or others. By reading the same author continually I read more books. Plus, since many authors emphasize consistent themes across their works, it is easier to retain the points they emphasize.
Francis Schaffer – Schaeffer resonated with me after finishing the biography on him. While reading this biography I discovered a kinship with him. Overall, I closely identify with his views on culture, worldview, theology, and ministry. As a result, I read two more works of his in 2018 and purchased the hardback version of the entire Francis Schaeffer Completed Works: Volumes 1 through 5. In 2019 I look forward to reading Schaeffer more with another author who I identify with.
Eugene Peterson – Peterson is another author I continually read in 2018. Across Peterson’s works I found an author who shares my ideal way to relate to God: through contemplation. Be it reading, writing, quietly thinking, music, and most of all praying, Peterson advocates to actively contemplate and see God at work. He believes we can see constant reminders that Jesus is on our side due to the free gift we have received through Christ alone. In response to the Peterson’s works, I have been reading, writing, and praying more. In 2019 I am looking forward to seeing how my faith grows and how I get to share Christ with other more through these contemplative disciplines.
Biblical Counseling – In a future post I will explain further my embrace of Biblical Counseling. For now, know that I believe the Gospel is beneficial for both our justification and sanctification. Jesus is not finished with us when we are eternally secure in Him. Rather, there is a profound hope that through sanctification God’s best for us is yet to come through Christ alone. A hope that resolves many of our emotional needs as we rest in Jesus to return closer to God’s created design for us. While remembering that we are never perfect on this side of heaven, we are reminded that through Christ a Christian is seen as perfect by the Father. His perfect view then offers us a hopeful rest that glorifies Himself. In short, we are between the cornerstone and the capstone.
Biographies – This year I’ve read more biographies or history than most years. Doing so, it was a great opportunity to gain perspectives that I never would have gained about both American or world history. I hope to read many more biographies in future years. To start, I plan to read many biographies through audio books since they provide a narrative story with real content to keep my attention, especially as I travel or exercise.
Batman – Reading should be fun! For me, my childhood superhero Batman represents my reading fun for 2018. Now some will claim, “these are not real books!” Arguably, they are right, but wrong too. Many of the graphic novels were 500 plus pages. Besides, it was fun and it did get “serious” at one point. Batman and Philosophy was a serious book that wrestled with the Batman mythology by raising ethical questions over Batman’s actions. Similar to my theological readings, Batman and Philosophy forced me to look at truth from a different perspective. So my Batman readings were both fun and informative. To anyone who disagrees, ss the Joker would say, “So, HA, HA, HA!”
The Blacklist – Spy shows and movies are my favorite! From Alias, to 24, to Covert Affairs, I generally love them all. The Blacklist is my current favorite spy show, which has it’s own secondary comics and novels. Having read as many of them as I could, my imagination has new insights and theories to enjoy and test out when the next season of The Blacklist begins in January.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – This book is the one I expect to get the most grief over. However, please consider one thing: as an Army Chaplain it was recommended reading by a supervisor. Plus, this book allows me to talk to Soldiers about Christ where other Christian books would not allow. By seeing the overlap between Mark Manson’s advice and Christian teachings I’ve been able to pivot to the Gospel in new ways, and my faith has grown too. If anything, I’ve learned to care most over the important things in life versus the unimportant things. Wonder what is truly important? Hmm…I know, Jesus! All this said, the book is not perfect. It does have ideals contrary to the Christian faith and it is filled with language. But, mature believers can still find this book valuable when using scripture to filter Manson’s advice.
In closing, there are many themes that describe my reading list in 2018. This year alone is the most diverse ever, which was fun, informative, and enlightening. In future weeks I plan to go into select books in individual detail. Until then, I hope my list is helpful for you.
Feel free to contact me and ask any questions about the books on my 2018 list. Your comments and questions are welcomed!