Reading the Gospels Wisely

For many of us, reading and applying the stories of the Bible are a very difficult task. Sure, we can pick up Philippians and understand it well enough. But if you drop into the New Testament in Matthew 1, most of us scramble for the red letters.

My friend and mentor, Jonathan Pennington, has written a very helpful book on how to read gospel stories well. The book covers a wide range of topics (a short synopsis of each chapter).… Continue Reading

Top 10 Books, 2014

I do not profess to be cutting edge. Nor do I profess to have read dozens of books that makes my selection of ten that eventful. But these were the books that most shaped me in 2014. Most were not written in this calendar year, and a few of these books I’ve read multiple times. Here they are in no particular order.

The Kingdom of God as Liturgical Empire: A Theological Commentary on 1-2 Chronicles by Scott Hahn

This was my favorite commentary whilst preaching through Chronicles in the first 4 months of 2014.… Continue Reading

Why Reading Fiction Isn’t a Waste of Time

There was a great post over at Desiring God recently reflecting on why J.R.R. Tolkien, the famous author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, didn’t “waste his life” by writing fanciful stories (some might say “escapist fiction,” a waste of time for heavenly-minded Christians). I highly commend the article to you.

But the writing of fiction is not what I’m concerned with here. I’m rather interested in the reading.

Is Reading Fiction a Waste of (Precious) Time?

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Stories and Resolution, Pt. 2

If you’ve ever been to a reunion, high school, family, or the like, you’ve experienced the joy of shared experience. Whether it was a childhood memory with cousin Ed, a freshman year fiasco with your biology teacher, or the state championship trophy you hoisted in ’94, it is in our shared experience that we find life.

Our shared experience brings life in another way. In the sharing of our life stories with others, we invite them into our stories and therein find life.… Continue Reading

Stories and Resolution

If you’ve ever ventured into (or cut through) the book aisle at a local supermarket you’ve likely noticed the glut of shirtless, ‘roided out men holding scantily clad women on the top of a mountain. There is a reason these stories, commonly called romance novels, sell very well: escape.

They promise to transport their readers from the monotony of an unaffected husband or the repetitive schedule of motherhood. The stories help people to escape from their real story, but just like conquering an enemy in a video game, you don’t really escape, you don’t really conquer anything.… Continue Reading

Divergent = Derivative

The claim of the title of this post is the most blatantly obvious observation you can make when it comes to YA fiction these days. Walk the shelves at Half-Price books and you’ll see a million vampire fiction series, a half million dystopian books, and a few original ideas. This doesn’t mean that some of the authors of these series are bad writers. It simply means they’re caught up in the wave of publishers trying to make a quick buck on knock-off franchises.… Continue Reading

The Death of Biography

I’ve recently begun an excellent biography of one of my favorite writers (if not my favorite): C. S. Lewis. Specifically, the bio is Alister McGrath’s “C. S. Lewis: A Life.”

Now, I’m barely a 10th of the way through the book, but I was struck by the detail and the accuracy of the narrative. Most of these details, like with many great biographies, are gleaned from Lewis’ personal letters (correspondences with family and friends) and diary. And this simple fact got me thinking about the future of biographies.… Continue Reading

Reading Stories, Truth, & Harry Potter

Good day to you wonderful people! I am in the midst of writing the first of a series of posts on parenting (reflecting on some of my favorite books on the subject). But rather than rush through the composition of my first parenting post, I thought I’d take a brief moment to commend to you the reading of fiction.

(Good) Story, Movies, Etc.

Story (or the telling of stories) is central to how we understand the world. Many of us who are fluent in evangelical Christianese are far more familiar with the didactic letters of the Bible and not so much the narratives (i.e.… Continue Reading