Thinking Out Loud

April 16, 2012

Currently Reading

I saw something recently that disparaged people who had two books on the go at the same time. I’m not sure where that leaves me, seeing as how I’m currently reading four different books.

  • Evolving in Monkey Town – Rachel Held Evans — I think this came out more than a year ago, but since I’m good friends with the guy that owns the Christian bookstore, I didn’t think he’d mind if I took a peek, especially considering I’ve linked to RHE on this blog many times.  Next thing I knew, I’d read 100 page. She really is a talented writer, and I actually know more now about the “Scopes Monkey Trial” than ever before. It’s not a review copy though, so the next 100 pages may not be in the near future; and the other customers might not appreciate getting a used book.
  • Soul Detox – Craig Groeschel — This book is publishing in May and I was blessed to get an advance copy which I started reading to my boys out loud each night. I said we’d do just a chapter or two but they’re really enjoying it, considering that a few years back, they were grossed out when Craig spit in the middle of one of the Chazown videos, earning him the name ‘Pastor Hork.’ That aside, three chapters in I can report that this is an excellent resource, especially for men.
  • Empty Promises – Pete Wilson — I guess David Platt has lost his monopoly on bright orange book covers. I’m also three chapters in on this one, plus Pete preached from the book yesterday so I got a double dose. This book is going to strike a lot of nerves, as many of us look for ‘things’ to satisfy us in ways only God can.  This one published this week already, so I should work on finishing it first so the review will be timely.
  • Spirit Rising – Jim Cymbala — The pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle turns in another first class exhortation to prayer and Spirit-filled living; but you already know that since I’ve been quoting from it here and at the C201 blog, with a couple of other sections bookmarked for future quotation. I’d like to figure out how to do a trip to New York City where I could catch both Jim Cymbala and Timothy Keller in one Sunday.

July 25, 2010

Checking The Vital Signs

Prayer is the source of the Christian life, a Christian’s lifeline.  Otherwise it’s like having a baby in our arms and dressing her up so cute — but she’s not breathing.  Never mind the frilly clothes, check the child’s vital signs.   It does no good to talk to someone in a comatose state.   That’s why the great emphasis on teaching in today’s churches is producing such limited results.   Teaching is good only where there’s life to be channeled.   If the listeners are in a spiritual coma, what we’re telling them may be fine and orthodox, but unfortunately spiritual life cannot be taught.

Jim Cymbala in Fresh Wind Fresh Fire (page 50); Zondervan, 1997

July 9, 2010

Currently Reading and Listening

Currently Reading

  • The Last Christian by David Gregory.   Knowing this writer only for his two apologetic Socratic dialog books, Dinner With A Perfect Stranger and A Day With A Perfect Stranger — and their related movies — I decided to jump into this title to see what else he could do.   It’s a fairly thick book; 416 pages, as opposed to the other two which you can read in an hour.   Set approximately 75 years into the future, it deals with things such as artificial intelligence, jungle survival, and missions.   I’ve just started out and the plot moves fairly quickly among what is, at the point I’m at, a number of disjointed scenes.     You can find out more from people who reached the finish line here and here.
  • The Shack by William Paul Young.   I’m reading it again because it caused so much trouble after I read it that I decided to go through it again with a pen and mark pages that I felt were controversial.   However, I’m a few pages from the end and I have yet to underline a single line.   It’s not that the book didn’t raise a lot of debate and even anger, it’s just that the book in and of itself just isn’t as radical as the critics are making it.    I’m simply enjoying a second look at a simple story that somehow captivated readers of all stripes.   Is it a book for Christians or those seeking theological reading?  I answered that question here.

Currently Listening To

  • A Beautiful Exchange by Hillsong.   The Hillsong music formula and sound is fairly well established at this point, and you could say the album offers nothing particularly new.   It’s getting increasingly more difficult to separate the group Hillsong from its youth-ministry counterpart Hillsong United.   Many songs on this album are more like the latter than the former; to the point where I think some older Hillsong listeners may not appreciate this as much.   On the other hand, it’s nice to see such a variety of worship leaders on each of the various songs.
  • Declare Your Name by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.   This is a different kind of CD for us, but my wife got into mass choir music awhile back, so I picked this mostly for her.   With 14 songs, this is good value.   There are some of the expected solos, including some by guests Israel Houghton and Paul Baloche,  but it’s the pieces with the full choir sound that I enjoy the most.    This is worship music meets urban contemporary with results that should appeal to the audience of both genres.

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