Books, for me, are therapy, a way of relaxing from the pressures of the world. My habit, lately, has been to physically read books on theology and the Christian life and to listen, via audiobook, history and biography. I’m almost always in the middle of reading a book and listening to a book. George Will recently discussed this kind of rhythm in a radio interview and I think it suits me pretty well.
Currently, these books are in my book pile:
From Weakness to Strength by Scott Sauls
The best thing I can say about my friend Scott is that he preaches a beautiful gospel. I read everything he writes. This book is a unique leadership book in that it doesn’t offer new systems or productivity hacks, but a vulnerable and biblical look at leadership. Scott’s premise is that leadership in the kingdom of God is upside down: humility and weakness lead to spiritual strength. As I am reading, I’m being freshly convicted about new idols and encouraged by the way God can use me in my brokeness. In my view, Scott is offering a 21st century version of one of my favorite leadership books, Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders.
Our Secular Age: Ten Years of Reading and Applying Charles Taylor by Collin Hansen
I didn’t read the massive volume A Secular Age by Charles Taylor, but many voices that I respect have read and analyzed it. I love the way Collin Hansen convenes a broad spectrum of Christian leaders, like Karen Swallow Prior, Allan Noble, Bruce Ashford, Michael Horton, and others to offer substantive analysis of our age. The subjects covered are as varied as the contributors: preaching, art, politics, human flourishing, etc. This is a helpful primer as we work to be faithful to our callings on mission for God.
Grant by Ron Chernow
I’m about to start this on audiobook. I love presidential biographies and few do it as well as Chernow. Earlier this year I read American Ulysses by Ronald White and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had to admit that as a native son of Illinois, I didn’t really know much about Grant as I should have. His reputation, over the last 75 years or so has taken a hit in a way that I think is both unfair and unfaithful to the historical record. White’s work and Chernow’s work helps correct some of this by presenting the whole story of the man who helped save the Union, who championed civil rights for minorities, and who was one of the most modest men who ever occupied the White House.