December 21, 2023
Last week I told you about five books I have read in 2023 that have had an impact on my faith. Here are five more. These are in no particular order and I certainly do not agree with every word in each of these books, but I am grateful that I have read them for how God has used them to grow my faith:
Epiphany: The Season of Glory by Fleming Rutledge
Fleming Rutledge is one of my favorite writers. She’s a cranky, elderly Episcopalian who winsomely writes with application for both mainline and evangelical Christians alike. Her magnum opus, The Crucifixion, is one of the things I would grab were my office to catch fire. And this little book in the Fullness of Time Series on the season of Epiphany has helped me to understand the importance of seeing the light of God shining in the world.
God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God by Ken Shigematsu
Most of us are probably hesitant about anything having to do with rules but a “rule of life” is an ancient Christian spiritual practice in which we create a trellis for our soul’s growth. In this book, Shigematsu tells the story of how he moved vocationally from a corporate executive to a congregational pastor in Canada. And he tells the story of how adopting a rule of life helped to foster a more abundant life for him and his family.
Advent: The Season of Hope by Tish Harrison Warren
Yet another volume in the Fullness of Time series, this small book by Anglican priest and New York Times columnist Tish Harrison Warren outlines how the season of Advent is about the three arrivals of Christ: Jesus’ arrival as Messiah in Bethlehem, Christ’s arrival within our hearts, and the Second Coming of the Victorious King Jesus Christ. Advent is about waiting for those arrivals and cultivating the virtues of hope, peace, joy, and love within our hearts.
When Children Come Out: A Guide for Christian Parents by Mark A. Yarhouse and Olya Zaporozhets
I know the topic of LGBT issues can cause a lot of anxiety for a lot of people. And there are certainly significant debates that can take place on various topics surrounding those issues. However, this book by Yarhouse and Zaporozhets does not approach the LGBT issue with a polemical perspective, instead this book is wholly devoted to the pastoral care and mental/emotional health of young adults and parents who are affected by LGBT issues. Basically, this book serves as a guide for families on how to navigate the difficult waters they may face when a young person in that family identifies as LGBT. This book has helpful tips regardless of what perspective anyone may hold because it keeps the focus on the love in the family and the dignity of each individual in that family.
What first drew me to this book was the amazing cover art. This man thinking himself slick and able to pull the tablecloth out from under the dishes, instead flings all of the items around the room. And the inside of the book is just as witty. Low Anthropology is about our human propensity to mess things up. Zahl examines our culture’s dominant narratives that if we are smart enough, thin enough, wise enough, rich enough, we can run away from our problems. The truth (according to scripture) is that we will never be enough. And the more awareness we have that we are weak and low and frail and incapable of doing this thing called life, the more perfectly we are positioned to meet the God of grace.