Despite the past four months being mostly about the dissertation, I have had the opportunity to read some very good books. Instead of a long review about each, I just want to share a few thoughts about each of them.
ReJesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost is an excellent book. The book describes what missional living is all about. I will admit that I had some reservations in the beginning of the book as it seemed to focus on doing things the Jesus did. That is not the focus of our life, a relationship with Jesus is the focus of a missional life. As you read the book, however, the authors begin to demonstrate the power and passion of life fully in relationship with Jesus. It is an integration of relationship and activity. The authors present not only the theological groundwork for missional living, but a practical aspect that has been lacking in some missional writings.
I highly recommend this book.
The Shattered Lantern: Rediscovering a Felt Presence of God presents to us what I am calling a theology of contemplation. The author gives us insight into the area of contemplative theology in Western civilization. The author examines the three contemplative traditions within Western Christianity: the mystical tradition, the Protestant contemplative tradition, and the philosophical tradition of theism. Within each of these, the contemporary believer can find ample spiritual resources to combat the three persistent blocks to God: narcissism, pragmatism, and restlessness. In the last section of the book, Rolheiser presents seven contemporary spiritual exercises that can deepen Christian faith including receptivity and gratitude, self-abandonment and obedience unto death, and centering prayer.
Again, a highly recommended book.
The Home We Build Together: Recreating Society by Jonathan Sacks has been quoted on this blog before. This book provides an excellent look at the impact of multi-culturalism on Western society. It also shows how both multi-culturalism and liberal, socialist politics have fragmented Western culture. But it does offer hope. Written by a British Rabbi, the author calls for a new approach to national identity. He envisions a responsibility-based rather than rights-based model of citizenship that connects the ideas of giving and belonging. We should see society as “the home we build together”, bringing the distinctive gifts of different groups to the common good.
This is an excellent book to gain an understanding on the fragmentation of Western culture and a way to bring resolution to that fragmentation.
Books I am currently reading:
- The Post-American World
- Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church
- Organic Leadership: Leading Naturally Right Where You Are
I’ll have thoughts on these soon.