I made another book discussion pitstop this month. It has been a very fruitful time, especially among other Christian believers, to take some chapters out of our weekends and look at the history of racism, within and without churches in America, and what should be our present response as Christians in our America. I appreciated the level of historical scholarship that Jemar employed for this book, and while I felt there were instances of painting the American church with a very wide brush of generalizations, overall I read it to be an honest and raw look of how the silence, resistance to justice, and the examples of outright oppression and violence toward black Americans, specifically from those who would claim to be Christians, contributed to the lack and delay of equal-standing and opportunity in their own country.
This was not an easy read. There was much sighing, frustrated reactions, tears, and prayers of lament. Yet, I shared in the hopefulness that the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the humble, loving, gracious witness of the true church–or as Jemar put it, “a courageous Christianity”–can make a big difference in the current cultural landscape.
Your Story Matters by Leslie Leyland Fields
Your Story Matters by Leslie Leyland Fields is a guide to process and share you story through writing—whether you consider yourself a writer or not (no book contract required!). While Leslie includes practical tips and exercises, this book’s true purpose is to empower us to face our stories with honesty and share them with courage, for it is through our stories that we and our readers encounter the Author of our lives. Our stories matter because they are part of God’s greater story of redemption. This is motivation for anybody to write and share their story!
I’m also excited for the companion DVD, Your Story for His Glory, which covers the themes of the book in 8 brief sessions. Featuring live footage from actual workshops held in Leslie’s home in beautiful Alaska (not to mention gorgeous scenery), these sessions also include guest appearances from one of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp!
To Read Next: The Crosswicks Journals by Madeleine L’Engle
If for Any Reason by Courtney Walsh
As I stare out at the enormous snow mound outside my office window, I am clinging to the truth that winter does not last forever. If For Any Reason is a cute, contemporary romance that swept me away from my perpetually cold apartment to sunny Nantucket island. One of the best parts of this book is the letters written from the main character, Emily’s, late mother. They provide motherly wisdom that transcends the story, giving the book a depth not always seen in romance novels. These letters function as Emily’s compass, guiding her as the story unfolds. The book also explores real themes like dealing with loss and recovering from a personal failure. If you (like me) are looking for reads to get you through the cold, check out If for Any Reason. If you like it, put Courtney Walsh’s new book, Is It Any Wonder, on your book list next. It releases in April!
To-Read: See-Through Marriage by Ryan and Selena Frederick
Letters to the Church by Francis Chan
Francis Chan is a pastor that I have read since I was in high school. When I start reading him, he was a pastor at a mega church. Since then, he has completely changed the way he does ministry. Letters to The Church is a series of letters written to address several issues that the American church has fallen into. He addresses the wide spread acceptance of the prosperity Gospel, the lack of accountability in church leadership, and lack of commitment to a community.
While I might not agree with all of his solutions to these issues, I am so grateful for his voice in constructively calling them out. A resounding theme of the book that has convicted and really stuck with me is “Don’t copy others. Seek God.”
To-Read: The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield
Tell us, what are you currently reading? What’s on your To-Read Pile?