The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
This month, my husband and I decided to read through The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. I haven’t read any books on marriage, but after hearing Pastor John Mark Comer highly recommend it, for all people including both married and single, we decided to read through it together. There are so many opinions and resources on marriage in the Church but Tim Keller with his wife Kathy, discuss what biblical marriage looks like and how it serves to help us understand the gospel. I look forward to some of the upcoming chapters covering topics like gender roles and singleness.
To Read: The Body Keeps the score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessle A. van der Kolk
Letters to the Church by Francis Chan
Francis Chan has been influential on Christian culture for decades now. As someone who has seen him speak live multiple times, I can absolutely understand why people find his work so mesmerizing, and also how he was able to build what is still one of the largest churches in California. Chan’s work has been seen throughout hundreds of churches across the world, and I was first introduced to him through his best-selling book, Crazy Love.
Knowing that it had already been some time since he took steps back from his original pastoral work, I was fairly surprised to see a familiar name next to an unfamiliar book title on a retail shelf one day. I couldn’t help grabbing a copy, especially because the title already alluded to what I thought the content would discuss. Sure enough, Letters to the Church is another compelling production by one of the most respected minds in Christian culture and evangelism.
In it, Chan talks about how far the modern American Christian church has drifted from what God originally commanded and wanted, and why it’s so important we rebuild the type of community God has already laid out the blueprint for in the Bible. It’s an alarmingly accurate, desperately-needed wakeup call for any serious Christian
To Read: Growing Kingdom Wisdom by Tom Yeakley
War Story by Steven Elliott
Ever since Steven Elliott gave one of the most moving speeches I’ve ever heard, War Story has held a prominent place on my to-read list. I’m now almost three-quarters of the way into reading this profoundly stirring and heartfelt memoir, struggling to pull myself away. The book describes the aftermath of a tragedy where an American hero was mistakenly killed by “friendly fire” in Afghanistan when Army Ranger Elliott and his fellow soldiers believed they were firing on the enemy. These events involving Elliott’s war story are heartbreaking and set a somber tone for the serious contemplation of some heavy topics. In terms of the book’s accessibility, readers will find themselves seamlessly guided along, whether they have actual military experience or are like myself and know next to nothing about military culture. As for the storytelling, Elliott narrates in a composure that is honest, intricate, and tremendously compelling. There is so much rawness, grief, and humanity packed into these pages that it’s hard not to keep pausing momentarily to murmur “wow…” All I can say is that the meaningfulness and depth of this memoir is beyond my adequate expression. Truly.
(Plus, all of the author’s proceeds from the writing of this book will be donated to organizations serving the mental health needs of the active duty and veteran community. It’s a fantastic read for a fantastic cause.)
Into The Silent Land by Martin Laird
In this day and age of Self-Care, you often hear about the importance of mediation. Growing up I assumed that mediation and sitting in silence was only a part of Eastern religions. Into The Silent Land questions that notion. Laird discusses in this book how stillness and focusing your mind in prayer was integral to the ancient Church. I am excited about this book and I am hoping that practicing prayer and contemplation will lead me to be more vulnerable with the Lord, therefore more open to what he is trying to teach me. I also think that this is counter-cultural practice will help me move away from my default way of thinking that I need to do more for God to love me more. In a culture characterized by achievement and busyness, this will most certainly be a challenge, but I am hopeful.
To Read: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West
Christopher West unpacks John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (TOB), making this scholarly work understandable and accessible to beginners (i.e. anybody new to TOB, like me). But it’s not just for Catholics! Unlike the typical “don’t have sex outside of marriage because the Bible says so” argument, the Theology of the Body shows the why behind this culturally radical standard. Drawing from the great love story of the Bible, the TOB illustrates God’s beautiful intention behind sex and gender as a physical metaphor pointing to the gospel. In a culture (and sadly, the church) where sex has become synonymous with sin and brokenness, the Theology of the Body offers a powerfully redemptive perspective, reclaiming one of God’s most beautiful gifts for the good of His Church— and thus the world.
To Read: Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body by John Paul II and Michael Waldstein.