Four Birds of Noah’s Ark: A Prayer Book from the Time of Shakespeare by Thomas Dekker
It’s a sad truth that some of the most surprising and wonderful treasures happen to get buried in the sands of time. Such was the case with Thomas Dekker’s devotional classic having been out of print since 1924. Fast forward almost 100 years, and this gorgeous treasure has risen like a phoenix! The way prolific “editor Robert Hudson has annotated the prayers and modernized their language without sacrificing their enchanting beauty and simplicity” is absolutely phenomenal. Put simply, this book contains some of the most beautiful prayers I’ve read outside of the Bible. The idea and namesake of “Four Birds” serves to categorize different kinds of prayers. The Dove is for the working people, the Eagle stands for a country’s nobility and leaders, and the Pelican and Phoenix represent Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection, respectively (p. 8). Poetic and timeless in flavor, these rich prayers cover topics both accessible and rejuvenating to the modern reader. If you are looking for a devotional companion to accompany your Bible and prayer life, I urge you to get your hands on a copy of this remarkable book.
To-Read: The Quotable Lewis
Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian by John Piper
It has been quite a Spring and Summer sifting through all my thoughts, prayers, and responses to the racially charged landscape we’re living in. In July, my wife suggested: Why don’t we host a book discussion. Maybe that will help? She’s always right. And, Bloodlines was the book we landed on together. I had purchased Bloodlines for my Dad a number of years back, but had not read it myself until this summer. I have gone to the works of John Piper in many seasons, and was excited to dig in to this one, especially in wanting help in getting a good pulse on our current situation.
Theologically rich. Honest. Full of hope. This is what you’ll find page by page, as Piper turns not to all the government programs, education, or “wokeness” strategies, but to The Cross. A hefty portion of this book deals exclusively about what the good news of Jesus has to do with racial harmony and what it means for Jesus-followers in their witness in the world. I also really appreciated reading through Piper’s own story, growing up racist in South Carolina, but how God used his anti-racist Mom as a pivotal figure in his repentance-and influenced deeply his love of Jesus, and future pastoral pursuits.
To-Read: Healing Depression For Life by Gregory L. Jantz Ph.D. and Keith Wall
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Few books make my “re-read” list, but Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting is one of those rare stories I return to almost yearly. This brief work of children’s fiction addresses the heaviest and most critical of life’s questions: what is the meaning and purpose of death— and therefore, of life? While this is not an explicitly Christian story, Babbitt masterfully portrays death as a type of gift, reminiscent of God’s mercy in casting Adam and Eve out of Eden so that they wouldn’t eat from the Tree of Life and live forever in their fallen state (see Genesis 3). Tuck Everlasting is a more modern retelling of that ancient what if: what if it were possible to live forever, as we are, on this planet? Follow 11-year-old Winnie Foster, the heroine of this story, as she wrestles with the realities of life and death to make a decision that will impact her forever.
To-Read: Your Story Matters by Leslie Leyland Fields
Tell us, what are you currently reading? What’s on your To-Read Pile?