What I’ve been reading
These are just some of the books I have read lately…
1. Epic Jesus: The Christ You Never Knew, Frank Viola. This short ebook (maybe 25 pages and only $3.99) is the text version of a talk Frank gave at a conference. He uses Colossians 1 to present a powerful and beautiful picture of the greatness and centrality of Christ. There is a revelation of Jesus to be had in this book that is both refreshing and far removed from the familiar way He is presented by most churches today.
2. The Butterfly in You, Milt Rodriguez. Milt presents a stunning view of our identity in Christ. He starts out by presenting a view of Christ that is far beyond anything that most have ever heard and uses that as a foundation to show us who we truly are. One of the best parts of this book is a discussion of the corporate nature of the Christian life and how we cannot fully know Christ and ourselves apart from this.
3. The White Man’s Burden, William Easterly. Taking international aid and development to task, Easterly examines the history of aid and why efforts have not achieved the desired results. He comes down hard on the top down approach and advocates for more from the bottom up (what he calls Planners vs Searchers). I didn’t agree with everything in it, but it has a lot to offer.
4. Revive Us Again, Frank Viola. An examination of a number of habits in the Christian life that we have just picked up during our journey (that we may not even realize) and seeks to revise them and create new habits that are more in line with our life in Christ.
5. The Big Truck That Went By, Jonathan Katz. Katz was on assignment for AP in Haiti at the time of the earthquake. The book is an investigative look into international aid and why after $16.3 billion in pledges and 3 years not much has changed in the country. He uncovers the truths about how wealthy countries give money and just how much actually is spent on the ground.
6. The Pastor has no Clothes, Jon Zens. This is not a book for everyone. Zens shows that in the NT one cannot find any evidence or support for the office of the pastor. And it is not so much a book as a collection of articles he has written on the subject.
7. Wool, Hugh Howey. A post-apocalptic tale, set in a silo. This started out as a single book, but has now become a series. I couldn’t put down the first five books. The sixth book was not as good and I haven’t read the next few.
8. Saving Darfur: Everyone’s Favourite African War, Rob Crilly. The book takes a critical look at how complicated the conflict actually was, why it was painted as a simple good versus evil fight, and the complicated reality about Arabs and Africans. It shows how the Save Darfur movement got it wrong and what happened as a result.
9. From Eternity to Here, Frank Viola. I now have an answer to the question, “What book has impacted you the most?” This book is a stunning revelation of the eternal purpose of God. It is about a bride and a bridegroom. About a Son wanting to be a Lover and not just the Beloved. There are things in this book that I had never heard before. You will come away from this book seeing your Lord in whole new light.
10. Shadows of War, Carolyn Nordstrom. Fantastic ethnography. Following the flow of goods and services into and out of war zones, she reveals the hidden realities of war and extra-state networks. It challenges our preconceived notions about war, politics, right/wrong, il/legal.