A Few Books I’ve Read This Year

My last post about reading sparked a lot of interest among WordPress Bloggers. I thought I would follow it up with a short description of some of what I have read and am reading this year.

Western Culture at the American Crossroads by Arthur Pontynen & Rod Miller

WesternCulture.BookI ventured into reading this art history book as it peaked my interest on the ISI.org website which is devoted to conservative scholarship that underpins American liberty. As I pushed through the high academic writing, I unearthed a treasure trove of outstanding theology, philosophy, and cultural understanding. These authors taught me that true appreciation and production of high art requires a Trinitarian Christian worldview. The thesis was masterfully supported by the writers.

A few great quotes from this work:

“All knowledge is theology diluted; all culture and politics are a reflection of theology grounded in metaphysics.” p. 217

“A useful generalization, modernism-postmodernism is the classical-Judeo-Christian tradition without an objective or transcendent Being, God, or Truth.” p. 194

“Trinitarian theology makes possible a scientific rationalism that permits the reconciliation of becoming with Being while preserving the integrity of each.” p. 196

“Modernism defined art – and science – not as the material manifestation of wisdom, but as genius-inspired feelings, and facts.” p. 287

Surprised By Hope by N.T. Wright

Surprised_by_Hope_hc_cWright provides a wonderful hope-filled eschatology in this work. He emphasizes the long lost doctrine of the resurrection of the body and how that matters to the believer’s life now and upon resurrection. He contrasts this view with the common Left Behind eschatology that lacks the richness of biblical eschatology. I found Wright to provide several large pieces of the puzzle that I was missing as I already leaned toward a different picture of the end times.

There were a few areas that Wright discusses in his book that I am not ready to assimilate into my thinking, but they did provide interesting points in a conversation worth considering.

A few great quotes from this work:

“What happens when you downplay or ignore the ascension? The answer is the church expands to fill the vacuum.” p. 112

“The transition from the present world to the new one would be a matter not of the destruction of the present space-time universe but of its radical healing.” p. 122

“Resurrection isn’t life after death; it is life after life after death.” p. 169

School of the Prophets by Kris Vallotton

thumb_product_Other_School-of-the-Prophets-Curriculum_thumbThis is a fabulous prophetic curriculum full of personal anecdotes, testimonies, and solid teaching about hearing God, cultivating the prophetic gifting, and/or a prophet’s call.

A few quotes from this work:

“. . . revelation is actually a community garden.” p. 19

“In the Old Testament, prophets judged people, but in the New Testament, prophets judge prophecy.” p. 117

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

I reread this short book as a companion to having read Surprised by Hope. It seemed fitting to reread Lewis’s imaginative rendition of a picture of heaven. This book has some delightful insights into both our world and heaven. It is certainly a fictional musing of biblical truths. Some of his musings seem to create an opening of possibilities and others leave me uncertain as to his intentions.

GreatDivorce_logo_300x300However, I find with all Lewis books that I gain more in the subsequent reading and then the reading after that as I grow in knowledge and understanding. I have read the Chronicles of Narnia more than 20 times and I hope to read them 20 more. Every time I enjoy a fresh reading of old favorite passages and find new ones.

The first time I read one of Lewis’ non-fiction works, Miracles, I understood very little. The next time I picked it up, a good many years later, I found a wonderful book that the little I understood on this reading created wonder for that which I had yet to digest.

The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom

ClosingBloom, a college professor, wrote this seminal work in the 1980’s. Even though some of the content is dated, I find it fascinating to read his insights on the student population and the social concerns of the day. I find that while we have continued further in this direction in many ways in America, our current situation is not all that altered from Bloom’s exposition. I am only a third of the way through this book, so I will leave further commentary for another occasion.

It’s only February, I have a great many books yet to read this year. . .

Check out my own book, an e-book: Back the Future: Rebuilding America’s Stability here on Amazon.

BacktotheFuture: Rebuilding America's Stability

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