30 book reviews this time around, over five days of posts. as always, i allow myself two sentences (unless otherwise noted):
– the first sentence is a summary of the book.
– the second sentence is my opinion of the book (complimented by the star rating).
– just because “Leaders are Readers” is a cliche doesn’t make it untrue.
– and, people who want to grow choose to read widely.
in this current series:
YA Fiction and Fiction (6 books, monday)
Illustrated Books and Graphic Novels (7 books, tuesday)
General Nonfiction (6 books, wednesday)
Ministry and Theology (7 books, today)
Christian Nonfiction and Parenting (4 books, friday)
Ministry and Theology
Saying is Believing: The Necessity of Testimony in Adolescent Spiritual Development, by Amanda Hontz Drury
[note: this is my official endorsement provided to the publisher.]
Amanda Drury’s book winsomely confronted me and conclusively helped me rediscover a critically important aspect of adolescent spiritual formation that I–along with thousands of my youth ministry peers–had gradually relegated to the youth ministry storage closet in the basement of the church. Time for a course correction; time for growth; time for testimony.
Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, by Justin Lee
autobiography (with lots of biblical and theological digging) of a gay christian man sincerely seeking god’s will for his life and sexuality. whether a reader fully agrees with the author’s conclusions or not takes nothing away from the fact that this is an exceptional book, and should be required reading for all christians (particularly those in ministry) who want a more informed and nuanced understanding of LGB (not really T) people and the christian faith.
Sticky Faith Service Guide: Moving Students from Mission Trips to Missional Living, and Sticky Faith Service Guide, Student Journal: How Serving Others Changes You, by Kara E. Powell and Brad M. Griffin
[note: these books release February 2. this is my official endorsement provided to the publisher:]
I find that missions are consistently the best and the worst programs we offer in youth ministry. The potential for transformation and Kingdom impact is palpably real; but the hidden curriculums of self-actualization, pity and judgment, and tourism too often turn what could be beautiful and good into a narcissistic mush. How wonderful to have a research-based guide to avoiding the worst of what short-term missions can be, and leaning into the best.
Moving Messages: Ideas That Will Revolutionize the Sunday Experience, by Rick Bundschuh
[note: this book releases January 11. this is my official endorsement provided to the publisher.]
Wait: a book about preaching that’s actually fun to read and thoroughly engaging, in addition to being chock-full of fantastic disruptive ideas? Bundschuh actually models, with his writing, what he’s proposing we consider. And if you care about connecting 21st century church people with the transformative truth of scripture, you will certainly want to consider this master class on creative preaching.
The Heaven Promise: Engaging the Bible’s Truth About Life to Come, by Scot McKnight
an extremely accessible and readable exploration of what the bible actually teaches about heaven. this isn’t mcknight’s best book (he’s my favorite theological author, who has greatly shaped my thinking and ministry with favorite books like The Blue Parakeet, Embracing Grace, Junia Is Not Alone, and A Community Called Atonement), but it is absolutely helpful and worth reading.
Us versus Us: The Untold Story of Religion and the LGBT Community
[note: this book releases June 1. this is my official endorsement provided to the publisher.]
Almost all discourse and writing about LGBTs and faith ebbs to theology and biblical interpretation. What’s been sorely missing are sociological insights–anchored to research rather than opinion–of the current landscape. Marin offers a profound gift to us (however you define “us”) that will, I’m confident, lead to more understanding, more inquiry, more grace, and more love.