body piercing saved my life: inside the phenomenon of christian rock, by andrew beaujon.
for a kid who grew up suckling on christian rock, this book was an absolute kick to read. beaujon is a writer for spin, and not a christian. but he very fairly dives into the world of christian rock (really, it’s about all christian music, but focuses more on rock) with a reasonably fair hand. he dealves into the history, the current reality, the ties to mainstream music and much more. he interviews who he can, and pleasantly finds people who are passionate about what they do. he desperately tries to understand the phenomenon of worship music, and late in the book — thanks to an experience at a david crowder band show — seems to have a breakthrough in understanding that is wonderful and surprising. along the way (the book takes somewhat a trek through his year-long investigation), he actually goes from sceptic to fan; at least a fan with reservations. really, the book is more than a look at christian rock: there are whole chapters that are more about evangelicalism in general than merely about music. this book has inspired me to post about my own romp through the world of christian rock — in the days to come.
the reawakening: a companion volume to survival in auschwitz, by primo levi.
this was the last of the five books i bought at the gift shop of the holocaust museum in washington, dc, this past summer. it’s the sequel to levi’s aclaimed survival in auschwitz, which chronicles his year-long stay in the concentration camp with such mundane clarity that, more than other books, gave me a sense of what life was like for those who lived there. this book — the reawakening — is unique, as it chronicles the 1/2 year after his release, in his long and winding re-entry into actually living. filled with horrible stories, funny stories, and memorable characters, the book filled in a gap in my understanding of what life was like in immediately-post-war europe. it was a time of confusion and disorder, of fiefdoms and making ends meet. mostly, the story tells of his (and others) difficult soul-level struggle to re-imagine life, and future, when he had completely given up all hope that either would exist again.
the deity formerly known as god, by jarrett stevens.
preface: jarrett is a friend, and i think very highly of him. so i was stoked to read his book. on the surface, it’s a re-shaping (or ‘remix’, as he says) of phillips’ classic your god is too small. but jarrett writes in such an engaging, fun, accessible style, that the book is an easy read, and easily connects with our perceptions of god. the first half of the book is about the images of god we’ve constructed that are not helpful; and the second half are images of god he proposes would be more helpful. the former are mostly taken from culture (church culture, that is), and the latter from the bible — but often from less-than-overused scriptural images. he’s got a great self-depricating wit, and anyone who grew up in the 70s or 80s will connect with much of what he writes. depending on where you are in your journey of understanding the reality of your own projected images of god, this book will either be a fun read that affirms what you’ve been learning (as it was for me), or a significant turning point in shaking your god-image-tree.