The beginning of March slipped away quickly. Friends were in town [which was wonderful], but my time to read was limited. But towards the middle of March I was able to set aside more and more time to read.
And I’m starting to notice a slight difference.
Life feels just a little bit slower. My mind just a little bit clearer.
Those minutes before bed where I used to scroll on Instagram have become precious minutes to capture for reading. A necessary reminder to bring my mind back from another’s reality in a square and bringing it closer to the present reality.
It’s been truly wonderful.
Now to the books. I read a few books this month that I have already boldly declared MY NEW FAVORITE BOOKS EVER.
I’m excited to share them with you.
The Simplest Way to Change the World: Biblical Hospitality as a Way of Life, by Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements: I LOVE THIS BOOK. I wanted to listen to it again immediately after it finished and I’ve already ordered a physical copy on Amazon. I read it on recommendation from Jen Oshman’s book post. Dustin and Brandon discussed the how-to’s of hospitality and provided insight into some [not weird] ways to weave the Gospel into your everyday conversations with friends and neighbors. The last half of the book is full of super helpful practical application and ways to invite people into your home and your lives. The culture of hospitality that Willis and Clements describe is exactly what I desire our church plant to reflect. I want everyone to read this book!
Gospel Fluency, by Jeff Vanderstelt: This book was fantastic. I had already read Vanderstelt’s Saturate, an excellent encouragement to disciples on how to “be the church,” and loved it, so I was excited to read another book by him. Jeff spends about half the book explaining the Gospel in clear and compelling language. He then explains to how the Gospel speaks to particular situations of life and how we can become more “fluent” in speaking the Gospel into those situations. These explanations were extremely helpful and applicable to real-life relationships, which I appreciated so much. His “fruit to root” exercise was particularly helpful.
A little book on the Christian life, by John Calvin: This is a much more academic read than the other, more conversational toned books I read this month. At first I felt overwhelmed by the language and almost gave up on listening to it. However, I’m so glad I didn’t. Calvin’s discourses on suffering, material possessions, and eternity was so well thought out and so helpful. I found myself thinking on his words and even went back to listen to the last section a second time. I would highly recommend this short book!
Confessions, by Augustine: I’d been meaning to read this book for a while and finally took the time to do so because it pairs so well with the next book on the list, A Restless Age. This book tended more towards the academic, intellectual side, made slightly more difficult to understand because I chose to listen to it instead of reading the physical book. So while I found myself getting lost a few times, there were several moments where I had to stop, re-listen to a section, and write down his words because they were Just. So. Powerful. I highly recommend this classic theological piece.
A Restless Age, by Austin Gohn: Okay, so I technically read this book a few months ago when I helped to edit the manuscript, but it wasn’t available to the public until this month so now I can wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone (you can find in on Amazon by clicking on the picture of the book)! Austin Gohn did an incredible job of drawing from the themes and insights of Augustine’s Confessions, while also drawing in struggles and common experiences of young adults in their twenties. He was relatable and relevant with out compromising an ounce of truth. He exposed the insufficiencies of our culture’s tendencies towards openness, tolerance, and indecisiveness, while providing a life-giving alternative – rest in Christ. Highly recommend!
Twelve Extraordinary Women, by John MacArthur: This was an interesting book, but I did have some reservations. I appreciated MacArthurs scripture references throughout his retelling of each woman’s stories. However, he made several inferences throughout the book about how a woman felt in a certain situation (like how Mary ‘probably’ felt when hearing from the angel that she would bear the Messiah), often using language like no doubt, perhaps, apparently, and maybe in order to add more color and emotion to the story (he had no Scripture references for these inferences). I didn’t feel comfortable with his imposing of possible emotions or situations on top of the biblical text. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book.
I hope to add some more fictional reading into next month, as well as some books to specifically grow my understanding of writing. So, as always, if you have any recommendations PLEASE let me know!