Last updated: July 15th, 2017
Carl Schmitt, Political Theology
Giorgio Agamben, State of Exception
Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology
Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer – The argument presented by Agamben in this book is (roughly) that built into the structure of the nation-state itself is the ability to declare a state of exception, in which the nation-state transcends its own laws and can, at will, reduce a person from their political rights down to just bare life. This is most clearly seen in the concentration camp, but, more controversially, Agamben argues that the same principles underlying the camp are also implicitly present in all of society — that we all live in a camp of sorts. This has been the most difficult book I have ever read. Take that into consideration before buying it.
Dennis R. Venema and Scot McKnight, Adam and the Genome – Eight chapters, four from each author; Venema argues for the coherence and validity of evolution, and McKnight argues against the “Historical Adam” seen by many in their interpretation of Romans 5. I found Venema persuasive and McKnight not (perhaps the most unsettling combination of the four possibilities). McKnight’s argument was comprehensive in the topics he chose to cover, but seemed to leave the overall argument disconnected. I also found his interpretation of Romans 5 to be woefully lacking in substance. Where was the interpretation? Two skimpy pages? The exegesis of this passage is currently the hinge point of the entire debate over Creation and Evolution, but why did McKnight put seemingly such little effort into explaining it in a way that is textually honest and also supports his position? Is it, could it be, perhaps, that no such reading can be textually honest and support his position? Anyway, Venema’s chapters alone are worth purchasing the book, if for no other reason than that they clear away years of Ken Ham’s unsound arguments all at once.
Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something – DeYoung explains, in really helpful detail, the different uses of the term “will of God” and how to make decisions as a Christian. Essentially, living in the tension between the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man, we just have to make choices, steward wisely the resources God has given us, and use the wisdom God has given us to make decisions that honor him, regardless of if we “feel called” into something.
Dave Harvey, Am I Called? The Summons to Pastoral Ministry – a gift from my youth pastor to help me consider my future and whether or not God has called me into pastoral ministry. Awesome book, and one that I will refer to often in the future.
To Read Soon
Giorgio Agamben, Stasis
Charles Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries
Hannah Arendt, The Origin of Totalitarianism
All Time Best
Matt Chandler, Explicit Gospel – Great book on applied theology, argues that the church should be explicit with its presentation of the gospel. Leave nothing implied.
C.J. Mahaney, Worldliness – Different author each chapter, better for a discussion group setting, presents the doctrine of unworldliness for teens.
Joseph Heller, Catch-22 – Fiction, 500+ pages, one of the funniest books I’ve read. A military official would only do his job if he is insane. But, knowledge of that fact implies that the official is not insane. Social chaos ensues.
Leonard Mlodinow, Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior – Nonfiction, a survey of psychological studies that imply subliminal thought patterns or unconscious actions. Not a “the theatre splices images of diet coke into the reel and now you get thirsty” type of book. Well researched and funny too.
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest – Read this daily for a devotional. My Utmost comes in a classic and an updated edition. He makes me think about faith on a deeper, more serious and more abstract level. The classic edition is so difficult to understand that it forces me to slow down, take time and process what I’m reading- or, exactly what a devotional should do.
Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time – Nonfiction, Hawking gives a detailed and rigorous introduction to theoretical physics, astrophysics specifically. Not an interesting book, unless you are interested in theoretical astrophysics, but written in a beautiful ELI5 style that I could comprehend for the first 4 chapters.
Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild – Nonfiction, biography, a transcendentalist teen leaves everything behind to experience a fuller life.