Hello, hello. Is anybody out there? I’m hoping that everyone else has been as busy and preoccupied with summer stuff as I have. That way, you won’t be bothered by the fact that I haven’t blogged in nearly a month. Anyway, I figured I better post something, lest my blog host shut me down for lack of activity.
One of the side benefits of having a book out is the opportunity it provides you to connect with other authors who are writing on similar topics and themes. I’m currently making my way through several books by folks I’ve had the privilege of meeting, via email or in person, over the last seven months or so since Reconciliation Blues was released. I thought I’d take a moment (and a couple of posts) to share a few of those books. So, if you’re looking for additional reading material as the summer winds up, here are two highly recommended titles. (I’ll offer a couple of additional recommendations in a forthcoming post.)
1. Blessed Are the Uncool: Living Authentically in a World of Show by Paul Grant. Paul, an editor for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, is an occasional commenter on this blog. And he’s a very thoughtful and provocative young man, as you will discover by visiting his blog. I finally met him in person at the Cornerstone Festival in late June. In his fascinating book, Paul examines the cultural concept of “cool.” What is it? And why do we (often unconsciously) continue to worship at its altar? A life spent chasing after cool, says Paul, is ultimately exposed for its emptiness and inauthenticity. Better to pursue the fruits of the Spirit and God’s “beloved community.” Quick Excerpts:
You don’t wear shades because the future’s so bright. You wear shades because your eyes betray you.
God’s kingdom inverts our expectations because our expectations are wrong.
2. A Thousand Resurrections: An Urban Spiritual Journey by Maria Garriott. I think Maria was among the first readers I received an email from following the release of my book. We corresponded briefly, and I discovered that she was an author as well. Her book chronicles her experiences as a white Presbyterian woman “postured to achieve her place in the American dream,” but who instead chooses to move into a rough Baltimore neighborhood to live among the poor and share the love of Christ. Her story is full of the joy, heartbreak, and miracles of incarnational ministry in the city. Quick Excerpts:
The book of Galatians urges us not to grow weary in well-doing, and promises that, at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up. But at what point do you say, “Enough”? Should [her husband] Craig resign? Should we join the continuing exodus of white and black middle-class residents fleeing Baltimore city? Should we provide a safer, less stressful environment for our family, or stand with a community in need, working with others to bring restoration? …
God did not abandon us. Day after day, He sustained us in a thousand resurrections as we prayed, and wrote in journals….
Again, if you’re looking for some thought-provoking and inspiring reading, you’ll do well to check out Paul’s and Maria’s books. I’ll stop here, for now. Check back later for more.