My Top 10 Books of 2021
Hearers & Doers - In this book, Kevin Vanhoozer gives pastors and church leaders a vision for building disciples fit for following Christ using the tools of Scripture and doctrine. The model he puts forward is not "make sure everyone learns a Bible verse for every situation." Rather, pastors should seek to form the social imaginary and theological imagination of the body through the teaching of the Scriptures, that as believers encounter various circumstances in life they know how to "improvise" in a fitting manner, as they participate as actors in God's story.
Gentle and Lowly - Dane Ortlund's surprise best seller is worth any hype you've heard. There is great balm for the soul to be found in meditating on the person and work of Jesus Christ. "There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole, there is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul." Friends, do your soul a favor, and read this book in 2022.
introduction to the Christian faith following the outline of the Apostles' Creed. Are you looking for a refresher on the fundamentals of the faith? This is a good book to look at. Helpful suggestions for further reading on each topic, too.
Wingfeather Saga - Our family has only read the first two of Andrew Peterson's saga, "On the Edge of
the Dark Sea of Darkness," and "North! Or be Eaten." A.Maz.Ing. Fun books for the whole family, the three year old loves them, the older kids love them, and Andie and I are laughing just as hard and sometimes harder.
Why Johnny Can't Preach - T. David Gordon has written a brief, but powerful, manifesto. If you're wondering, Johnny can't preach because Johnny can't write, and Johnny can't write because Johnny can't read, and Johnny can't read because churches and seminaries don't value close reading of texts, and therefore ministry training and churches are not structured to support the habits necessary for skillful reading. If I had a complaint it was that the book was so short, but that may have been part of its brilliance.
1 Samuel: Looking at the Heart - I finished preaching 1 Samuel earlier this year. No matter how crunched I was for time, I always read Dale Ralph Davis's commentary. It is homiletical in style, so there is tons of heart searching application, but not in a "let's make the Bible relevant" sort of way. It the eternal principles and truth from God's word and pressing them straight into the chest of the reader. It was like being preached to as I got the sermon together.
We Were Soldiers Once, and Young - Wow. This book, by Harold Moore and Joseph Galloway, gives you an eyewitness account of the early days of the Vietnam War in the Ia Drang Valley. I walked away with a fresh horror at war, and admiration for those who, whether by volunteering or being drafted, have been called by their country to put their lives on the line.
Worth a mention:
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Survival and Resistance in Evangelical America by Crawford Gribben (this would certainly be in the top 10 if I were done with it...next year)
Prayer by John Onwuchekwa
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity by Carlo Cipolla
Christians Get Depressed Too by David Murray