Shooting Out of The Slump: July Reading Memo

Not me but ought to be.
Photo by Ibadah Mimpi on

This month I definitely arose from, dare I say was resurrected from, my annual reading slump, as I dove into more theological works than in an average month. My pastor handed out God’s Indwelling Presence to all the teachers and leaders in the church, a book on how we should understand the role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and the New Testament, the differences and similarities. Very interesting book. Also received a small one volume overview of the book of John from my pastor, Signs of the Messiah by one of the foremost writers on John, Andreas Kostenberger. It’s been the right balance of overview and depth. Based on the recommendation of the author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, I picked up Desert Christians: An Introduction to the Literature of Early Monasticism. No joke, this was written by a guy named Harmless. This checks off multiple boxes for me, my love for Church History and crazy people living alone in the desert. So far so good.

I’m rereading The Score Takes Care of Itself as we plan to do a podcast episode on the book in a month or so. It’s the legendary NFL coach Bill Walsh’s attempt to put down his method in book form. Fun anecdote: while reading the book, I ran across the sentence, “Jeff Kemp, a very capable quarterback” and I had just been mountain biking that morning with Jeff. I wonder how it feels to be called “very capable” by one of the all time greatest NFL coaches? Or any coach. That’s one feeling I’ll never experience. Dovetailing with this is the book Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sineck. I was very underwhelmed by his book Start With Why. This one so far (1/3rd of the way) has had some incredible nuggets, yet at the same I’ve had to wade through fifty-odd pages of the same tired evolutionary mumbo-jumbo that seems to show up in so many books these days. “Because we were cavemen we act this way…” kind of thing. It’s not tired because I don’t believe in evolution (I don’t), but because it’s become so predictable, it’s highly speculative, and at the end of the day, not nearly as insightful for me as human observation.

Also for the podcast, I’ve made it about half way through Money Master the Game by Tony Robbins. This will be the first book that we feature in multiple episodes, breaking it down into seven parts to match the sub-title, “Seven simple steps to financial freedom.” We’ll launch the first episode next week, which you can check out here. Also finished PT-109 about Kennedy’s time in WWII, which we also featured on the podcast along with Thirteen Days on the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Finished volume 14 of the Wings of Fire series, which I read aloud to my youngest. Glad to be finished with it and feel like the series should have wound down with this volume. Also need to brag on my daughter, who finished her summer reading challenge early, finishing all five volumes of this church history series for kids this summer. By the way, if you’ve not read much church history, the series is story based, so it’s fantastic for adults as well. I’ve read it and referenced it on numerous occasions. If you like Church History and want more than an introduction, the best series out there hands down in my humble-not-so-humble opinion is the two volume Story of Christianity by Justo Gonzalez. I can’t say enough about these books! I’ve read both volumes at least twice and am ready to crack them open again.

In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way: A Graphic Novel. Mixed feelings about this book. It was really well done. Art and layout were fantastic, but the story, though intriguing, was depressingly shallow in the middle. I think maybe that was the point. No doubt Proust was a brilliant writer. If you’ve ever wanted to check him out, this is a great way to do it without having to fully commit. I’ve wanted to read him since I read Proust will change your life (which did not change my life but was interesting). But I think I liked that book better than actually reading Proust. I mention it here to say if you’ve ever thought of reading Proust, I’d start here to see if you’d like it or not.

Lastly I listened to Tim Keller speak on the nature of truth. So good. I’m slowly selecting my way through many of his sermons on the podcast feed on Spotify.

As always, to see what I’m currently reading, follow me on Goodreads. For book overviews and summaries and an all around rollicking good time, listen to The Bottom Line Books Podcast here.

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