Having dabbled with book reviews on this blog in the past (and having decided to leave that task to others) I figured instead I would from time to time list the books I've been reading with a quick word about each. This recent collection is overwhelmingly faith-based – especially relating to my interest in re-imagining expressions of Christian community in Phoenix.
The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West …Again – a great read about how the Celtic saints reaching the barbarian peoples in Ireland, Scotland, and England. The author draws parallels to the time the church finds itself today in the Western world and offers some insight we can learn from these ancient Celtic movements to bring a freshness to our efforts today.
unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity….and Why it Matters – a book centered around some recent research done by the Barna group that identifies the perspective that young people in America have of Christianity. It's an interesting read, but like most of the Barna books that are driven by numerical results to surveys, gets a bit dry by the end.
They Like Jesus But Not The Church: Insights from Emerging Generations – I like Dan Kimball. I get the impression he writes the say way he would speak if you were having a face-to-face-conversation with him. Or maybe it's that I had a conversation with him while he was writing this book which I found myself remembering as I read the book. Either way – I am really glad Dan wrote this book. In it, he's honest about his own failures of isolation as a church leader. His stories of getting out of the church walls to be among those outside the church reveal with great insight the barriers keeping many from exploring the Christina faith. Dan does offer hope from his stories though, many of those he mentions are deeply interested and respectful of the person and teachings of Jesus. This is a simple, but insightful book. It's a relatively quick read and I found myself engaged throughout it.
The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of leaderless Organizations – I normally don't like business books. I hate models, formulas, and how-to-success books. So that made me hesitant when I approached this book. I was pleasantly surprised as I jumped in that this book reads much more like a sociology book than a business one. It's premise is to expose the beauty and successes of non-heirarchial (even leaderless) organizationsas opposed to the typical corporate structureed organization. This books highlights some amazing success stories of movements that have changed modern life in radical ways and yet are without typical forms of organization. The case studies range from Burning Man to the internet itself and highlight a number of web 2.0 & oopen-source phenomenons. Very interesting stuff.
Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God is a Broken World – Just finished this one. I find myself reading more than few books these days that speak of solidarity with the poor as a way to learn and to seek a balance in life. This book is a simple book filled with stories of the authors experiences working among the poor around the world. It's an easy read with plenty of challenging aspects. I am a fan of this book.
Hopefully this helps expose some good reads to someone out there who wouldn't have otherwise come across them.
UPDATE: I left out a great book from the list – Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Developmen. I highly recommend this interesting and insightful book about how faith develops within us.
Also…keep track of the books I have read, am reading, and have next in the queue via my shelfari page