What are you reading? (volume 2)

What are you reading—and why? (Tell us in the comments.) So here are the next four books on my list.

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Calvin vs. Wesley: Bringing Belief in Line with Practice by Don Thorsen Truth be told, this is on the to-read list, but the premise is highly interesting. The author is a professor at Azusa Pacific University, and he asserts that Christians of many stripes live more like Wesley than Calvin in practice. Since Wesley lived a few hundred years after Calvin, it looks like the book will shows their views on a variety of theological and biblical issues, what they had in common, where they diverged, and how we all tend to live out Wesley's conclusions more readily. From Roger Olson: "Every Christian interested in the history of Protestant theology and in contemporary controversies over predestination and free will must read this book." (Disclaimer: Abingdon Press gave me this book, and for that I'm grateful.)

Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writer's Guide from The Nieman Foundation at Harvard This is an anthology from "the country's most prominent journalists and nonfiction authors." I've only read a chapter or two, but as I am becoming interested in sharing spiritual biography to influence a new generation, I'm eager to learn creative ways to bring people, scenes and ideas to life on the page.

As for Me and My House by Walter Wangerin So this one is still on the list because my husband and I are still reading it along with our book club. It's a bit longer than typical marriage books, but also a lot less formulaic and stifling. If you can soldier through it (including some flowery narrative passages from the author's experience), you will gain much in discovery of what it means to become more like Jesus through your marriage. If you're looking for another deep dive marriage book, try The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason.

The Sixteenth of June by Maya Lang You know that moment when you see a book at the front in the "pick-me-up" section of your local library? Yeah, this was my wild card for the month. It's Maya Lang's debut, I'm told it smacks of the story of Ulysses in a modern context, and it is a real portrait of a family at a turning point in Philadelphia, set in one 24-hour period. Which equals a heck of a lot of character development. Quite beautiful.

Hope you enjoyed the second installment of this fun series. After all, they say you can tell a lot about a person by the books on her shelf.

How about you? What are you reading—and why?

What are you reading? (volume 1)

What are you reading—and why? (Tell us in the comments.) In an attempt to start the conversation, I nabbed six books off of the floor piles stacked in my office. In case you are wondering, yes, I do read six books at a time. Or at least parts of them. Really.

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The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence Incredible people like Richard Foster have been recommending this book for a long time. So I felt a twinge of guilt since I haven't read it. And I found myself buying it at a Lifeway store in Nashville the other day. Meditating on it in the mornings and finding my heart cheered. "We ought not to grow tired of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed."

The Wisdom of Stability by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove So we as a people no longer stay put so much in our disposable culture. Wilson-Hartgrove uses lots of narrative to show why place matters. "My well-being is tied up with the health of my neighbor—even my enemy—and the place on earth that we share."

I Refuse to Preach a Boring Sermon! by Karyn L. Wiseman So Wiseman, whom I would love to hear preach, believes we need to be more creative in preaching, tying things carefully to our local audience. And that we can/should preach without notes. She almost makes me believe it's possible!

Why Not Women? by Loren Cunningham and David Joel Hamilton, Youth with a Mission The subtitle is "A fresh look at Scripture on women in missions, ministry, and leadership." A good look at our history on women in the church and culture and a careful Scriptural look at why women must be empowered to step forward. "We must respond carefully, since God's truth often stands in direct opposition to what the majority of people believe."

Daughters of the Church by Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld So I bought this book because Kurt Willems recommended it. I didn't realize someone had gone and compiled a nice and balanced history of how women have been treated since the beginning of Church history and throughout the historical periods of the Church. They share that women have had far more involvement in the church and its mission than most people realize. (The book is worth the steep price, though I found it on half.com)

As for Me and My House by Walter Wangerin Have I mentioned the husband and I are a little leery of marriage books? We're going through this one with a book club. If you're OK with lots of narrative from the author's marriage courtship and marriage story (which the first chapter is filled with), you'll be good with this book. We loved how Wangerin referred to the marriage as the "third entity" in the relationship, one that needs nurture and care. Rather than pitting spouses against each other, it empowers them to work for the sake of the marriage. Now we're on to the forgiveness section; so far, we love what we see here. Highlights mutuality in marriage.

Hope you enjoyed the first installment of this fun series. After all, they say you can tell a lot about a person by the books on her shelf.

How about you? What are you reading—and why?