Following Stephen’s suit… here’s some books I’d like to read for the 40 days of Lent, which (as an Anglican Christian) I’m trying to get better at observing. I only managed to come up with five, but I’ll be lucky if I can read all of these anyways…
Humility: The Joy of Self-Forgetfulness by Gavin Ortlund – I meant to save this for Lent, but out of a feeling of urgent need, I went ahead and read Humility these past few days. It is a wonderfully succinct, convicting, and relevant guide to understanding and practicing humility as a Christian. It covers this topic from multiple angles—Christ’s life and sacrifice, our attitude towards God, our approach towards others (including avoiding envy), and what healthy submission to authority looks like. Ortlund’s emphasis on joy suggests a way you can pursue a humble life that is not downtrodden nor self-deprecating but lighter of heart and spirit. As always, he writes in a clear style that’s pastorally instructive but not “preachy,” making it easily approachable (and a good example of humility in practice).
If I had one quibble, it’s that Ortlund commits what I consider to be a common flaw of modern Christian authors—quoting CS Lewis and Tolkien exorbitantly often. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate those two authors! But…as good as they both are, it’s starting to get predictable, which weakens its impact. Just my 2 cents.
Overall, a book of more substance than its page count would imply, and warmly recommended.
Confessions by St. Augustine – This one speaks for itself… a classic I have not yet read.
Retrieving Augustine’s Doctrine of Creation: Ancient Wisdom for Current Controversy by Gavin Ortlund – I actually started this book months ago and stopped because it was inspiring me to read Confessions (even though Confessions isn’t necessarily a prerequisite). Interested to see what I can learn here.
Mere Christianity by CS Lewis – I had a very rocky start to this book a few weeks ago… chapter 1 left me feeling that Lewis’s theological arguments were not well supported, which was discouraging. Still, I feel obliged to read it through, since it is so well loved and influential. Also, Goodreads tells me many people reading my blog love the book, so I will attempt to tread gingerly with my critique. 😉
Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction – In recent years, I’ve been drawn to learn about major philosophical worldviews, especially how they overlap with and differ from Christianity. It seems important for evangelism, to understand how other people think and what they believe—understanding builds up empathy, true compassion, and the ability to communicate effectively. My knowledge so far is idiosyncratic (Kierkegaard with a side of Stoics), and my previous attempt to read an introductory book was unsuccessful. This VSI comes recommended by a friend who is well versed in these topics.
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