What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dashboard: Nouwen, Smith, Barth, Willard & Getting Things Done

A quick review of books, podcasts, music and other stuff that I've been imbibing...

*If you're looking for a book that will do some significant soul-tune-up work in just a few pages, you could do no better than to spend some time with Henri Nouwen.

I've just finished his "The Way of the Heart" and, like nearly all of his books, it packs a serious punch without trying too hard. Nouwen drills down into the importance of connecting with God through solitude, silence, and prayer.

I'm terrible at all of these things, and yet Nouwen invites me in, gently, persistently, into the heart of the Father without guilt or manipulation.

Nouwen (who died in 1996) has dozens of books. I've only read a handful but they are always insightful, warm, and powerful. Put this on your Christmas wish-list.

*Prior to that I read James Bryan Smith's "The Good and Beautiful Life." This is part two of his "Good and Beautiful" series. The first one, "The Good and Beautiful God," was a spectacular gathering up of the whole of the Christian story that was refreshing in its simplicity without feeling watered down.

This follow-up effort focuses on the formation of character as we follow Christ, particularly viewed through the Sermon on the Mount. It's a solid effort that invites us into genuine transformation of our hearts through thoughtful exposition and practical implications.

I found TG&BL to be not quite as captivating as TG&BG, but it might have been the difference between reading the latter at the beach this summer (where everything is slightly more glorious) and the former in between meetings and on airplanes and in the margins of my day.

*In my Ipod: Dallas Willard's weekend conference at Bethel Seminary in 2008. Willard is rabid about what Smith writes about in TG&BL (they're buds--Smith studied under him for many years): that genuine life transformation is critical to any real Christianity.

I'll blog more about this later next week, but for now let me say that I *heart* Dallas Willard's thorough and deeply studied approach to the Christian life. If you're getting ready for a trip somewhere and want something to chew on while you drive, download this via Itunes U.

*Theological reading that I just finished: Karl Barth's "The Epistle to the Romans." This is Barth's commentary on Romans, and it is outstanding.

I started reading this sometime early in the summer more or less devotionally over my breakfast every morning. I just finished it at the beginning of December. If you're looking for a New Year's resolution to stretch your mind, I'd recommend ordering this and reading a bit of it each day.

*Business/Leadership Book: I just started "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. I've heard a good bit of hype surrounding this book--that it'll bring organizational certitude to even the most organizationally inept of us. So far, it's living up to the hype--some really solid thoughts about how to get things done...even for guys like me.

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