These lists highlight some of my favorites in two categories: books I read in 2018 that were 1) released this year and 2) not released this year. Perhaps some of these will make it onto your bookshelf in 2019. I recommend them all!
I maintain a Google document going each year that keeps track of the best music, movies, books, and TV I've enjoyed that year. Sometimes I even take note of best restaurants and food experiences. As we close the book on 2017 and as I prepare to create a blank 2018 Google document in a few days, here's a look at what made the cut in my favorites of 2017.
I wrote Uncomfortable to remind Christians of this: that in spite of the awkwardness, the challenges and the discomfort of local church life, it is worth it. The discomfort of it is how we grow, as we lean not on ourselves but on the Holy Spirit at work within us, supernaturally doing things in and through churches that by all fleshly accounts should not and could not happen.
My new book, Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community, comes out the last week of September but is available for preorder now. If you are curious about what others are saying about the book, below you can read some of the very kind words that have been offered as endorsements of the book.
Do you remember the old food pyramid that shows how a healthy body depends on a balanced diet, with the right proportions of food groups and nutrition vs. junk foods? In our current epistemological crisis, where we are bombarded by a glut of content and information but have so little wisdom, we need guidance on healthier habits of knowledge intake. We need a wisdom pyramid.
My new book, Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christianity Community, is being published in September by Crossway. The book is about the comforting gospel of Jesus Christ that leads us to live uncomfortable lives for him. It’s about recovering a willingness to do hard things, to embrace hard truths, to do life with hard people for the sake and glory of the One who did the hardest thing. Each chapter of the book explores some “uncomfortable” aspect of becoming the church Jesus wants us to be.
I'm thrilled to announce that on September 30, 2017, I will release my third book: Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community. Crossway is publishing the book, and the wonderful Russell Moore (!) has kindly written a foreword. I'll be sharing a lot about Uncomfortable in coming months, but here's a bit about it to give you a sense for the general concept...
A collection of my publications from recent months
Song to Song is Cinematic Wisdom Literature (March 16, 2017, Christianity Today)
My review, for Christianity Today, of Terrence Malick's latest film, Song to Song
One of the truisms that has guided me in my writing life and which I am more and more convinced of is this: good writers are good readers. Any creative person who hopes to produce something meaningful simply must be regularly filled, provoked, challenged and inspired by the works of others. For me this takes many forms (see my favorite music of the year here, and next week my favorite movies)
I try to read new books at least as much (and hopefully more) as I watch new films and television or listen to new music, and this year there were quite a few books that I loved or greatly admired. Below are my favorite books released in 2015 and then my favorite books that I read (not necessarily released this year) in 2015.
For the past few years on this blog I have spent much of the month of December compiling best-of lists of various genres (books, movies, music, food). This year I've decided to list all my favorites of the year in one place. In addition to simply being a fun activity for me to reflect back on the year, I hope the following also serves the purpose of putting some good recommendations on your radar. Below are, in order, my favorite books, films, documentaries, TV shows, albums, songs and food experiences of 2014. What were your favorites of 2014?
The following are five books that have either come out recently or will be released very soon. They are books that I think are particularly inspiring and motivating for those of us who may be in a transition moment in life but still doggedly in pursuit of the good life: living, growing, thinking, believing and questioning well.
scriptural silence about the particularities of 21st century media habits is no reason to just throw up one’s hands and indulge in an “anything goes” free-for-all. Rather, it’s an invitation to think about the gray areas more deeply, to wrestle with them based on what Scripture does say and what we’ve come to know about the calling of Christians in this world. The gray areas matter.
I was somewhat skeptical going in to Tilt-a-Whirl; mostly because "Christian films" of any sort are almost always a let down. But this was a pleasant surprise—a genuinely compelling, well-made film that never feels false or inauthentic and actually leaves us with insights to ponder and stirs our hearts and minds toward God.
My 2011 recaps ends here, with my list of the best books I read in 2011. I read 42 books, of vast variety—some old, some new, some fiction, mostly nonfiction—many of which were in some way research for the book I am currently writing. About half were for no other purpose than pleasure. Here are my picks for the ones that stood out the most.
Every April I read The Great Gatsby. The tradition started the April of my junior year at Wheaton College, when I took my copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece (the most perfect American novel, IMHO) to Adams Park, laid down on the newly warm grass and read through the whole book in one sunny afternoon. It was bliss.
Because it's impossible (at least for me) to read enough new release books in one year to even begin to make claims to a “best of” list, my book list is strictly a “favorites” list. The following are five books that came out this year that delighted me, provoked me, informed me and thrilled me… books I’ll remember and will recommend to others.
In the end, very little knowledge in this world is ironclad. Very little is absolutely proved or exhaustively understood. Vast mystery inheres in every moment of our lives, in all the minutia. But that doesn't debilitate us; we have faith in the functioning of the world. Faith is inescapable, even if we don't often recognize it as such.
James Davison Hunter's new book, To Change the World, has been stirring up buzz since it came out this spring, and for good reason. It's an intellectually robust, complicated, nuanced treatment of a crucial, continually difficult subject matter: The relationship between Christianity and culture. How do Christians relate to culture? How do they transform it? Is this even the right question to ask? For those familiar with this blog and my prevailing concerns as a writer, you know that this is a subject near and dear to my heart