I typically read books during my extended vacation breaks, but during the pandemic, I’ve managed to spend a bit more time reading. Here are 4 short books that I really enjoyed. Two of them are by authors we interviewed on The Podcast Made Flesh.
IN: Incarnation & Inclusion, Abba & Lamb by Brad Jersak
In previous books, Jersak consistently presents one of the most compelling images of Jesus that I have ever encountered. He understands God through love. IN is a natural progression toward knowing what a God of pure, passionate, creative love means. Jersak unpacks what God becoming flesh means in terms of that love and then how that informs our life in Christ as ones who love the other, as in always including the other. The book includes some helpful definitions as many Christian words have become loaded terms that do not support inclusion (or love for that matter).
The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why by Phyllis Tickle
Where Mark A Noll traces the history of the Evangelical Church through political and church movements in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Tickle conveys the wider context of societal, scientific, technological, and global changes of the past century and a half. Where Noll leaves off, Tickle picks up and presents why Christianity is currently in a state of unmooring, rediscovery and change. Like the Great Schism and Reformation before it, the Great Emergence is poised to bring a new shoot of life to the church out of the now decaying, corrupted, rigid body of Christ.
Genesis for Normal People: A Guide to the Most Controversial, Misundertood, and Abused Book of the Bible by Peter Enns & Jared Byas
I have recently understood that being able to embrace a God that is bigger than the Bible means that Bible-believers ought to learn more about what the Bible is and what it is not. As a normal person who loves both God and the Bible, Pete Enns and Jared Byas’ excellent podcast The Bible for Normal People has helped contextualize books of the Bible in a way that I haven’t had access to before. This book quickly shows the purpose of the book of Genesis – establishing who the people of Israel are and who their God is. It also sheds light on why certain stories are so important to explaining Israel’s identity and what certain elements do not mean.
Building Community: Practical Ways to Build Inclusive Communities for People Who are Vulnerable by Cara Milne
I had the pleasure of interviewing Cara Milne on The Podcast Made Flesh earlier this year. She graciously gave me a copy of her book on how to improve community for people with disabilities. It’s a book full of anecdotal stories that illustrate some of the wisdom she’s found in her years of work guiding many of these communities. One of the most important things I picked up is the tremendous value of local, simple, and meaningful relationships in the life of all people.