What’s that parcel?

Or some thoughts on reading….

I got a delivery of books from Amazon this morning, and so I have another small pile of books to read through in the next couple of weeks. So what’s in the pile?

First there are a couple of books from John Piper. I find his passion for God infectious and read his books from time to time to refresh my own passion for the Lord. I am trying to read my way though most of what he has written. In this consignment were “The Supremacy of God in Preaching” and “When I don’t desire God: How to fight for joy

If you have never read any Piper I recommend that you start with his excellent “Desiring God.” You can check it out on the net here, but it’s such a great book that I recommend you have a paper copy, and read it pencil in hand.

I also have a thin volume entitled “Praying the Psalms” by Thomas Merton. I picked up one of his books when staying at a retreat house recently and found it illuminating, and this was all I could get from Amazon so I thought I would give it a try. I guess the reason for this purchase is what you might call exploring new territory.

The final book in the pile is D.A.Carson’s “Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church.” D.A. Carson is one of my trusted guides, and I find is gracious way of disagreeing with others quite refreshing. I read D. A. Carson to stimulate my mind. He is a master of the written word and writes with a clarity and power of logic.

So there is my latest pile of books. What are you reading right now? And more importantly why are you reading it? (My blog – I know! For the pedants out there I meant what book are your reading?)

I believe that for those in ministry taking time to read is essential and for Christians generally highly desirable. But I guess what we read is of great importance. Frankly I find visiting Christian bookshops increasingly depressing, and don’t get me started on the Christian best seller list…..

So where should you start? I need to think about this some more, but I thought I would start a recommended reading list and add to it from time to time. So here are a few thoughts to get us started on my list of books I wish every Christian should read.

First as I’ve already said John Piper’s ““Desiring God.” is truly excellent. It’s not a lightweight paperback, but it is readable and you can give it a try on line. Don’t be put off by the expression “Christian Hedonist” that he uses. I’m probably one of those that wished that he hadn’t used this expression, but it doesn’t really spoil a great book.

Second, though I’ve not read it from cover to cover Fee and Stuart’s “How to read the Bible for all its worth” has been a useful guide and is a great introduction to how we understand the Bible

I was going to recommend “The fight” by John White, but it’s getting difficult to get hold of. This is a fairly simple little book on discipleship and well worth a read if you ever find it anywhere.

If you have never read “The Screwtape letters” by C.S. Lewis then thy are worth a read as they are insightful and helpful.

That should do for now! As I said I will have a think about this subject and may return with a reading list. While I am tempted to begin a list of books that I don’t think any Christian should read – ever, I don’t think I will because while it might be fun, it might not be helpful, and what’s more I am going to upset some people if I do and the emails will keep coming and……

Finally I thought I would conclude this post by commenting on how I read. Some of you know that I operate a (fairly flexible) discipline of reading every week day. Sometimes time does not allow, and it goes by the way.

Recently I’ve developed a technique for reading that I have found helpful and so will recommend. I take a sheet of A5 paper and fold it lengthways into three and then use this as a book mark. I read with a pencil in hand and underline key passages. When I underline I note the page numbers on the A5 paper and leave the book mark in the book when I’ve finished. This means I can flick back though and find quotes very easily.

Anyway happy reading and I’ll be thinking about that recommended list.


1 Comment

  1. Hi. You said…

    Frankly I find visiting Christian bookshops increasingly depressing, and don’t get me started on the Christian best seller list…

    … but that was three years ago. How about more recently? Would you like to come on over to the Christian Bookshops Blog and talk about it?

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