March Reading Log

Here is a rundown of the 6 books I read in March.  This was a massive reading month.  One of the six books measured in at 754 pages.

Confessing Christ For Church And World: Studies In Modern Theology by Kimlyn Bender

Confessing ChristThe title of this volume is a bit misleading.  It takes reading the table of contents to realize this is a volume looking primarily at the theology of Karl Barth.  It also spends some time examining the theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher.  If those names meaning nothing to you – probably not the book for you.

Bender has provided a great primer for anyone looking to digest Barth.  That is no small task.  Barth’s monumental work, Church Dogmatics, is over a dozen volumes!  It is recognized by many as a landmark in Protestant theology but that doesn’t make it easy to read.  This volume provides concise essays that give great snapshots of Barth’s theology.

Life Together In Christ: Experiencing Transformation In Community by Ruth Haley Barton

Life Together in ChristThis is a thin work on a topic I believe to be crucial for the church.  Faith must be lived inside of Christian community.  Unfortunately, as this books points out, community is often over promised and under delivered in many churches.

This book takes a practical look at the subject using the disciples on the road to Emmaus as a case study. I appreciated the personal reflection questions found throughout chapters and the prayers to conclude each chapter.

If you are interested in this subject my go-to recommendation is Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, And How They Can Change Your Life by Eric Metaxes

miraclesThis book was given to me by a church member.  Book always make great gifts (and I’m always grateful to receive them)!

I truly enjoy Eric Metaxes.  If you’ve never seen his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast – take the time and watch it now:  Find it here.  You’ll thank me later.  I’ve referenced Metaxes’ biography of Deitrich Bonhoeffer in a previous post: Find it here.

This book on miracles is broken into two sections: 1) The question of miracles and 2) Miracles stories.  In the end, I feel this book attempted to do too much.  I enjoyed the first section but it lacked depth.  I would have enjoyed the book only covering the material in section one but in greater detail.  I really struggled with the second section.  Metaxas limited the miracles stories to ones from people he knew personally. I believe this severely limited the book.  A few of the stories were powerful.  Yet, many left me with questions.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Team of RivalsThis book is massive – over 750 pages.  I read portions of it each day and it took me three weeks to finish.  Yet, I enjoyed every page of it.  The subject matter is fascinating and the writing is crisp.

The book begins with a detailed account of Lincoln’s campaign for his party’s nomination and subsequent run for the White House.  During these campaigns Lincoln edges out very smart and capable rivals.  Upon being elected president, Lincoln named many of his rivals to his cabinet.  In fact, his fiercest rivals became his inner circle. The book is tremendous study of history and provides pointed lessons in leadership.

This book will go down as one of may personal favorites.

Outpost: Life One The Frontlines of American Diplomacy by Christopher Hill

OutpostEver wonder how nations get along?  Ever wonder how deals are done?  Hill served under three presidents as Ambassador to Iraq, the Republic of Korea, Poland, and the Republic of Macedonia.  He also served as President Bush’s Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.  The book is an interesting account of some of Hill’s highlights interacting and negotiating with foreign governments.

The book is well-written and done so with a sense of humor.  I desire to stay informed on world news.  This biography gives an interesting glimpse into a few countries that are constantly in news cycles.

A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable by Dan Gable with Scott Schulte

Dan Gable

There is no bigger legend in the sport of wrestling than Dan Gable.  I preordered this book when I first read of it.  I eagerly anticipated its arrival.  Upon its arrival I was disappointed to find the book to be about 1/3 of the size I expected it to be.

Gable is a legend.  As a wrestler he is a NCAA national champion, a world champion, and an Olympic gold medalist.  As a coach he won 15 NCAA national championships.  Thats just scratching the surface.  Plus, in his personal life he has experienced his fair share of tragedy.  I was looking forward to a mammoth book.  Yet, this book is under 150 pages.

The book, as the title suggests, is comprised of “inspiring stories.”  Each chapter is a stand alone story from Gable’s life or career.  I did enjoy the format but was left wanting more.

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