Here’s a rundown of the 6 books that I read in February. Happy reading!
The Gospel According to Heretics: discovering Orthodoxy through Early Christological Conflicts by David Wilhite
It always fun to read books by people you know on a personal level. Dr. Wilhite is a professor at Baylor’s Truett Seminary. He also served as the interim pastor at FBC Crawford prior to my call as pastor.
This book is a scholarly look at early christologial conflicts. If you are unfamiliar here’s a few of the heretics: Marcion, Arius, and Apollinarius. Here’s a few of the heresies: Supersessionism, Subordinationism, Subhumanism. All great stuff. You purchase the book for the information but the humor comes free of charge. The book made me chuckle frequently and laugh at loud at numerous points. It even caused me to spit Diet Coke across my office in laughter at one point.
The most fascinating portion of the book is the final chapter in which Wilhite deals with Muslin heretics. He traces how Orthodox Christians during the early stage of Islam viewed Muslims as people of the book but viewed their understanding of Jesus as heretical.
The 5 Love Language: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman
I’m heading to the Texas/Mexico border for a mission trip during Spring Break. I’ll be teaching an empowerment class covering much of the material in this book. I reread this book probably for the 5th time. I constantly use the concepts in the book for premarital counseling.
Chapman identifies the 5 Love Languages: Word of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. His premise is that each person has a preferred love language – the way in which you receive and feel loved. Due to our own personal love language we tend to show others love via our own love language. There is the problem. What if your spouse has a different love language? You need to find your spouse’s love language and show them love in the way in which they receive and feel loved.
This is a must read for couples and pastors.
The Making of an Ordinary Saint: My Journey From Frustration to Joy with the Spiritual Disciplines by Nathan Foster
This is a fun and easy read. Nathan Foster is the son of Richard Foster, the author of Celebration of Discipline and pioneer of the spiritual formation moment. Richard Foster provides short vignettes to start each chapter. After the opening thoughts, Nathan Foster provides his up and down journey with the spiritual disciplines.
The book covers the spiritual disciplines of submission fasting, study, solitude, meditation, confession, simplicity, service, pryer, guidance, worship, and celebration. Nathan Foster provides refreshing and helpful look at the struggle and success of living out the spiritual disciplines. This a great introduction for those looking into the spiritual disciplines while it is also a refreshing read for those long familiar with the spiritual disciplines.
Getting Things Done: The art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
I have a good friend that is a convert to the GTD (Getting Things Done) system. He loaned me the book and persisted that I give it a try. I skimmed the book and gave a lackluster attempt at incorporating a few techniques … and liked them. I returned my friends book and ordered a copy of my own. I have since thoroughly read the book and adopted many if its productivity techniques.
Getting Things Done is a book that most people will either love or hate. I think that I’m a bit of an outlier in that I can see its advantages while choosing to ignore the things that wont work for me.
The premise of GTD is that our productivity is linked to the ability to clear and relax our minds. The ability to clear and relax our minds is tied to our ability to organize and create strategic plans for productivity. David Allen offers a system that makes the ability to organize incredibly easy … if you are willing to buy into the system. The basics of the system involve a structure in which you capture, clarify, organize, reflect, and engage.
The big takeaway from this book: The ability to “capture” the things that need to get done and place them into your organizational system reduces a great deal of stress. It frees your mind to focus on productivity rather than remembering all that needs to be accomplished. The teaser: The two-minute rule has been a game changer for me.
What’s Best Next: How The Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman
This is a fascinating book to read on the heels of reading Getting Things Done. In fact, Perman provides a great deal of pushback to the GTD system. Yet, there is a great deal of overlap. You might say this book is GTD with theology. The theology behind our need to work and be productive is explained in an extremely helpful way.
Perman offers a D.A.R.E. system (define, architect, reduce, execute) to counter the GTD systems of capture, clarify, organize, reflect, and engage. While GTD is a list based system, Perman offers a system that revolves around a basic schedule. He argues that creating a basic schedule that details the type of work done at a given time is more helpful than being a slave to checking items of a list. For example, Monday morning are scheduled for projects, Monday afternoons are scheduled for meetings, Monday nights are schedule for writing, and so on.
I think reading this contribution along with Getting Things Done will give you a wide range of knowledge on the topic of productivity since both works die a different system and pull from many other sources.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
I’ve now completed the 5th book in the Harry Potter series. Boy did this take me a bit to read! Not only is it massive, but I struggled at many points to remain engaged in the storyline. I think it had to do more with me than the book.
I picked this up right before I started my Doctorate of Ministry seminar in February – which means I was distracted. I should have been reading other things but wanted to divert my attention. After the seminar, I struggled to get back into the plot. Yet, all the Potter fans know that this installment opens up a new cast of characters plus numerous twists and turns.
Two more books to go …. and now a play to be released this summer.