What Are You Reading? January 2017 Edition

One of my go-to questions of both friends and new acquaintances is, “What are you reading?” It’s really another way of asking, “Who are you hanging around with these days? Maybe I can hang around with you guys, too.” I’m always looking for book recommendations. As you can see, I’m a little light (as usual) in the fiction department, so feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments section below.

Maybe you’re in the market for a book to add to your stack, too. Here’s what I’ve read recently:

barefoot

Barefoot is the third in Sharon Garlough Brown’s series bringing together the disparate genres of fiction and spiritual direction. (My review of Sensible Shoes, the first book in the series, here.) My long-time prayer partner Meg and I have enjoyed each book, as the relationship described in the books echo our own friendship, but we both agreed that this third book in the series was our favorite. The now-familiar characters struggled, changed, and grew; the instruction about formation was seamlessly integrated into the plot of this memorable read.

temple

I was looking for a non-technical overview of the Old Testament tabernacle and temple(s) to help me prep for some teaching I’ll be doing next month on the subject, and was glad to discover J. Daniel Hays’ recent release, The Temple and the Tabernacle: A Study of God’s Dwelling Places from Genesis to Revelation. The book is packed with lots of helpful insights (though I do have some questions about his take on what Scripture says about a third temple), and the many archaeological images and helpful drawings add much to the study.

liturgy

Tish Harrison Warren translates the worship script guiding Sunday corporate worship gatherings into the warp and woof of our days in Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life. Many of us may think that what happens on Sunday stays on Sunday, but Harrison’s shimmering, honest and relatable writing reminds us that we live before God each moment of our lives. Brushing our teeth, being stuck in traffic…each ordinary moment of our lives reflects the reality of what liturgy expresses. 
no little women
Classical Reformed writer Aimee Byrd’s No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God is a book with great relevance to the current conversation taking place around women’s ministry both in local churches and on the conference circuit. (More about that conversation, along with a bit about Byrd’s book here.) Her call for both men and women to stop treating the formation of women in the local church as though it is a silly, non-essential adjunct to real the mission of the congregation offers practical remedies with application that extend beyond the boundaries of the Reformed world, plus lots of good food for thought, prayer, and conversation.
good for women
I’m halfway through an advanced reader’s copy of Wendy Alsup’s Is The Bible Good For Women? Seeking Clarity and Confidence Through a Jesus-Centered Understanding of Scripture. Yes, of course the Bible is good for all of us, but in some quarters, it has been used as a choose-your-own-adventure bludgeon. Alsup knows the neo-Calvinist world well, and attempts to counteract for her readers the way this bludgeon has been used on women, particularly in that that theological stream. Is The Bible Good For Women? is meant to restore some common sense to the often-pretzeled complementarian conversation about gender roles.
nailed it
Anne Kennedy is an Anglican priest, home schools her six kids, and is a prolific blogger. If I didn’t meet her face-to-face last month, I would not believe she was one single real person, because she has 9.5-ish full-time jobs. But she is real – so very real – and her frank, faithful writer’s voice will remind you that God is real, and you are real, too.  Nailed It: 365 Sarcastic Devotions for Angry and Worn-Out People is neither sweet nor predictable. Here’s a bit of her take on Job’s “friends”:
After seeing his great grief they sit in silence for seven days, not saying anything – which is an incredible mercy. But then they decide to unstop their mouths and let Job have it. 
“You should try to be a better person,” they all say. “You should have more faith,” they all counsel. “You should sin less.” “It’s probably, I mean, clearly your own fault,” they all say. And so on for a thousand iterations, in a thousand generations. But Job isn’t a fool, and neither is God, so eventually someone will come along and tell them to go jump in a lake.
I love this book of arresting devotions. Love. It.
Next up in the queue:
made for
women word
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About Michelle Van Loon