At the beginning of 2017 I made a decision to be more deliberate and intentional about my reading. I was falling into bad reading habits, and as a result I was getting through fewer and fewer books, and recalling less and less of what I had read in those books. A quote from John Piper challenged me to schedule reading time into my daily calendar. He said:
Suppose you read about 250 words a minute and that you resolve to devote just 15 minutes a day to serious theological reading to deepen your grasp of biblical truth. In one year (365 days) you would read for 5,475 minutes. Multiply that times 250 words per minute and you get 1,368,750 words per year. Now most books have between 300 and 400 words per page. So if we take 350 words per page and divide that into 1,368,750 words per year, we get 3,910 pages per year. This means that at 250 words a minute, 15 minutes a day, you could read about 20 average sized books a year!
Gosh, 15 minutes a day of discipline really starts to stack up. By God’s grace it has been a fruitful year of reading, and I have learned a great deal again, especially in terms of how I ought to read more going forward.
So, here are the second group of 5 of the 25 books that I enjoyed this year, with very short reviews to whet your appetite. You can find the first 5 here. My simple hope is to encourage you to read more and to enjoy your reading more. They appear in the order that I read them.
I have a lot of respect for Christopher Ash and his writings have served me very well over the years. This book was no different. I loved the notion of “sustainable sacrifice” and feel that it is really useful language for those serving in the church. If you are a pastor, then this definitely needs to be read by you.
You can guess what issue I was wresting through at the time of reading this. I found myself, like so many others, too busy to be be able to be properly effective. This little book is a good gospel tonic for such a condition and as a result is something that I have committed to re-reading every year for a few years to keep me from repeat stupidity.
Silence: A Novel – Shusaku Endo
Beautiful, tragic, gut-wrenching. My biggest struggle but one of my most rewarding reads all year. A powerful portrayal of betrayal, faith, doubt and angst. Also, a powerful symbol of Christ’s submission in order to stop the suffering of others. Highly recommended, but nothing light about it.
Messy Grace: How a Pastor with Gay Parents Learned to Love Others Without Sacrificing Conviction – Caleb Kaltenbach
Really good at digging into stories that keep pastors from only just dealing with an issue, and rather discipling people who are loved by God. If you need some help walking the pastoral line of grace and truth, then this book is helpful. Nothing new in the argument or reasoning, but disarming in approach.
Orthodoxy – G.K. Chesterton
My suspicion is that G.K. Chesterton is quoted much more than he is read. I have heard quotes from him in a number of sermons, and have even quoted him myself, but up until this year I hadn’t read much from him at all. Amazon ran a special on his complete works in Kindle edition (which I believe is still on here), and I so have dipped my toe in with a few of his essays, some of his fiction (which I haven’t loved) and his masterpiece, Orthodoxy. Written as he was accused of simply dismantling other’s theology without clarifying and justifying his own, it is hard yards, but full of wit and much provocation to deeper thought on a number of issues.
Well, that’s the second 5. Will try do 5 every day this week to get us through the list. What about you? What have you been reading? Let me know.