Reading a book, with a cuppa hot something or other, a cozy blanket and a fire. There are a few of my favorite winter things. We've got a few more weeks left, and one or two of these books will be just right for a cozy reading session.
Open to the Spirit (by Scot McKnight)
I think highly of McKnight as a Bible scholar. His books are not lengthy and are highly readable. In this one, he shows readers who the Spirit is in Scripture. Through various stories from today, he makes the argument that the church could learn a lot more about the Spirit's power.
Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age (by Alan Noble)
At times academic feeling, this book did an excellent job of explaining how to talk about our beliefs with others in this age of technology. It also went into detail about how to stay connected to our faith personally. This book would be a great one for small group discussion.
It Takes a Church to Baptize (by Scot McKnight)
McKnight again. For years, I thought infant baptism was wrong. Then, I heard a good sermon or two, and talked at length with my pastor, and I changed my mind but it was complicated. In this book, McKnight explains it well (I especially liked the way he broke down the words of the baptism service), but it took him over a hundred pages to do it. A great read.
All That's Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment (by Hannah Anderson)
I've come to appreciate Hannah's sound thinking. She tells a good story, and is especially wise in her theology. She takes a close look at our approach to social media as believers, and makes the argument for Bible learning and the overall discernment that comes from maturing in Christ.
The Storm-Tossed Family: How The Cross Reshapes the Home (by Russell Moore)
All of those topics about the family we get a little nervous about, Moore talks about them in this book. Making kids too high of a priority, divorce, caring for the elderly, to name a few. He backs his points up well with Scripture. I especially appreciated the way he showed our marriages, our families, to be witnesses for the God we serve.
See You in the Piazza: New Places to Discover in Italy (by Frances Mayes)
Mayes is one of those authors I read every time she comes out with something new. This one is a delight! The lesser known places of Italy, from an insider's perspective. It would be excellent if you're planning a trip, or if you're an armchair traveler like me.
The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God's Goodness Around You (by Shannan Martin)
In some ways, this book is a follow-up to Martin's first book, Falling Free, when Shannan and her family left behind the comfortable life they'd always known in the country to move to the other side of the tracks. I especially appreciated the tension Shannan admitted to, as she got to know her neighbors and wanted to fully live as equals among one another. Her writing is lovely, and her love for Jesus is pure and strong.
The Color of Life: A Journey Toward Love and Racial Justice (by Cara Meredith)
I heard Cara speak about this book at the last Festival of Faith and Writing. It's her personal story of marrying a man of color, and learning all the ways this impacts daily life, in ways she's never had to think about before now. It's a love story, a history lesson, and a call to action, all in one book.
Piggy in Heaven by Melinda Johnson
It's difficult to explain death to a young child. I'm thankful for books that help parents start this discussion. In this adorable book, a child learns about heaven, a place where the grass is green and the animals are very happy.
Sold on a Monday (by Kristina McMorris)
What a story! It takes place during the Great Depression, in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A look at the difficulty of making it in journalism at that time. A look at women's rights. A story about a photograph that changed two families forever. Fiction at its finest, as readers encounter one surprise after another.
I received a copy of "Open to the Spirit," "Disruptive Witness," "It Takes A Church To Baptize" "All That's Good," "The Storm-Tossed Family," "See You in the Piazza," and "The Ministry of Ordinary Places" from NetGalley for the purpose of generating a review. I received a copy of "Piggy in Heaven" from the publisher, Paraclete Press, for the purpose of generating a review. I received a copy of "The Color of Life" from the author for being on her launch team. The opinions expressed here are my own.