This year I'm hoping to read a good mix of old books (by deceased authors) and brand new stuff. I'd love suggestions on some good, accessible theology from the past few centuries, so please leave a comment with a recommendation or two if you have one.
In the meantime, here are some of the books I'm planning (hoping) to read this year. My list is admittedly narrow in its scope, but I want to be realistic with my time, and many of these are works I've been looking forward to and following during the writing process. So here's what's on my radar this year (in order of release date):
The Measure of Success: Uncovering the Biblical Perspective on Women, Work, and the Home by Carolyn McCulley and Nora Shank (B&H, Feb. 1). "Far from the stone-throwing arguments that often occupy the discussion around women, work, and the home, Carolyn and Nora show how the redemptive message of the gospel allows the Bible's teaching on the role of women to coexist with ambition. It creates a fresh vision for the profit we all gain from encouraging female contribution in the home, society, and church."
The Storytelling God: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Parables by Jared Wilson (Crossway, Feb. 28). "The prodigal son. The good Samaritan. A treasure hidden in a field. Most of us have heard these parables before. Yet if these oft-repeated stories strike us as merely sweet, heartwarming, or sentimental, we can be sure we’ve misread them. Jesus’s parables are simultaneously working to conceal and reveal profound spiritual truths about God, humanity, the world, and the future—and we must learn to plumb their depths. A careful reading of the biblical text reveals the surprising ways in which such seemingly simple stories rebuke, subvert, and sabotage our sinful habits, perspectives, and priorities. Discarding the notion that Jesus’s parables are nothing more than moralistic fables, Jared Wilson shows how each one is designed to drive us to Jesus in awe, need, faith, and worship."
United: Captured by God's Vision for Diversity by Trillia Newbell (Moody, March 15). "Civil rights leaders of fifty years ago fought hard to overturn the "separate but equal" Jim Crow laws. America has come a long way since the 60's. Our public facilities, parks, pools, and educational facilities - once segregated - are now filled with a variety of ethnic groups enjoying the benefits of togetherness.Yet, our churches remain separate but equal. In a time of great progress, why does the church remain relatively unmoved?"
Grace is Free: One Woman's Journey from Fundamentalism to Failure to Faith by Marci Preheim (Cruciform Press, March). If you've read my blog for long, you've probably seen Marci's name pop up on several posts. Cruciform Press is publishing a new, updated version of Marci's self-published title, Super(free)woman. I'm thrilled this book will have a wider audience, as Marci's message is one every Christian needs to hear. "Grace is Free exposes a dangerous but popular teaching among women in Christian circles today. The gospel is meant to set people free, but instead it has been subtly tainted by the enemy. False teaching has slipped in virtually unnoticed but its effects are deadly. To-do-lists, competition, and extra rules have enslaved women instead of guiding them. Grace is Free attempts to realign perspectives and help women understand how to rest through faith in what has already been accomplished through Jesus Christ."
Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms by Gloria Furman (Crossway, March 31). "In this encouraging book for frazzled moms, Gloria Furman, a pastor's wife and mother of four, encourages us to refocus and reorient our vision of motherhood around what the Bible teaches. Showing us how to pursue a vibrant and ever-growing relationship with Christ—even when discouragement sets in and the dirty laundry is still waiting to be washed—this book will help you treasure Christ more deeply no matter how busy you are."
Made For More: An Invitation to Live in God's Image by Hannah Anderson (Moody, April 1). "By finding identity primarily in the things that define us personally, we have removed God from the central place in our lives and our distinctives have become God to us. When we do this, our transcendent, magnificent, indefinable, God is reduced to boxes and categories and safe, comfortable paradigms. We shape Him in our own likeness and define His personhood after our own. But we've forgotten something. We've forgotten that the most fundamental thing about us isn't our race or our age or even our gender; the most fundamental thing about all of us is that we are made in God's image, that our ultimate identity is to reflect and represent Him on this earth."
Dispatches from the Front: Stories of Gospel Advance in the World's Difficult Places by Tim Keesee (Crossway, May 31). Our family has really enjoyed the Dispatches from the Front DVD sets, so I'm excited to read this book as a companion to the stories seen on film. "The incredible accounts included in this compelling travelogue—stories that span the globe from China to Afghanistan—highlight the bold faith and sacrificial bravery of God's people. Ultimately, Dispatches from the Front magnifies Christ's saving work in all the earth, encouraging Christians to stand firm in the gospel and joyfully embrace their role in its unstoppable advance!"
Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin (Crossway, July 31). "Many Christian women find great encouragement and joy in and through women’s Bible studies. However, popular Bible teacher Jen Wilkin is concerned that sometimes we let our emotions rule our study of Scripture and forget that the Bible is primarily about God, not us. Challenging hungry women to go deeper in their study of Scripture, this book will help you refocus your efforts on feeding your mind first and foremost. Whether you’re young or old, married or single, this accessible volume will energize and equip you for Bible study aimed at transforming both the heart and mind."
The Stories We Tell: How TV and Movies Long for and Echo the Truth (Cultural Renewal) by Mike Cosper (Crossway, Aug. 31). "The average American watches 5 hours of TV daily and, each year, we collectively spend about $30 billion on movies. Simply put, we’re entertainment junkies. But can we learn something from our insatiable addiction to stories? Mike Cosper thinks so—arguing that popular shows and movies speak volumes about who we are as broken people living in a broken world. From horror flicks to rom-coms, the tales we tell and the myths we weave inevitably echo the one, great narrative underlying all of history: the story of man’s tragic sin and God’s triumphant salvation. Cosper shows how modern entertainment reveals humanity’s universal longing for redemption as he explores a variety of genres, influential films, and shows, ultimately teaching us how to engage with and evaluate what we watch."
*Full disclosure--if you buy one of these books from the Amazon links on this page, I will get a tiny profit, further feeding my book addiction. If you would like to support said addiction, feel free to use these links. If you want to free me from the addiction, you might not want to use them. And, if you know of a great local bookstore, supporting them is even better!