I have been falsely accused of just sitting around reading all the time. That is blatantly untrue. Sometimes, I have to go book hunting. I also have to rearrange shelves. I have to think about mowing the yard. I have to post these blog articles on books. I have to make coffee in the mornings. I have to plan out naps. Finding time for reading is not easy, but this month has been a great book month. I have finished 14 books. Several of these were books that got started in past months, but could not be finished until now.
Here are the books I finished this month:
1. This Independent Republic by R. J. Rushdoony. Read in June-July
I first read this book when I was in college. It overwhelmed me then. I did not know how to read serious books or how to think from Christian presuppositions. I have read portions of this book several times since then, but only now reread it from cover to cover. This book, which came out in the early 1960s, stands the test of time. This is still a great starting point for young Christian historians. I hope to complete a more in-depth article on Rushdoony as a historian.
2. The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution by Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus. Sarted in February and finished in June-July.
I started this Crossway book last winter and read a good portion and then it got set aside. In June I picked it back up and plowed on through to the end. This is an extremely good study of economics from a Christian, conservative, and free market viewpoint. The focal group of intended readers is leaders in Third World countries, but Americans need to read this book. From Congressmen (which will likely not happen) to high school and college students to pastors. This book makes good practical and Biblical arguments for more freedom and less government control over the economy.
3. Living at the Crossroads: An Introduction to Christian Worldview by Michael Goheen and Craig Bartholomew. Read in June-July.
I have and have read lots of books dealing with the idea of a Christian worldview. The Church today still avoids the serious thinking and the needed applications of Christian worldview thinking. Geheen and Bartholomew have also written a really good survey of philosophy from a Christian viewpoint and a book on Scripture.
4. The Treasure Principle: Discovering the Secret of Joyful Giving by Randy Alcorn. Read on July 9.
This is a million-seller book. It is extremely convicting. It is an easy one-sitting read, but implementing this book involves some radical changes in the heart, mind, and wallet. I hope to absorb and implement more of what is taught here.
5. What is Reformed Theology? by R. C. Sproul. Read in July.
I read this basic survey of Reformed Theology and have listened to parts of Sproul’s audio lectures on the same topics. I am also currently reading Sproul’s Everyone’s a Theologian. Sproul is outstanding at introducing readers to theological issues, but he also instructs those of us who have been around the block a few times.
6. Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have To Give Up In Order to Move Forward by Henry Cloud. Read in July.
Dr. George Grant recommended this book to me. It is one of the best books I have read this year. I am at a point of needing to move forward in several areas of life. This book forced me to make some serious decisions and make some changes that were needed. In spite of changes, I will need to read this book again.
7. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Started reading about the middle of June and finish about the middle of July.
1070 pages of Rand’s rant. I have commented on previous blogs about this book. It is worth the effort. Rand hit upon a few truths that are woefully missing in our world today. Her solution is no solution. Her own life and philosophy reveal the stupidity of self-centered, idealistic, impractical Objectivism. By the way, why was there no editor to cut at least 250 pages from this book?
8. Andy Finds a Way by Jesse Stuart. Read over a few days in July.
A comfortable and pleasant children’s story by Jesse Stuart, one of my favorite authors. This is the first of his chidren’s books I have read. As always, a beautiful picture of rural America in the not so distant past.
9. Calvinism: A History by D. G. Hart. I started this book back in October, put it aside, and picked it back up and finished in July.
A great and scholarly history. I really need to write a review of this outstanding book. It neglects, however, Baptists, Anglicans, and more recent conservative Calvinists in its coverage.
10. Collision 2012 Obama VS. Romney and the Future of Elections in America by Dan Balz. Read in July.
I should have known that this would be a depressing read. Too many “what if’s” in my mind and too much disappointment at the lost opportunities. Some helpful discussion of how technologies and methods have changed in politics. Dan Balz, however, is no Theodore White. I am thinking through a needed political article that will borrow heavily from this book.
11. The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief by George M. Marsden. Read in July.
A really good survey of the ideas floating around in the culture of the 1950s. The survey of books and ideas in the 1950s was better than Marsden’s application of how the nostalgia of the 1950s impacted the rise of the religious right. Still, lots to think about in this fine book.
12. The Prince of Fire by Daniel Silva. Read in July
The second Silva book I have read. I was engrossed enough that when I pushed through to the end last night, I really wanted to go fetch another volume in the series. Borrowing from C. S. Lewis’s idea, I try to read an older book, a classic, after reading more recent popular literature.
13. John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock by Iain Murray. Read in July.
A convicting and encouraging book about a great man of God and written by one of my favorite Christian writers.
14. Scholarship: Two Convocations Addresses on University Life by Abraham Kuyper. Read in July.
A short but rich book. Good for the school teacher and administrator to read. This work, translated by Harry Van Dyke, is part of the ongoing Kuyper translation project.
There are quite a few other books that I started or read from this month. Some I will finish in August; others will be finished someday; and some will be only read from. These other reads include Matt Perman’s What’s Best Next, Glenn Moots’ Politics Reformed: The Anglo-American Legacy of Covenant Theology, a short story by Nobel Prize Winner Alice Munro, the opening portion of Max Hastings’ Catastrophe 1914 and portions of the writings of G. C. Berkouwer and John Piper.