Screen Shot 2020-08-03 at 11.35.45 AM

July brought me some excellent books, including one in particular that I’ll be going back to for years to come.

I also targeted a few books on racial reconciliation to read on vacation. I’d like to find some more over the next few months, so please leave a comment if you have a recommendation for me.

Screen Shot 2020-08-03 at 11.40.03 AMGentle and Lowly

Dane Ortlund

Every now and again you read a book that you know will impact you for years to come. That’s how Gentle and Lowly was for me. Rather than focusing on the theological aspects of Christ’s work, Ortlund highlights the personal aspect of Christ’s heart for sinners. Gentle and Lowly was a like an ice cold glass of water on a hot summer day.

Sure, you know God gives you mercy, but doesn’t he get a little annoyed that you always need more and don’t have your act together? Yes, his grace never ends, but doesn’t God occasionally roll his eyes at your lack of progress? Ortlund uses beautiful writing to reveal our warped view of God. I highly, highly recommend. Go order it now – here’s the link.

My Favorite Quote: “The Spirit takes what we read in the Bible and believe on paper about Jesus’s heart and moves it from theory to reality, from doctrine to experience. It is one thing, as a child, to be told your father loves you. You believe him. You take him at his word. But it is another thing, unutterably more real, to be swept up in his embrace, to feel the warmth, to hear his beating heart within his chest, to instantly know the protective grip of his arms. It’s one thing to know he loves you; it’s another thing to feel his love. This is the glorious work of the Spirit.”

Screen Shot 2020-08-03 at 11.43.33 AMWeep with Me

Mark Vroegop

Cable news and social media reinforce the worst beliefs about those with a different perspective. How do we break down those barriers, especially in racially charged conversations? Vroegop’s call to action starts with prayers of lament which enable empathy and weeping with those who weep. It may not fix everything, but nothing will get fixed if we can’t empathize.

Weep with Me is not a comprehensive action plan for racial reconciliation, but it is a helpful starting place for your family, church, or community. Pastor Vroegop winsomely drops practical tips on how he and his church have used lament to enable racial reconciliation. Each chapter concludes with a prayer of lament, which you will find particularly helpful if you’re not exactly sure how to pray a prayer of lament.

My Favorite Quote: “The Bible calls us to weep with those who weep; it doesn’t tell us to judge whether they should be weeping.”

Screen Shot 2020-08-03 at 11.45.27 AMMother to Son

Jasmine Holmes

As the title suggests, this is a collection of letters from a mother to her son. Holmes writes to help her black son think through issues of identity and hope in the Gospel. It’s not a book that lays out a plan for racial reconciliation or even tries to document racial injustice. Rather, it’s intended to help people think through their identity in the Gospel and how the Gospel brings hope to a sinful world.

Along the way, it provides a window into her experiences as a black woman in America. You’ll be hard pressed to read it and not grow in empathy, which is a roundabout way of saying I highly recommend it. Her chapter, “How to Study and How to Talk” was especially good – I’ll be returning to this one before too long. You can purchase it here.

My Favorite Quote: “Conversations are not chess games, and relationships aren’t courtrooms. Waiting to pounce on the perfect gotcha opportunity makes for a very unsafe environment for learning and growing. People are never totally consistent, but those inconsistencies aren’t opportunities for us to revel in an opportunity to win an argument. Rather, they are a chance for us to teach and then win our brothers, or be taught and won ourselves.”

Screen Shot 2020-08-03 at 11.47.11 AMTaking God at His Word

Kevin DeYoung

With his usual witty humor, DeYoung writes a wonderful introduction to what the Bible teaches about itself. This is a wonderful discipling resource for someone who wants to know what Christians believe about the Bible. You’ll want to pick up two or three copies here.

Do note, this is not an apologetics text for the Bible, but an introduction to what Christians believe about the Bible. At only 120 pages, it’s a quick read. Nevertheless, DeYoung beautifully integrates quotations from historical figures such as Packer, Warfield, Bavinck, and Calvin, to give a theological richness to this accessible work.

My Favorite Quote: “You can exaggerate your authority in handling the Scriptures, but you cannot exaggerate the Scriptures’ authority to handle you.”