Thursday, December 24, 2009

a survey about books

More books! Here's where I look back over the year for a Sola Panel survey and talk about the books I enjoyed reading - and some other stuff I enjoyed - during 2009.

1. Three best Christian books of 2009:

◦Tim Chester's You Can Change
◦Elyse Fitzpatrick's Overcoming Fear, Worry and Anxiety
◦Ed Welch's Depression: A Stubborn Darkness

I've been reading a lot about change, anxiety, depression and biblical counselling, as you can see! These three books are top in their field.

2. Top stretching theological read of the year:

◦I've just written about John Piper's When I Don't Desire God for EQUIP book club, and while it's not a stretching theological read (along the line of Calvin's Institutes), it certainly continued to push my thinking about the place of joy in the Christian life—as Piper's books always do!

3. Best fiction of 2009:

◦Definitely Marilynne Robinson's Gilead: the beautiful, haunting reminiscences and reflections of an old American Protestant preacher writing his last letter to his young son, as he recalls the family relationships, long lonely years and historical events that have shaped his life. I enjoyed the book's sympathetic portrayal of the Christian faith, with reference to John Donne, George Herbert, John Calvin and Karl Barth! I can't put it better than The Washington Post article which said Gilead is “so serenely beautiful, and written in a prose so gravely measured and thoughtful, that one feels touched with grace just to read it”.

4. Best non-theological non-fiction of 2009:

◦Arch Hart's Adrenaline and Stress was exactly what I needed in a year when I came close to burnout through a workaholic and over-enthusiastic tendency to schedule far too much into my life! I'd recommend this book to anyone in ministry, and certainly to anyone who experiences stress or tends towards workaholism.

5. Favourite Matthias Media release of the year:

◦Always The Briefing, of course! It's a monthly treat when it arrives in our letterbox.
◦I was also helped by Peter Bolt's Living with the Underworld (AUS US)
◦I'm looking forward to reading Paul Grimmond's Right Side Up (AUS US) and Colin Marshall's The Trellis and the Vine (AUS US); they're looking at me eagerly and expectantly from the shelf!

6. Best website(s) discovered this past year:

◦I'm enjoying Tim Chester's blog
◦My friend Meredith has started a good blog for Christian women called ‘The key to the door’.
◦Any other blogs I read are old favourites.

7. Three best sermons or other audio downloads heard this year (individual talks or series; could be from preachers you hear locally, and not just the overseas heroes):

◦I haven't listened to many individual sermons this year. Instead, I worked through a 24-talk series by Ed Welch: Issues in Biblical Counselling. I highly recommend it to anyone in ministry or counselling, or anyone who struggles with (or who supports anyone who struggles with) any of the big four: suffering, anger, anxiety or guilt. That should cover everyone! The series is available from PTC Media at the Presbyterian Theology College in Melbourne.

8. Most memorable article(s) you've read this year:

◦Guan Un's ‘Diary of a ministry apprentice’ (The Briefing #375, December 2009)
◦Paul Grimmond's ‘Trusting in the dark’ (The Briefing #371, August 2009)
◦Simon Flinders' ‘When it's time to go: The what, why and how of leaving church’ (The Briefing #374, November 2009)
Jennie Baddeley's ‘The nuts and bolts of forgiveness’ (Sola Panel 31/7/09)
◦The anonymous article ‘A practical guide to fending off non-Christian men’ (The Briefing #368, May 2009).

9. Book of the year and why:

◦Tim Chester's You Can Change: This book broke through my legalism and perfectionism with the gospel of Christ—something I wasn't sure would ever happen. Chester taught me that change is possible through God's grace. He encouraged me to turn in faith from the lies of my heart to God's truth and, in repentance from the idols of my heart, to obedience. I'm sure this book will become a Christian classic. It's a rare thing to find a book on Christian growth that is gospel-centred, readable, biblical, real, intelligent, clear and practical.

This is reprinted from Sola Panel.


John Dekker said...

Well, that's enough to make me add Gilead to my list of books to read.

Jean said...