This is the third book I’ve read by Tim Larsen. I interviewed him on the other two books.
There is so very much to like about this book. I will simply list out four of my favorite things about the book:
Some shorter books like Larsen’s pack in plenty of content. If a lecture series becomes a book (as is the case with this book), there is a better than average chance that the smaller size book will have great content. You can see this with books (from another lecture series) like Andrew Delbanco’s fascinating, The Real American Dream. Larsen’s book does not disappoint as it offers the reader plenty of material.
Even though there is much content, the writing is lucid and engaging.
Larsen is an eminent historian of nineteenth-century Britain. You can always count on him to do careful archival work and know the primary sources. This book showcases those strengths.
Larsen is sensitive, as was George MacDonald, to Christians who struggle with doubt. As one who knows firsthand these struggles, I greatly appreciate Larsen’s treatment in this book.
Perhaps it is too late for a Christmas present, but how about a present for yourself for the new year?!
In the previous post I interviewed Dave Mahan on poetry. Dave mentioned a formative teacher in Peter Hawkins. Here is a short video where Hawkins talks about a number of things, but I want to draw your attention to “careful reading” and really falling in love with great texts.
“I find that poetry helps. You can’t zoom through poetry; it forces you to slow down, think, concentrate, relish words and phrases. I now try to begin each day with a selection from George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, or R. S. Thomas.”
The rest is below (HT: Thomas Kidd’s email letter)
Recently, I listened to a sermon by Howard Hendricks. Hendricks taught for sixty years at Dallas Theological Seminary. He died in 2013. In the message, Hendricks described one of his favorite poems, “The Night They Burned Shanghai” by Robert Abrahams. It tells of a couple driving to play Bridge with some of their friends. As they are en route they survey what is going on in the world. The luxury of playing Bridge is juxtaposed with various world tragedies. The poem ends with these arresting lines: