Kobe’s funeral takes place on same day that The Bachelor is the number one trending topic on Twitter!
In lieu of a typical book review, as is my habit from time to time, allow me to mention half a dozen things I greatly appreciated about this book. It will definitely make the list for my “Favorite Books of the Year.”
This is the seventh book I’ve read by Smith. All of them made me think in fresh and provocative ways. How (Not) to be Secular was my favorite. It now comes in a close second to Smith’s latest. On the Road with Saint Augustine is now my favorite.
So here are a half dozen things I appreciated about this book:
*There is elegant writing combined with keen insights. It is no surprise that On the Road with Saint Augustine received a coveted starred review by Publishers Weekly.
*It makes a compelling case for why Augustine is the ideal travel partner as we make our way through life. For me, both Augustine and Bunyan (there are others) have been indispenable to have as my vagabond friends.
*There is a thick realism in this book (take note Joel Osteen), but Smith always keeps this tethered to a compelling hope.
*Smith has a good nose for the telling quote or captivating illustration. HIs wide-reading across various disciplines showcases the brilliance of Augustine.
*In my own teaching, and especially in my ministry of discipleship with men, this is the kind of book that I can use as a gateway of sorts to the riches of Christian history.
*I’ve always found that great books help me clarify important issues. My marginalia reflects this reality in On the Road with Saint Augustine. For example, in the chapter on friendship, Smith’s interaction with Heidegger resulted in my marginal comment of “Molds are everywhere, so it is impossible to break out of every single mold.” In other words, autonomous individuals don’t exist because they can’t exist.
Whenever the time comes that sales begin to dwindle for this book, I would recommend Brazos making booklets out of some chapters. For example, the chapter on freedom is one I would love to give to any thoughtful person, irrespective of whether they are a Christian.
My latest interview on a terrific new, book:
If you are looking for a thoughtful and accessible introduction to the various issues swirling around human sexuality, I highly recommend this book.
Each chapter is done by a scholar who is intimately involved in their local church. In other words, they are not merely addressing theoretical matters, but things they have seen up close.
As with all controversial subjects, the authors don’t agree with one another on every point, but there is much they do find common ground on.
One area that I appreciated very much is the emphasis not only on showing the truthfulness of God’s will for sexuality, but the beauty of it. Aesthetics is an important area of doing good theology!
A terrific resource for our cultural moment!
STEPPING INTO CONTROVERSY…WITH COURAGE AND CHRIST-LIKE CHARACTER
IS IT POSSIBLE IN OUR DIVISIVE AND TURBULENT TIME?
Taught by Dave Moore
Imagine that you are at your favorite coffee shop. Everything about the place is great, except the tables are a bit too close to one another. This, of course, makes it difficult to avoid eavesdropping. Your reading tends to zone you out from the conversations of others, but not on this day. To your utter amazement you listen in on a conversation between an ardent Trump supporter and one who gladly voted for Hillary Clinton. It is not the various arguments that are being mustered for one candidate over the other that intrigues you. Rather, it is the evident respect each person has for the other even while articulating their significant disagreements.
It is hard to go back to your reading for the day. You become preoccupied with why the kind of exchange you just heard is as rare as it is refreshing…even in your local church.
For seven weeks we will discuss several areas that can hurt or help us as we discuss controversial subjects. A sampling of these include:
*Taking honest inventory of our own failure to be prepared and/or interact with grace
*The need to slow down and pay more careful attention to the definition of words
*Diagnosing how much of an echo chamber we live in
*The need to read and listen to those who make us angry…and to pay close attention to what our “opponents” can teach us
*Why the focus must be on our own challenges rather than being frustrated with those we disagree with
We will also be looking various points raised in How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds by Alan Jacobs. Copies will be available.
HT: Tim Challies
Regardless of whether you agree with Ben Sasse’s politics, you will benefit from his terrific book, The Vanishing American Adult. Sasse’s book is well-written and contains a wonderfully informed, yet accessible treatment of history. Senator Sasse is a highly educated man with a PhD in history from Yale.
By the way, some of the negative Amazon reviews make me wonder if those folks read the book very carefully…