Book Watch 2011: Part 1

Well, I need to get started on the book-a-thon 2011. Three books a month for me is a lot. I remember sitting in a seminar with Thomas Oden (writer of my favorite systematic theology) when he mentioned one of the best perks of the pastoral life–time to read. Quite honestly he is likely right. I have more time than many to read; but I need to use it.

So I thought I’d share with you (all eleven of you) about the books I’ve read, am reading, or hope to read.

My Plan: I have created a spreadsheet with several categories in it so that I can read more broadly than I normally do. The categories are arbitrary (and I’m not reading something in them at all times). I did not call the Library of Congress to get my categories, which are:

  • Biographies:  Autobiographical, historical, etc. are included in this category. I chose it because of the importance of knowing about certain people, not just time periods.
  • Fiction: I stink at reading fiction. The last book read was Return of the King because of my bet with Evan.
  • Leadership: This is a hard category for me to read. I am not sure why. I want to lead well, heck, I work with leadership at the church all the time, but it is still difficult.
  • Ministry: This can blend a bit into leadership, but I want to read within my disciplines as well. These may be books about community groups, International student ministry, singles ministry, etc.
  • Bible/theology: This doesn’t mean my daily Bible reading. This means books that help me navigate the Bible or books that help me understand theology more clearly.
  • History: A huge weakness of mine. I need to be intentional in reading about history, specifically historical periods I know little about.
  • Something to read with Courtney: I don’t always need to be reading here, but if there are things we could both be reading. It goes here.
  • Something I usually wouldn’t read: I thought you wouldn’t normally read most things, Hans? Yeah, that’s true. But these are books that I’d usually put next-to-last on any given list.

Previously Read: In the past month (which doesn’t count toward the resolution), I’ve finished off a few books (three, actually).

  • Spiritual Leadership and Spiritual Maturity by J. Oswald Sanders: I love the way Sanders writes about leadership. I’ve read Spiritual Leadership three times and could not recommend it more. Spiritual Maturity was an impulse buy because I liked Sanders so much. I didn’t like it as much as Spiritual Leadership but still enjoyed it.
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins: This is ultimately another book on leadership (albeit from a corporate perspective). I am not usually a fan of such books. In fact, my boss has been asking me to read this for years. I finally decided to and am glad I did.

Currently Reading: I made the list at the end of December, so it is only now beginning to be implemented. Here are the books that I’m chipping away at:

  • Leadership and Crisis by Bobby Jindal: I put this down as a biography. It is the newly-released autobiography by our state’s current governor. A friend got us this book, and I have worked my way through the first few chapters. I like it.
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by. . .yep: This also goes down in biographies. I got the book as my first Kindle purchase (it was free). I have since slowed down in this a lot. Hope to finish it . . .sometime.
  • Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend: Courtney and I both have boundary issues in how we relate together, how we relate as parents, and how we relate to our families. This book was a gift from a couple in our community group. They bought us two copies so we could read it concurrently. However, I’m pretty far ahead of Courtney. Anyone who struggles in the area of boundaries should read this book.
  • Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges: This book could either be “theology” or “ministry” in my categories. It is about God’s sovereign hand in our lives, even in the tough times. I have enjoyed the read but have found myself skimming parts of it, possibly because a lot of this I believe and affirm. However, I think it’s worth the price of the book simply because of the Bible verses it causes you to come to grips with.

On Deck: These are books that are in the queue, so to speak. I hope to get to them as I finish others (that is, unless better ones show up).

  • Getting Things Done by David Allen: I stink at productivity. This would go in the “things I usually wouldn’t read” pile. I usually think books like this are lame, but I think they’re lame because they expose a glaring weakness: how I use my time.
  • Mastering Your Money by Ron Blue: Again, something I stink at and a book that I would never usually read. However, I know that I need to use my money and use it well, so here’s hoping this book is helpful. 🙂
  • Principles and Practice of Greek Exegesis by John Grassmick: I was working on a sermon and realized that I was rusty in my Greek skills. I hope this helps.
  • Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy by Eric Metaxas: I have read very little about this great man, and this book has come recommended by so many different people that I’d be crazy not to read it.

Wow. Did you make it through that? To be honest, I blog for me. I blog to keep myself honest. If you benefit from it, that’s just a bonus. I hope you read and read well. If you have any recommendations, let me know!