If you’re looking for some good winter reading, here are a few good books:
When People are Big and God is Small (by Ed Welch)
Ed Welch does a great job showing how our fear of other people is often much greater than our fear of God, and how much this affects our decisions and character. He says we should “need people less and love people more.” My favorite chapters were 6 and 7, in which Welch describes God. “The first task in escaping the snare of the fear of man is to know that God is awesome and glorious, not other people.”
One Way Love (by Tullian Tchividjian)
I’ve been startled by some of the things I’ve learned about grace in the last couple of years. Startled in a good way. I’m still chewing on some of it, since it takes awhile for ideas to trickle down into the deepest reaches of our beliefs and behaviors. Tullian Tchividjian does a really good job explaining the grace of God — the gospel. I think I’m going to read this book again soon.
Carry on, Mr Bowditch (by Jean Lee Latham)
I read this book in one day recently, partly because it’s not a difficult read, but mostly because it’s a fascinating story about a self-taught young man named Nathaniel Bowditch who became the world’s leading expert on navigation in the late 1700s. That was a time when many men earned their livelihoods during years at sea, and their ability to navigate with precision often meant life or death for everyone on their ships. God gave Nat Bowditch a mind and motivation to make the skill of navigation more accessible to even the most ordinary sailor.
Saving Leonardo (by Nancy Pearcey)
What people believe about God and the universe and their place in relation to both affects everything they do, even their choice of paints and art materials. Very fascinating book on how worldview impacts the arts, and how Christians can understand and engage conversations about the deepest truths much more effectively.
Something Other Than God (by Jennifer Fulwiler)
I’ve enjoyed reading Jennifer Fulwiler’s blog (ConversionDiary.com) for the last several years. She’s a concise and witty writer, and explains very clearly how she went from being a “happy atheist” to a Catholic Christian who has been willing to risk her life to stay true to her convictions. Her autobiography was a good read. When I finished it I felt like I’d just had a series of coffee-shop conversations with a fellow Christian who was willing to open a window into her thought-life to show how she met God and what that meeting did to her life.
The Holiness of God (by R.C. Sproul)
This book was mentioned by Ed Welch as a source for my favorite chapters in his book (above), so of course I wanted to read it. And it’s really good. I especially like the fact that Sproul tackles really hard questions head-on. Within the first few pages of his book he says: “My “conversion” … was not without its attending difficulties. Though I was deeply impressed by the notion of a God who created the whole universe from nothing, I was troubled by the fact that the world we live in is a place filled with sorrows. It is a world riddled with evil. My next question was, How could a good and holy God create a world that is in such a mess? As I studied the Old Testament, I was also bothered by the stories about God’s ordering the slaughter of women and children, of God’s killing Uzzah instantly for touching the ark of the covenant, and by other narratives that seemed to reveal a brutal side to the character of God. How could I ever come to love such a God?” I’ve wondered what to make of those questions too, and Sproul does a good job answering them. I’m not sure any answer is enough by itself, but coupled with a growing knowledge of God and his tender goodness, as well as a true, if incomplete, understanding of his fearsome holiness, it makes it easier to cry: “God, I believe! Help my unbelief!” And for some reason, that can be enough.
I’d love to hear your book recommendations in the comments!