I was thinking today how much more I’d like to read than I actually do. I tend to think about this a lot. However, I’m probably being too hard on myself because, as I thought about it, I actually was able to get into a lot of good books in 2020. Here are a few, with links included:
The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson: These were probably the highlight of my 2020 reading. I’m always on the lookout for quality fiction to read with the kids and the Wingfeather books delivered on every level. They were like Narnia meets Middle-Earth. They’re the right mix of buoyant fantasy and epic spiritual metaphor. They’re perfect reading for dads and their sons. One of the best ways we can teach our boys to be self-sacrificing, joyful, godly leaders is to read them stories of self-sacrificing, joyful, godly heroes. This series is highly recommended.
One Assembly by Jonathan Leeman: This one is geared for pastors (mostly) but anyone with a commitment to the faithfulness of the church would find it helpful. Essentially, it makes a biblical case that the church is “one assembly”. In other words, the church is a body that meets weekly, on the Lord’s day, all together. The middle section is pretty dense with theological/exegetical arguments but the beginning and middle section also do a good job of making the case in a more readable fashion. I found it to be a really straight-forward, compelling argument for protecting and seeing the beauty in the “one assembly” of believers each Lord’s day.
When the Man Comes Around by Douglas Wilson: This is, essentially, a commentary on the book of Revelation. Understanding End Times views can be a lot like water in your hands. Just when you think you’ve got it, it all slips right through your fingers. So, I like reading other views than my own. I don’t entirely hold Wilson’s view of the End Times but I wanted to educate myself on his view of Revelation and I was helped and refreshed by his straightforward style here. I think there’s a lot we can learn here and I found myself a lot closer to his view of Revelation than I initially thought I would.
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger: This is a fiction book that had me curious the whole way through. I don’t know if Enger is a Christian but it seems like, at minimum, he has a very respectful view of the Christian worldview. This is a masterfully, and simply told story of a family just trying to weather a unique crisis in their lives. It’s rich with descriptive language, and interesting characters. It will keep you guessing all the way through.
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer: So, full disclosure, I haven’t finished this one yet but I’m on track to finish by the end of 2020. Even if I didn’t finish, the first chapter alone was worth reading. These are much neglected truths in Christian communities these days. Bonhoeffer expertly describes our need to be grateful for the little things in Christian community and not rely so heavily on our very fickle feelings in order to judge the authenticity of our bonds with one another through Christ. If you picked up a copy for 2021 and only read the first chapter, it still might be the most important thing you read all year.
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis: I’m pretty sure I read this, or portions of it, in college. But, like many other things in college, it escaped me quickly. I revisited it this year on Audible and was enthralled. The real gift of this book is how Lewis exposes dozens of different ways that we try to disguise our own self-righteousness. It’s a fantastical, parabolic journey through the afterlife that confronts all the ways we try to arrogantly earn our place in heaven – and then of course, presents the only true and glorious way to heaven.
A Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer: Basically, if you want to understand what’s happening in our country right now, you should read A Christian Manifesto. It was written in the early 1980’s but couldn’t be more relevant today. It’s remarkable how much of what Schaeffer foresaw is actually happening now.
Brave Ollie Possum by Ethan Nicole: This list would be incomplete without Brave Ollie Possum. It’s another book that is ideal for dads and sons to read together. It tells the story of a boy who struggles with crippling fear, only to meet an evil creature that turns him into…A POSSUM! So, Ollie has to learn to conquer his fears and find a way to become a real boy again before the spell sets in permanently. Ethan Nicole writes from a Christian perspective and tells a rousing story of courage, good vs. evil, and the transforming power of grace. Check it out!