Thursday, July 21, 2011

summer reading.

With the stack of seminary books staring me down and syllabi waiting to be dominated,
my days of reading 'just for fun' are over once again...

Soo here is my summer reading synopsis:

Safely Home:

For starters this is the first NOVEL I've read since 12th grade, when I picked up Twilight before it was "cool"/turned into its own industry. Unlike Twilight, this novel has spiritual depth and not only exposes the Chinese church, but also the unspoken side the American christianity/persecution. I was wary of a "Christian" novel, thinking it would probably be cheesy and poorly written but this book was phenomenal.
Some Quotes:
"In America, the voices of demons just sound more pleasant"

Talking about Tibetans/Buddhism: "Do not let your sympathy for these oppressed people become sympathy for a religion that also oppresses them."

Hipster Christianity:
I read this book while in China in May. Consequently, the truths about Christian vanity illuminated in this book made me that much more nauseated. Surrounded by mountains where christians live miles from another believer, don't have a church to have the option of wearing skinny jeans to and gladly grit their teeth and joyfully bear it for the sake of knowing Christ, made this all the more real and disgusting. The book (and the website) offers a hilarious introduction about the various classifications of hipsters. Eyeopening truth about cool vs. Christianity. The book didn't really make me reach a conclusion about this issue but did make me more sensitive to the conflict between 'coolness' and Christ-like-ness.
Some Quotes:
"How do we reconcile such beatitudes as "blessed are the poor in Spirit" (matt 5:3) and "blessed are the meek" (matt 5:5) with hip's call to lavish vanity and pride?

Regarding Hipsterdom as a form of rebellion against society: "Especially considering that Christ came to right the rebellion of man. All else but the gospel is rebellion. The cause of Christ is the one obedient cause.

The Hiding Place:
Brooke Oliver sent me this book as a birthday present (or was it Christmas? Or maybe engagement?) Regardless, I didn't pick it up until this June and it was absolutely wonderful. I read it while I was feeling pretty discontent with what God had given me. Bad idea. This book is super convicted. Corrie and her sister Betsie were thankful for the flees that inhabited their beds at the concentration camp. Betsie did not know why to be thankful for these pests but knew that she was commanded to be. Turns out, the flees kept the Nazi soldiers from going inside their bunks and they were able to hold a nightly bible study free from disturbance.
Corrie was released from the concentration camp (obviously, or she couldn't have gotten herstory out) but only because of a "clerical error" and one week later she would have gone to the gas chamber with all the other women her age.
Some Quotes:
"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."

"This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see."

"There are no 'if's' in God's world. And no placess that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety - let us pray that we may always know it!"

Even if every one of your relatives is a solid Christ follower, I highly recommend this book to you. The author, not to be confused with Paul Newman the salad dressing guy, is very realistic about evangelism. This book made me realize that I am not one of those people who "breathe the gospel" but instead I am one of those who have to swallow the lump of fear in my throat and cough out the gospel, and pray that the HS will give it some sense before it hits the ear of the hearer. Not that I shouldn't be ready to 'give an account to the joy that I have', but lets be honest, it just doesn't come as naturally as breathing. This book also does a great job addressing how to share the gospel with those who know you well, maybe served as yourdisciplinarian, and probably know the good, bad, and ugly of you. Basically I learned to give it all up to God. Easier said than done, but a helpful book nonetheless.
Some Quotes:
"If the sadness of another's condition tempts you to compromise [the gospel], perhaps you've made comfort an idol. Comfort and evangelism seldom go together."

"Put the weight of the argument on Jesus instead of yourself. i.e. 'have you ever wondered why Jesus claimed to be the only way to God?"

"witnessing takes time. with family, it takes even more time. witnessing involves the expression of love. with family, that love flows deeper but requires clearer expression. Witnessing encompasses a comprehensive worldview. With family, we have a wide range of common experience in which to shine the glow of the gospel."

I read another novel this summer. Well only half of it really.. But not because I didn't like it, i had to return it to the library and to be honest, I found it emotionally draining. The half I did read exposed the unimaginably harsh realities of the lives of two Afghany women. I might check it out again over Christmas break if i can somehow convince myself that this is strictly fiction, but because i am aware that women do suffer these injustices even today, it will probably continue to be just as emotionally exhausting.
A well-written, heart-wrenching read for sure.
Some Quotes:
"Boys, Laila came to see, treated friendship the way they treated the sun: its existence undisputed; its radiance best enjoyed, not beheld directly."

"Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting."

And now on to conquer Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology...
{what did i get myself into..}


  1. great book choices and now i want to read all of them! actually i've read safely home before and i dont remember a lot about it except i dont think i hated it which is a good sign for me and christian books about china. love you! -MB

  2. The salad dressing book sounds awesome. Sign me up! I'm so glad that you liked The Hiding Place! Those quotes are definitely timely reminders today!
    love you!

  3. I read Miss Ten Boom's book during my home school days and it has been a favorite ever since. One of the parts that stuck out to me was how she was able to love and forgive the Nazi from her camp later in life because she is filled with the love of Christ. Definitely a very inspiring and convicting book overall.

    A Thousand Splendid Suns is a tough read, but worth finishing if you get the time after your first semester at SEMINARY!

    Thanks for sharing your books and your thoughts.