5 book reviews worth revisiting

Photo by Zsuzsanna Kilian

Over the last four years, I’ve written at least a couple hundred book reviews (give or take), and every reviewing experience has been different. Some leave you with seemingly endless thoughts and takeaways; others you struggle to remember the title.

Today, I wanted to share a few reviews you might enjoy that span the range of the last four years. Some books I loved. Others I found silly. But I enjoyed reviewing all of them for different reasons. I hope you’ll check them out:

Why We Love The Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

In their sequel to Why We’re Not Emergent, DeYoung and Kluck tackle the question: Can we love Jesus but not the Church?

For many, it’s experimenting with disorganized religion, where there’s no authority, everyone speaks and no one really learns anything. For others, it’s abandoning corporate gatherings altogether in favor of possibly having a spiritual conversation on the golf course or at Starbucks.

What Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck offer in Why We Love the Church is a passionate, biblically centered, God-honoring look at the Church—and why, for all her warts, we need to love her as much as Christ does.

The Armageddon Factor by Marci McDonald

Some books are meant to really grow you in your faith with positive encouragement. Others are meant to sharpen you as you’re confronted by silliness. The Armageddon Factor is the latter:

When I first I first heard about this book, I was pretty sure it had to be a joke. After all, Canada is far more post- and even anti-Christian than our friends to the south (that is, most of the people reading this right now). Our evangelical Christian population weighs in at an impressive 3.3 million people. To give you some perspective, we have more families with dogs than we do individuals who are evangelicals. Our political conservatives look more like the Democrats than the Republicans. So the idea just didn’t fit with my understanding of the Canadian landscape. While they may not look like an impressive bunch, McDonald argues, Christian Nationalists—whom she derogatorily calls theo-cons—are on the move and have connections to the highest levels of government.

Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian

While people I greatly respect are divided on this book, I found it incredibly helpful and liberating—I still do:

Do you ever feel like you’re just spinning your wheels in terms of your relationship with Christ? You’re trying, trying, trying to “go deeper,” to serve well, to do all the things that we’re supposed to do as Christians—and you’re just stuck? Why does this happen to us? Why do we feel this constant need to do-do-do, as if we’re trying to impress someone?

Is it because we are?

Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl by ND Wilson

Delightfully peculiar is the only way I could describe this book:

Have you ever tried to use your sense of smell to describe how a fresh bowl of fruit looks? What about sight to describe the sound of a two-year-old happily playing in her room? If so, you understand a little more about the challenge N.D. Wilson faced in writing Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God’s Spoken World. In this delightfully peculiar book, Wilson attempts to recapture a sense of wonder at the world that God has spoken into being and does so with intriguing and thought-provoking results.

Half the Church by Carolyn Custis James

If you’ve read “ezer-warrior” in a blog post or book recently, you’ve got this one to thank:

From a male perspective, reading Half the Church was an unusual experience. It’s primary audience is women and James writes with that assumption in mind. In some ways this was quite refreshing as it gave me a glimpse into the female perspective, but it was also difficult at times to relate, particularly as she got into the nitty-gritty of her argument. And her arguments are where things get really interesting.