What's On My Shelf (Aug 2021)

When's the last time a book you read sunk in deeply?

Was it a novel? Nonfiction? Poetry?

Words are tools to communicate truths about life. Sometimes through stories, other times through teaching, or by beautifully threaded grammatical devices. We observe through the lens of a writer a new perspective to increase our empathy for others or convict us of our need for growth.

Tony Reinke writes, “our goal is not to finish a book, or merely to talk about a book, but to use our books to grow Christlike character.” It could be easy to breeze through a book as we lay in the warm sun, basking on a beach, without letting it touch the deepest parts of us-without reflecting on the truths (or untruths) that emerge.

As I'm reminded of this, I find helpful tools like reading others' reviews and by writing them-even when it's a short note on Goodreads. Highlighting quotes or writing them down gives me opportunity to consider spiritual truths in a deeper way.

I hope you find these reviews beneficial as I share what's crossed my shelf the last while!


Carved in Ebony: Lessons From the Black Women Who Shape Us by Jasmine Holmes *

A collection of short biographies from an author who loves history! You'll meet women who used their skills and influence to impact the people around them. Find my full review here. (4 stars)

Paul: A Biography by N.T. Wright

I've had a hard time learning the sequence of events of Paul's life, between the missionary journeys in the book of Acts and the letters he wrote to the churches. So that's why this book caught my eye. It took me awhile to get through, but there's a lot of good stuff in it. It was written more academically. I'd love to read something a little simpler. (3 stars)

Christian Living

Taming the Tongue: How the Gospel Transforms Our Talk by Jeff Robinson

This was a timely read for me. With animosity and divisiveness spreading rampantly in our churches and communities, this book challenged me to assess how, why and what I speak. His first goal is "to convince readers that words are one of the most important aspects of a life lived before God, one of the best indicators as to our maturation and growth in Christ-likeness" and I think he does a great job accomplishing this by showing us nine ways our words are used as weapons.

His other goals are to show how the "fall turns our words into nuclear warheads" and thus the need to handle them well, and then how the gospel transforms them. It's a shorter book, 150 pages, to lead our minds and our tongues to the glory of God. (4 stars)

Identity Theft: Reclaiming the Truth of Who We Are in Christ Edited by Melissa Kruger

Friend, this is a must read!! If you've ever wondered or doubted who you are as a follower of Jesus, land here for rich biblical teaching. There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter that would be great for small group study. This is one I'll try to go back to every year. Find my full review here. (5 stars!!)

Atypical Woman: Free, Whole, and Called in Christ by Abigail Dodds

Along the theme of identity, here's another that dives into gospel-centred teaching on womanhood. She shares the variety of roles woman take on and how "the nature of being Christian women isn't based on what we do but on who we are-who he's made us." When our roles begin to define us, she calls us to redefine them in Christ. (4 stars)