Books

Currently Reading:

Compassion- Henri Nouwen, Donald P. McNeil and Douglas A. Morrison

compassion

The Deeper Journey- Robert Mulholland Jr.

The Dangerous Act of Worship- Mark Labberton

Books I have recently finished:

His Dark Materials- Phillip Pullman

  • This trilogy was something I took up to take a break from reading intellectual/spiritual books. It was good- i finished the trilogy in perhaps 7 days. It is a sort of fantasy book. I wanted to read something besides Harry Potter, because I was scared of my mom catching me reading a book about little witches becoming adult witches… however, this book probably had even worse implications. haha. It has some very interesting critiques to religion in it, especially Christianity. God is oppressive and is on a mission to keep humans and all conscious beings from achieving self-awareness and to keep them stupid. So… if that offends you, don’t read these books. But they were highly enjoyable besides that.
  • My only real critique of it was that the end of the last book turns into a long postulation on why things still feel spiritual even though there is no God. The closure of the plot seems to become secondary to the author’s desire to let his beliefs known. This is a novel, not a treatise on spiritual atheism! But i digress…

Ruthless Trust- Brennan Manning

  • This book floored me. It came at just the right moment for me. At the beginning of this summer, as I began my fund raising for IV staff, I realized I didn’t trust God at all. The words “I trust in the Lord” actually never made sense to me. How could I trust a God that was supposedly so powerful, but seemed so slow to act at times? Manning talked about how ruthless trust is, but it is the very calling of the Christian life. One thing that stuck out was- Trust is the wedding of faith and hope.

The Gift of Being Yourself- David G. Benner

  • This book was recommended to me by my small group leader at Orientation: New Staff. Don’t be fooled at the narcissistic title (I laughed out loud when I saw it). This book is another book that floored me. The author’s purpose in writing this book is to point out that, yes, we must die to ourselves, but on the other extreme, we must discover ourselves in order to discover the one who created us. To be confident in who we are is to worship our God who created who we are.

Conversations: Asian American Evangelical Theologies in Formation- DJ Chuang

  • This book is a collection of essays written by pastors and researchers on the Asian-American church. It deals with what happens when the identities of Asian American and Christian come at an intersection. Very interesting observations are made by the writers. They vary from essay to essay, but this book is not for the casual reader. It’s much more intellectual, postgraduate article quality. Its the type of writing my professors expected from me at the Communications department at UCSD. So I had a field day, but to others, this book may be… dense.

Growing Healthy Asian American Churches- Peter Cha, S. Steve Kang and Helen Lee

  • If you want something a little more accessible concerning Asian American christianity, this book is high on my recommendation list. At first I was a little wary of the heavy use of stories to demonstrate points. Sometimes, that is my own pet peeve- stories that are used as examples of points, but become so over-emphasized that they overshadow the actual point. But then, I was patient, and I found that the book was actually very poignant and to the point. Most of the writers, leaders of various 2nd generation Asian-American congregations across the nation, are extremely clear and concise. They also bring up extremely challenging topics such as grace in Asian-American churches, the need for Asian-American churches to be advocates of justice and intergenerational reconciliation. I found myself resonating with all but one writer who was so reformist in his writing that I found myself spinning around in reformist/calvinist catchphrases that I felt nauseous. but hey, gotta love them reformists… there would be such a riot of heretic philosophies rampant and destroying lives without them emphasizing “truth” and the “word”. haha. okay. i better stop.

Bruchko- Bruce Olson

  • I re-read this book recently. I had to read it once for a missions trip in junior high, but I completely forgot about it. So I picked it up again and started to read it.  This book gives a very good critique of traditional missions work and chronicles Bruce Olson’s journey in discovering what true missions work looked like in his work with the Motilone tribe in South America. It’s extremely inspiring to see how God moved so powerfully in the Motilone tribe, yet simultaneously, the tribe’s culture was not erased but brought to life by the gospel. This is a much needed voice saying that our cultures do not hinder the gospel, but are of the influence of the one who created them. Further, God can use that culture to set entire societies free. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was Bruce’s bitterness toward American Christianity. He has done such a good job finding out how the Motilone culture can be redeemed, but he made no such effort for the churches that rejected him. His critiques at times are so cutting that you feel more hatred than prophetic unction.

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