The online journal of Luke Dockery

Tag: 2014

Reading in 2013

For several years now, I have kept track of the reading I do and then, at the beginning of each year, posted the list of the previous year’s reading. For some reason, keeping track of stuff like this is fun for me, and shockingly, this is always one of my more popular posts each year, so apparently it is interesting to others as well.

Without further ado, here is my reading list for 2013:

  1. Scandalous: Lessons in Redemption From Unlikely Women, by Sean Palmer
  2. When To Leave: How To Know It’s Time To Move On (Before You Stay Way Too Long), by Wade Hodges
  3. Soul Work: Confessions of a Part-Time Monk, by Randy Harris
  4. The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission, by Christopher J.H. Wright
  5. Understanding the Love Chapter, by Adam Faughn
  6. The Shepherd’s Pipe: Songs from the Holy Night, by Georg Johannes Gick
  7. Size Transitions in Congregations, edited by Beth Ann Gaede
  8. 25 Questions Every Youth Minister Should Ask, by Chad Landman
  9. The Good News from North Haven: A Year in the Life of a Small Town, by Michael Lindvall
  10.  The Middle-Sized Church: Problems & Prescriptions, by Lyle E. Schaller
  11.  The Rechurching of Rural America: A report of the restudy of rural churches in America, by Gary Farley, John Bennett, Jere Giles, and Arnold Parks
  12.  Effective Youth Ministry: A Congregational Approach, by Roland D. Martinson
  13.  Building Together: Developing Your Blueprint for Congregational Youth Ministry, by Carol Duerksen
  14.  Small, Strong Congregations: Creating Strengths and Health for Your Congregation, by Kennon L. Callahan
  15.  Technology in Youth and Family Ministry, by Joey Sparks and Scott Bond
  16.  Turnaround and Beyond: A Hopeful Future for Small Membership Churches, by Ron Crandall
  17.  The Indispensable Guide for Smaller Churches, by David R. Ray
  18.  Thriving Youth Ministry in Smaller Churches: Secrets for Cultivating a Dynamic Youth Ministry, by Rick Chromey and Stephanie Caro
  19.  The Churches of Christ in the 20th Century: Homer Hailey’s Personal Journey of Faith, by David Edwin Harrell, Jr.
  20.  Family-Based Youth Ministry, revised edition, by Mark DeVries
  21.  Grandpa was a Preacher, by Leroy Brownlow
  22.  Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction, by Jonathan T. Pennington
  23.  Know Who You Are: Discover Your Identity in the Book of Ephesians, by Robbie Mackenzie
  24.  Prima Scriptura: An Introduction to New Testament Interpretation, by N. Clayton Croy
  25.  1 Peter, by David G. Horrell
  26.  The Blockade Runners, by Jules Verne
  27.  Gorky Park, by Martin Cruz Smith
  28.  Star Wars: Jedi Academy, by Jeffrey Brown
  29.  Sing His Praise! A Case for A Cappella Music as Worship Today, by Rubel Shelly
  30. Why They Left: Listening to Those Who Have Left Churches of Christ, by Flavil R. Yeakley Jr.
  31. The Noticer, by Andy Andrews
  32. The Epic of God, by Michael Whitworth
  33. Crispin: The Cross of Lead, by Avi
  34. City of Darkness, by Kim Wright
  35. Polar Star, by Martin Cruz Smith
  36. Sequels: Love After First Sight, by Jonathan Storment
  37. Muscle and a Shovel, by Michael Shank
  38. The Derision of Heaven, by Michael Whitworth
  39. Calico Joe, by John Grisham
  40. Centered: Christ in Colossians, by Joseph Horton
  41. Exegetical Fallacies, by D.A. Carson
  42. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, by Joshua Foer
  43. Bible Wines, or The Laws of Fermentation, by William Patton
  44. 1 Peter: A Handbook on the Greek Text, by Mark Dubis
  45. Genesis in Space and Time, by Francis A. Schaeffer
  46. The Story of Churches of Christ, by Douglas A. Foster
  47. The Complete Calvin and Hobbes Book One, by Bill Watterson
  48. Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church, by Kenda Creasy Dean
  49. The Christ of Christmas: Readings for Advent, by Calvin Miller
  50. Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free, by Tullian Tchividjian

One thing about 2013 that was a little different than years past is that I got into eBooks more. Some eBooks are pretty short, which makes for quick reading, while others are longer. One thing that’s nice about them either way is that if you have them on an iPad/tablet or even your smart phone, you can read them in all sorts of places where you just have a few minutes of extra time and didn’t have the foresight to bring a book with you. This is a cool thing. In general though, I much prefer reading out of a book with pages than on a tablet.

You’ll notice from the list above that 2013 was a year where I read a lot about ministry (I think 16 in all). Of course, this is greatly influenced by the fact that I am a minister, and that I took a ministry grad school class early in the year that required a ton of reading. Of these books, some were poor, most were helpful, and two were outstanding. First,  Family-Based Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries has become a youth ministry classic, and with good reason. I would highly recommend it to any youth ministers reading this, or anyone who may not technically be a “youth minister” but is interested in working with young people and helping them to become disciples of Jesus Christ. And also, Why They Left: Listening to Those Who Have Left Churches of Christ was really, really good.

In addition to the ministry books, I read several good books on theology and the Bible (if you search for these titles in my blog you’ll see that I quoted from many of them): The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission, Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological IntroductionThe Epic of GodThe Derision of Heaven, Exegetical Fallacies, and Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free (I hope to write reviews of the last two soon).

Concerning other books in no way related to ministry, grad school, or theology, City of Darkness was a fun mystery placed against the backdrop of the Jack the Ripper killings in 1880s London. Gorky Park is, in my opinion, a masterpiece: in addition to providing a thrilling and thoughtful mystery, it also provides a brilliant look at the USSR during the decline of the 1980s. Polar Star, a sequel to Gorky Park, was good, but not as good. And for Christmas I got the Complete Calvin and Hobbes and read the first volume by year’s end; it was glorious, as Calvin and Hobbes always is.

My overall book total increased from 45 in 2012 to 50 in 2013. I pushed hard to get to the 50-book mark, and honestly, I think is about my limit with all of the other things I have going on. In fact, I expect to read less in 2014 than I did in 2013.

I have already started reading in 2014, and my to-read shelf already has over 30 books on it (these are books I already own; there’s even more on my Amazon wish list), but I always like to hear the recommendations of others. What were your favorite books from 2013 (or whenever you read them)?

For comparison’s sake, you can see the books I read in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008.

For the Coming Year, “Make No Small Plans”

Daniel Burnham was a well-known and accomplished 19th-century architect. Among other things, he was famous for designing the Flatiron building in New York City, and the buildings for the World’s Fair held in Chicago in 1893 (his work on that project is described in detail in the excellent The Devil in the White City).

As evidenced by his impressive accomplishments, Burnham was a dreamer (you don’t accomplish as much as he did without being one). The following Burnham quotation, which I love, reflects that quality:

“Make no small plans. They have no magic to stir humanity’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work…. Remember that our sons and daughters are going to do things that will stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon, beauty. Think big.”

(Quoted in Almost Christian, by Kenda Creasy Dean, p. 192)

Another year has passed, and it is time to look ahead to 2014. As you make plans and resolutions for the new year, and Christians, as you reflect on your role in God’s Kingdom, make no small plans. Aim high in hope and work. Think big!

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