Books I’ve Read This Month: January 2022

Before You Lose Your Faith

It’s no secret, and least in my circles, that there are seemingly many (at least from the looks of my social media feed) that there are those who are going through deconstructing phases of their faith. It’s been a tension point for me both on a personal level and a pastoral level. While there are things in my experience with the church and religion that have caused me to question some aspects of the Christian faith, I have not walked through a deconstruction phase in the sense that we see it today. However, this topic is not just occurring now but has been since the dawn of man. This is why our understanding of this topic is an important one.

“Before You Lose Your Faith” is an excellent collection of a wide range of topics that many are wrestling with in their deconstruction—issues such as sex, race, politics, science, social justice, and much more. Various writers thoughtfully tackle each of these areas to help challenge all of us to think about how our faith in Christ should impact how we interact with each of these topics. I would encourage anyone, whether or not you are deconstructing or not, to read this book. There are things within the church that need to be shaken up and thought about more clearly. This book may be one tool we can use to get us moving in the right direction.

Favorite Quotes:

“Many people want to maintain something resembling Christianity, since they believe religions are good when they provide us with purpose and make us kinder and more decent to others. But such attempts to keep part of Christianity without the whole, or to revise it according to our preferences, only leaves us unsatisfied.” (Pg. 15)

“Will that story receive as much scrutiny as the Christian story you’ve rejected? Will your new community be held to the same standards as your old community? Will your self receive as much critical examination as your Savior did?” (Pg. 17)

“The question is not, “Will you shape yourself or will you allow someone to shape you?” The question is, “Will you be shaped by an all-powerful, all-merciful Creator who loves justice and righteousness and mercy? Or will you be shaped by the endless parade of fads and tribes?” (Pg. 64)


This has seemed to be a book on everyone’s reading list recently. It has probably been since I was in high school that I had first read this book. Let me just say, it hits a little different as a guy in my mid-thirties with a wife and kids! While I do not gravitate towards gloom, doom, and conspiracies, I think there are some helpful things that George Orwell points out in this work in particular. It’s a classic piece of literature that, in it’s fictitious scenario, should cause us to pause for reflection on the modern realities we are facing as Americans. If you would like a more in depth overview of this book, I’ve got a resource I can point you to and would be happy to share with you if you message me!

Spiritual Depression: It’s Causes and Curses

Martin Lloyd-Jones is the guy when it comes to kitting me exactly where I needed it! This book collects 21 sermons that he preached from London’s Westminster Chapel. In these messages, he deals with sin, regret, fear, negative emotions, doubt, discipline, trials, and many more topics that attempt to steal our joy in Christ. Satan would love nothing more than to shut down a Christian, making him ineffective in his witness to the world. I wholeheartedly recommend you take the time to read this book!

Favorite Quotes:

“Ultimately, the only thing which is going to drive a man to Christ and make him rely upon Christ alone, is a true conviction of sin. We go astray because we are not truly convicted of our sin.” (Pg. 28)

“The essence of the Christian salvation is to say that He is good enough and that I am in Him!” (Pg 34)

“What a miserable thing self is, what an ugly thing, what a foul thing. We are all guilty, of this, every one of us, in some shape or form. The devil comes to us and we listen, and we begin to doubt whether God is just and righteous in His dealings with us. Self needs to be exposed for what it is. Sin in its ugliness and foulness needs to be unmasked…It is the greatest enemy of the soul, and it leads to misery and unhappiness. It is bound to do so for every reason. It is utterly wrong, and there is nothing to be said in its defense.” (Pg. 128)

“It is grace at the beginning, grace at the end. So that when you and I come to lie upon our deathbeds, the one thing that should comfort and help and strengthen us there is the thing that helped us at the beginning. Not what we have been, not what we have done, but the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. The Christian life starts with grace, it must continue with grace, it ends with grace. Grace, wondrous grace. ‘By the grace of God I am what I am.’ ‘Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.’” (Pg. 132)

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days

The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler

This was a great find that I genuinely enjoyed reading. It follows the story of Mildred Harnack, who led an anti-Nazi resistance movement in Germany. She and her husband, Arvid, passed along economic intelligence. Mildred became a resistance fighter as a Berlin anti-fascist espionage group, later called the Red Orchestra. This is a fantastic story of how a school teacher became an anti-Nazi resistance leader. Both Mildred and Arvid were arrested in September 1942. Arvid was executed in December of 1942 at the age of 41. Mildred was executed a couple of months later, on February 16, 1943, by guillotine at the age of 40. It is a powerful story and one that reminds us of the importance of history in a world that wants to forget the past.

Read on!

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Thanks for reading!

Make Reading a Priority in 2022

Getting Started

Reading has always been something I have loved since I was a boy. One of my favorite things in my early schooling years was going to the library. In this place, I was surrounded by ideas and opportunities just waiting to be taken in. To this day, I love walking into a library or bookstore. The smell and feel of the books and the image of endless options seem to always draw me into a local library or bookstore. If you have been in my office, you’ll know that I either love reading or like to make people think I do. Reading has brought me so much joy.

One of the hardest things to do is to get started. With so many excellent options, it can seem like one could begin with the wrong book. But don’t think too hard! What do you enjoy? Are there TV shows or movies that you often gravitate towards? Is there a current topic or issue of old that you are curious about? Have you been curious about a particular historical event or figure? Use these things to guide you in your choice. You can’t go wrong. Whether you’re starting with a science fiction series or a biography of someone long gone, do the hard work of making the selection and getting into the pages.

Tools to Help

Going to the local library is something I haven’t done in a long time. I used to purchase hard copies of all the books I chose to read. Now, I use a Kindle Paperwhite to house my collection. I like this for two reasons. One is that it takes up less shelf space. The other, more importantly, is I have a way to search and organize my highlights and notes. I keep all that in a database I’ve created in Notion in conjunction with my highlights and notes. I have found the discipline of keeping my database updated has helped me interact with the material at a much higher level.

Others use a notebook to write down their thoughts and keep the book’s quotes and concepts. This method is another excellent way to interact with the text and begin to work out the ideas in a critical way. The drawback is that this method is not searchable. Another process may need to be put in place to help you refer to your notes in the future.

Whatever you do, have a plan for how you can interact with the text. Detailed notes and interactions will not be needed for every genre that you consume. But it is helpful to have a plan as you dive into your next book that you want to think through critically.

You’ve Got This!

There is so much to learn from reading. Let me encourage you to read broadly. Don’t limit yourself to one field or one viewpoint. Reading provides all of us the opportunity to enter someone else’s mind and see them tell their story from their point of view. This is one of the things that excites me about reading. Each book is as if I have sat down with the author to hear their perspective on numerous topics.

Once you have chosen the reading material and have begun to read it, don’t stop there. Stick with it! Even if you can only read a few moments, be disciplined to take in the text. Don’t be afraid to think critically while you read. Let your imagination create the world the author is describing or interact with the viewpoint causing you to bristle. Be an active thinker as you read.

In the end, the joy of reading becomes more significant as you stay disciplined to the practice. Let me encourage you just to get started. You got this! If you need help, feel free to reach out.

For those of you who are regular readers, I’d love to hear about your favorite books and how you keep track of your highlights and notes!

I’d love to hear from you! Comment below or message me.

Thanks for reading!