Saturday, May 11, 2013

Great Summer Reads 2013

I know, I know. Not everyone goes around creating summer syllabi. And most of us
are completely able on our own to select books to read while chilling at the coffee shop or lounging in a canoe.

Nevertheless, I can't help myself. So here are five-ish recommendations, great books to read this summer that won't leave you disappointed, may change your life, and at the very least will give your head some elevation if you packed your tent but forgot your pillow.

First, consider reading a straight up work of ecclesiology. Friend and colleague Cheryl Peterson has a new work out about which I'm totally excited. Periodically we need to be invited to re-think what we mean by "church." Cheryl's book "starts with the Spirit" as it considers what the church is for, what the church is.

Second, Rich Melheim's offers a compelling case for energizing simple faith formation rituals in the home. He not only encourages us, but offers us a path for making it happen. We are going to try and get Rich to come to Northwest Arkansas this fall. He's fun and full of energy and you will love this book.

Third, a book quite like Melheim's by Bruce Feiler, New York Times best-selling author, is also about helping families flourish. My wife and I are reading it this year and going out for meals and conversation around it.

Fourth, I don't think you'll be disappointed if you read The New Digital Age. Since Google has such an incredible influence on all of us, it isn't bad to know a little bit about the approach to our era their leading thinkers and leaders are considering.

Finally, I'm going to recommend two serious works of theology. This won't be for everyone, but if you've never read or seldom read theology, you might try it out. Retrieving Nicea is the more difficult read of the two, but helps offer historical context for Nicene Trinitarian theology. The other From Pentecost to the Triune God is a work by a Pentecostal on Trinitarian theology. It's very, very readable, and helps readers think about the Trinity starting from the Spirit.

As a kind of "sixth," let me recommend a book you can download for free, and that will free you and your community to "How Much Is Enough: A Deeper Look at Stewardship In Age of Abundance" to live in God's abundance. I'm recommending to all of my parishioners who lead our stewardship ministries or who hope to encourage us to greater faithfulness in this area to read this set of essays some time during the summer.
This is the bonus section. Other books I'm recommending or plan to read, in various genres:

A book on writing: Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

My main sci-fi read this summer: The Human Division

A book on improv: Bossypants

I most definitely and especially welcome readers' recommendations in the comments. Happy reading this summer!

And if you've read this far, two more books, forthcoming in the summer or early fall, that need to go in your purchase queue:


  1. thanks for the list, Clint! I have my own, but definitely going to try a couple of these too! I'm a big Bruce Feiler fan, for one. Also the book on liturgy looks up my alley.

  2. We had a discussion in Sunday School yesterday about the Holy Trinity that left me with more questions than answers. Frankly, the Holy Spirit has always been a bit of a conundrum for me. Do you think "From Pentecost to the Triune God" would be a good read for me?

  3. I think yes. It helps readers think about the place the Spirit has in the life of the Trinity, specifically completing who the Father and Son are as the Spirit. It also lays out various western and eastern understandings of the Trinity, which is helpful.

  4. Thanks Clint. I will add it to my "wish list".