What is the Gospel? This is a really important question, and a timely book (because legitimately there’s a lot of talk about the gospel within the religious landscape right now). Gilbert’s answer in four words: God. Man. Christ. Response. This book seems to have been written both to clarify the gospel for the average person, and to help guard against what the author feels are slight distortions of the gospel message prevalent within evangelical circles today (e.g. those focusing too heavily on the kingdom of God in the here and now, those re-articulating the gospel mainly in meta-narrative language rather than penal substitutionary language, and perhaps those whom Gilbert feels are listening too closely to authors such as Leslie Newbigin, N. T. Wright, Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, etc.*). My opinion on the book: challenging, thought-provoking, and helpful; though, perhaps slightly lacking some nuance that I might have preferred about the kingdom / gospel / meta-narrative discussion (not that I necessarily disagree with Gilbert’s conclusions).
Verdict: Read it. It’s a quick read. And let it challenge you to think hard about the gospel.
Four out of Five Black Cups of Coffee.
*this is just my guess
Think is Piper’s latest book, and deals with how our minds, and the act of thinking, assist humans in the process of knowing and glorifying God. The first three chapters of the book are probably my favorite because they are more autobiographical, and one of the quotes from Jonathan Edwards still blows my mind. Piper does a rather well-rounded job of both explaining how our minds work in process of knowing God, and in defending proper thinking against relativism and anti-intellectualism. I love how Piper talks about knowing God because he perfectly balances deep thinking (intellect) with deep feeling (emotion). The last third of the book (when Piper defends thinking against anti-intellectualism), while thorough and amazingly exegetical, nevertheless get a little dry from a reading perspective.
Verdict: Good, thorough, mind-expanding read.
Four of Five Cups of Black Coffee.
I received this book from my brother for Christmas and was initially very intrigued because Tim Keller, a man whom I greatly respect, wrote the forward. Gerson and Wehner (the authors of the book) are not theologians, rather they are right-leaning politicians who happen to be Christians and care deeply about both faith and politics. The good thing about this book is that it’s not the same-ole’, same ole’ story from two Christians who have wholesale bought an unchallenged, stale Republican vision for how to make this country “God’s nation.” Gerson and Wehner lay a foundation for how Christians should understand both the role of their faith and the role of the government within a democratic society. My one caveat is that they fail to fully address many issues, and despite their intentions to move beyond the mistakes of the Religious Right, at times they still seem a bit short-sighted.
Verdict: A good introduction to the discussion of faith and politics, but a little too brief.
Three of Five Cups of Black Coffee.
This is a list (in no particular order) of the albums I purchased in 2010. Some good, some bad. See my previous post for my top albums of the year.
David Crowder Band – Church Music
Ascend the Hill – Ascend the Hill
Ascend the Hill – Hyms: Take the World But Give Me Jesus
R.E.M. – Murmur
R.E.M. – Fables of the Reconstruction
R.E.M. – Dead Letter Office
R.E.M. – Document
R.E.M. – Green
R.E.M. – Out of Time
R.E.M. – Automatic for the People
R.E.M. – Monster
R.E.M. – Around the Sun
R.E.M. – Accelerate
Radiohead – The Bends
Radiohead – Kid A
Radiohead – Insomniac
Making Malorie – The Steeple EP
Nathan Loxley – Haiti’s Song
Gwen Stefani – Love. Angel. Music. Baby.
Justin Timberlake – Future Sex // Love Sounds.
Corinne Bailey Rae – Corinne Bailey Rae
I Am Alpha & Omega – The War I Wage EP
I Am Alpha & Omega – The Roar and the Whisper
The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love
Neil Young – Sugar Mountain: Live From Canterbury Hall
Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Charlie Hall – The Rising
Soundgarden – Telephantasm
Lecrae – Rehab
Bob Dylan & the Band – The Basement Tapes
Hansen – Shout if Out
Hansen – Stand Up Stand Up EP
Hansen – Middle of Nowhere
Ben Folds – Rockin’ the Suburbs
Seth Philpott – Good Hearts
Death Cab For Cutie – Plans
Derek Webb – Democracy Vol 1
Derek Webb – Feedback
Japanese Cartoon – In the Jaws of the Lords of Death
Joe Cocker – With a Little Help From My Friends
Maroon 5 – Songs About Jane
Metallica – Reload
Nickel Creek – This Side
The Sword – Warp Riders
The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground and Nico
Kanye West – The College Dropout
Caedmon’s Call – Raising Up the Dead
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Abel – Lesser Men
Queen – Greatest Hits I
Showbread – Who Can Know It
The Dead Weather – Horehound
Zwan – Mary Star of the Sea
Billy Corgan – The Future Embrace
Smashing Pumpkins – Pisces Iscariot
Counting Crows – August and Everything After
Counting Crows – Recovering the Satellites
Counting Crows – This Desert Life
Toby Mac – Tonight
Underoath – Disambiguation
Girl Talk – All Day
Paul McCartney & Wings – Band on the Run
The Roots – How I Got Over
The Rat Pack – Christmas with the Ratpack
Andy Hunter – Collide
B.o.B. – B.o.B. Presents the Adventures of Bobby Ray
Flame – Captured
The Rolling Stones – Some Girls
The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
That’s 70 albums I think (but a good majority were bought on Amazon really cheap, were free downloads, or were purchased at a local used music store for about $1 each). Still, I am pretty addicted to music.