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It’s a New Year and time to resurrect philosophy Friday. Maybe not every Friday mind you, but many of them. In the past I had previously just posted videos with sparse comments (see here for instance). Now I’d like to actually do some philosophizing (with and without a hammer), as well as post about some philosophy books I’ve read or am reading. We’ll kick it off with a recent bio of Kierkegaard which pairs nicely with another book on him I’d recommend (this one).

First off, thanks to Zondervan for not only sending me a copy of Stephen Backhouse’s Kiekegaard: A Single Life, but also the sweet tote as well! I wasn’t able to make it to ETS and so missed out on coming by the Zondervan booth and perhaps getting the tote that way. I should probably use the tote to cart books around, but I’m pretty committed to using my biceps to curl a stack.

As far as Backhouse’s book though, I enjoyed it over coffee for a couple mornings before finishing it with zest. While each chapter moves more or less chronologically through Kierkegaard’s life, they each highlight a different theme. Kierkegaard is a complex figure, if you weren’t aware. And even if you were, it doesn’t change that there’s much to uncover in the mystery of his life.

I am by no means a Kierkegaard scholar. I just find him intriguing and have general grasp of some of his major ideas. Backhouse’s book helps you learn about Kierkegaard the man, and in turn helps you better understand Kierkegaard the philosopher. Though I read Mark Tietjen’s book first, I would recommend reading both of these in reverse order. They overlap at places but are ultimately complimentary to one another. Backhouse’s book doesn’t avoid dealing with themes in Kierkegaard’s writing, but they are not the focal point. By contrast, that is Tietjen’s focal point as he is trying to introduce Kierkegaard’s thought to new readers.

After reading both books, I think Kierkegaard represents a philosopher that evangelicals ought to pay a bit more attention to in coming years. That of course is different than saying “adopt uncritically.” But, it seems that much of what Kierkegaard was against in the Danish church has found its way into many American evangelical churches. One need only look at this book list to see what I might mean. By learning more about Kierkegaard’s life and context, I think we are better able to adopt his posture in some regards, without making some of the mistakes he made (and maybe avoiding pseudonyms altogether). In that light, take and read this great intro to Kierkegaard.

Over Christmas break, I was mostly reading books, but I saw my fair share of Tweets. The one above caught my eye, and also got me thinking. I’m not sure I properly qualify as a young academic, but I have had book reviews published in a journal. I’ve also done my fair share of book reviews (that page is out of date, but you get the idea).

I’ll keep this short, because 1000 words about why a tweet is wrong seems either petty or excessive (or both). I’m going to assume that because this is a tweet, it is reflective of in the moment thinking. Looking through the mentions, it seems to be prompted by Leeman reading a poorly constructed review of one of his professor’s books. I would assume as well this isn’t the first time Leeman has come across a shoddy review by a young academic, otherwise he wouldn’t think to make a new rule.

It is not entirely clear how to divide the reasons that come after “Either.” It could be a binary, in which case it would be a false dichotomy. To avoid that, let’s say there’s 4 elements. Young academics doing book reviews:

  1. Try too hard to prove themselves
  2. Are extra critical (probably in excess, because more is probably better in most cases)
  3. Miss the forest for trees
  4. Say nothing of value (presumably scholarly)

Having easily done several hundred book reviews since my time at Dallas, I will be the first to confess I have done all of these. It is hard not to think about #1 if the review is being published somewhere that receives a wider reading than your personal blog. My review of Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith, might be close to violating #2, but I still stand by it. It was also one of the few reviews I’ve done that was published in a journal. And, in a point I’ll come back to, there was professorial oversight.

#3 is certainly a danger if you’re not able to do synthesis and big picture thinking. The result is a review that provides a good chapter by chapter summary, but offers no overarching conclusions. And when that is done, #4 is also in play. Anyone can read a book, and with time and effort, summarize what each chapter says. But, without some kind of critical interaction, or evaluative comments, no scholarly value is imparted. Judging by the output of my reviews, you can rest assured many are guilty of #4, and some are surely #3, but I’d have to go back and figure out which ones. #4 is probably the biggest issue in book reviews in general, but if one were to take time to compile data, I don’t think it would be limited to younger reviewers.

All that being said, I don’t think this is a young academic problem. It is much more likely to happen with younger, less established scholars. But, one only has to subscribe to JETS or Themelios to find reviews that come from older academics that hit one of these 4 elements. Maybe the one the least likely to happen is #1, but then we have the sad tale of G. E. Ladd, who published books in pursuit of #1 and was devastated by a review from another establish scholar that violated #2.

If we look at this list as a criteria for editors to keep in mind, I think we’re much close to a new guideline. The age or rank of the academic involved shouldn’t have bearing on publication if the review does the following:

  1. Does not seem out to reinvent the wheel via book review
  2. Is appropriately critical (summarizes and evaluates)
  3. Describes both forest and trees where appropriate
  4. Adds value to the scholarly discussion of the book in question

We need more reviewers, young and old, who are capable of doing the above. And perhaps more significantly, are capable of realizing when you can’t do this with a particularly book. Perhaps this is the element that Leeman’s Tweet hits on. Younger academic reviewers may be less able to sense when they can’t fulfill the criteria. That is one reason why I appreciated the opportunity to do an independent study right before graduating Dallas that focused on writing good book reviews. It was overseen by Dr. Glenn Kreider, who helped me shape reviews that met the above criteria. The resulting reviews were divided between two journals. In each case, I was the primary reviewer, but because I completed it under Dr. Kreider’s supervision, his name appears as well.

If we’d like to avoid more reviews like the one Jonathan Leeman read, maybe we ought to have more seasoned professors like mine who are willing to shape the reviewing tendencies of young academics. If they produce shoddy reviews, it’s probably not because they’re young, but rather untrained. Or worse, they’ve had shoddy reviewers modeled for them by older academics who should know better.

As I look ahead to the reviews I’ll do this year, I want to be more clear about my limitations and strive to hit the criteria Leeman gave us. I want to be more selective, while still writing on many books. That probably means less full critical reviews, but hopefully it will mean better quality reviews when they’re completed. And also, thanks to Leeman’s tweet, I think I want to resurrect the series on doing quality book reviews.

Or maybe I’ll just review tweets about book reviews…

You may have seen my monthly posts throughout 2016 about Tim Challies Reading Challenge (see my year end post here). He made some changes to the overall plan to make it more flexible and is continuing it in 2017. You can download the plans here.

This time around, I’m planning to be a bit more strategic. I want to continue to read more broadly, but I also want to be more selective with the books I read in my usual genres. I am generally a completer when it comes to reading, so I’m trying to break that habit.

Along those lines, you may have wondered how I was able to read so many books last year (or in previous years). Part of the answer is found in Challies post on how to read 100 books in a year. I don’t typically set a goal for how much I want to read, but if you’re not in the habit, that’s a good idea. Also, his tips for constraining entertainment usage are helpful for time management.

Typically, I am able to read so much for a few reasons. First, I read 900 words per minute (on average). This comes in handy when reading so much within the biblical studies and theological studies genres. Often, you notice that many of these writers repeat themes and ideas. As an example, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across an explanation of creation-fall-redemption-consummation in biblical theology. It is rare that an author says anything that adds to the discussion of those topics, so reading through that section of his book goes quickly.

Second, and this goes with the quicker pace, I don’t read every word (that’s part of how you do 900). I am reading primarily for comprehension, not necessarily absorbing each and every word. In non-fiction, the prose isn’t always that great anyway, and unless you’re reading a book by Kevin Vanhoozer, you’re not missing any clever turns of phrase or literary allusions. I’ll adjust my pace to compensate based on who I’m reading, but many things are easier to plow through if you’re primarily after the argument and comprehension. An extension of this is learning when to not finish a book, but that’s a topic for another day.

Third, I set aside specific times to read. For me, this is first thing in the morning after Bible reading, and then for a good chunk on Saturdays. I have two established reading spots (one morning and one afternoon) and will resurrect a third in the coming weeks (the beach). Having specific places and times to go read helps prime you for the task. Also, I bribe myself with beverages on both occasions.

Fourth, I read multiple books simultaneously. I guess “concurrently” is better. I only read one book at any one time, but I cycle back and forth between several. One reason for this is that I like to jump around on tasks. Another is that you can actually read more if you switch out books between chapters. I use bookmarks and chapters as naturally stopping points. In a typical morning session, I might read 2 chapters in one book, and then one in another. Mentally, this is actually easier than trying to focus on one book until you finish it. If you can learn to have several books going at once, and switch between them when you read, you’ll actually be able to read for longer stretches of time.

Lastly, reading is something I enjoy doing, so it comes easily. That being said, a downside to reading so much last year is that it means there are other things (like writing) that I didn’t do with the available time that I had. I was also reading a lot to escape, which is not a good thing in the long run. I am hoping to be more engaged in my relationships this year, and so that means less reading. I would rather have a balance ultimately, so this isn’t something I am reluctant to do. Ironically perhaps, my New Year’s resolution is to read less and relate more. As the months of 2017 pass, I’ll be sure and let you know how it goes!

2016 In a Single Picture

December 31, 2016 — Leave a comment

2016 was an interesting year. On the one hand, Ali will tell you it was one of the hardest years of her life, and I could probably say the same. On the other hand, for me personally, it felt like what this picture looks like. Storms all around, but mostly moments of clarity (and that is perhaps ironic if you know where my location is in this screenshot).

The year began with us sharing a large house with our best couple friends, a teenage girl for whom the wife was a legal guardian, and the son of one of the elders at our church.

It is ending with us in the same house, but only still living with half of the couple.

2016 started off innocently enough. But then, my friend’s dad died in late January, and when he got back from Tennessee, he and his wife began fighting off and on for several months for the rest of the spring. Early May, we had to ask the teenage girl to leave for violating the lease, and then the wife left suddenly the following week and hasn’t been back. That began the summer. It ended with us having to ask the elder’s son to leave for reasons that need not be explained.

We also left the church after several years of sitting under poor preaching and watching leadership failures abound. We had poured out hearts out there for a few years, but despite being verbally appreciated late in the game, had never felt particularly valued (because we weren’t).

We also found out that Ali’s Panera was closing in early 2017, and their idea of a new job for her was one involving more hours and even more stress than she had been dealing with for the past 5 years. She had already decided to put in her notice and so they never formally made the offer.

So, moving into 2017, Ali’s job is ending, we’re living with my friend who has a mostly ended marriage but we’re not sure because his wife, who was Ali’s former best friend, doesn’t communicate and hasn’t served papers, and we’re short a roommate and looking for a church.

At the same time, God has been very faithful. We were able to have the closest thing to a vacation in our now 7 year marriage. It came right before we went through the roughest summer we’ve ever had. And it was also the catalyst that led to us sensing the timing of God’s call to begin raising support for more permanently working in student and college ministry. And now it’s also why we’re not particularly freaked out that Ali’s having to downgrade to a part time job.

2016 was basically a storm, but we’ve honestly been shielded from the brunt of it. Things could have been much worse, even as Ali had a much rougher time than I did. Many of the storms primarily affected other people very close to us and only secondarily ourselves. Yet there was still a significant amount of trauma, and mostly in our own home. As we look forward to 2017, I’m ready to focus on getting healthier in mind, body, and spirit, and preparing for long term commitments to ministry in Orlando. Ali would say the same. Because of that, I don’t imagine this will be the last year of storms. At the same time, I’m glad it’s over and am looking forward to what God has in store for us next year. We have much to be grateful for, but one thing is that 2016 is over.

I did quite a bit of reading in 2016, just over 48,000 pages to be exact. I participated in Tim Challies 2016 Reading Challenge (see below for month by month lists) and will probably do so again in 2017. I didn’t complete it, but that’s because I didn’t feel totally constrained to read in the categories he offered. I liked the tweaks he offered for next year in that regard.

As I reflected on all that reading, I thought a “Best” list wasn’t the “best” way to recap things. “Best” can mean a lot of different things, and in some sense is an subjective judgment masquerading as an objective one. Tim Challies noticed that many of the same books appear on multiple lists, and he offers a roundup list of the lists. Often, “best” means “books I liked the most.” Occasionally, it means “books that are objectively speaking, the most well-written ones that I read,” but I don’t think that is often the case.

In that spirit, here are my end of the year lists that I think are better (not best) assessments of my 2016 reading.

Books I Most Enjoyed in 2016

Notice anything about this list? Mostly non-theological. But, in terms of pleasure reading, these were the books I couldn’t put down. These were not necessarily un-thought provoking, but mostly just really fun to read. You should perhaps notice the irony that these are my “most enjoyed book” but they are outside of the stream of books I normally read. The bulk of what I read is theology and biblical studies, yet they don’t feature in this list.

They do however feature prominently in this one:

Book That Most Influenced My Thinking in 2016

These are books that I felt I needed to discuss and process more than others. They either contribute to my own personal development or class discussions, or sometimes both. Some of them I still need to write on, so look forward to that.

An original iteration of this next list was “Most Important Books I Read in 2016,” but I quickly realized that is a difficult category to pin down. Instead, I opted for a list of books I’d recommend, but that didn’t appear in the previous two lists. These are books I think are important, and helpful, even if they didn’t make my most enjoyable or most beneficial list.

Books I Read in 2016 That You Should Too

All of these are books that I thought were interesting, and would be beneficial for many people that similar reading interests as I do. Some of them are already well known, others deserve wider recognition. Several of them I’ll hopefully post more about in the coming weeks. You may notice some themes embedded (e.g. books on the Trinity, apologetics), as well as recurring authors. In that vein, here’s a list of authors that I read multiple books by this year and am glad I did. I would say each is also an example of someone who not only communicates important thoughts in writing, but does so well. In other words, I’ll make a case that these are the best writers I read this year.

Authors I Most Benefited From in 2016

  • Andy Crouch
  • Eugene Peterson
  • Tim Keller
  • Peter Leithart
  • Kevin Vanhoozer
  • Oliver Crisp

I briefly contemplated ending this group of lists on a negative note (Most Disappointing Books I Read in 2016), but 2016 was enough of a downer for most people without me pointing out what books fell flat. There were several, some surprising, some not. A good chunk of 188 books I read were simply “blah.” Not horribly written, but not super interesting either. Maybe important and game changing for some readers, but either redundant or slightly boring for me. That list would be too long to include here. I’ll explore reasons why that happens in a post next week. I would say perhaps I should cut back on my reading, but we both know that probably won’t happen.

Oh, here’s the month by month list of reading:

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By Goodread’s measurements, I read more books this year than in any previous year. It honestly doesn’t seem like it, but maybe I’m misremembering how I spent my time. But, I read over 25 more books than my previous best for a total count of 188. While that almost doubled Challies Reading Challenge (I averaged 3.6 books a week compared to the 2 a week needed for completion), I didn’t actually complete it. The obvious reason why is that some categories listed below just didn’t catch my interest enough for me to read a book that filled that slot. I am satisfied with my level of participation though and ended with 90 of the 104 books read. If you’re curious how I read so much, watch a post about it next week.

As you can tell by my December totals, I’ve been on break. To be fair, some of the books listed below were plodded through over the course of several months and just happened to be completed this month. Vol. 3 of Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics is case in point. While it’s the longest book I read this year, I didn’t read all of it this year.

Several books below you can expect a review for in the coming weeks. You’ll notice some themes, and that I went on an Oliver Crisp binge (more on that tomorrow).

That being said, here’s what I completed in December:

If you’re keeping score at home, I’m finishing out with 90 books in the lists below, and a new PR of 188 books this year.

Here’s the whole list, in case you’re curious (and even if you’re not):

THE LIGHT READER (12 BOOKS)

THE AVID READER (13 BOOKS)

THE COMMITTED READER (21 BOOKS)

THE OBSESSED READER (44 BOOKS)

(image via challies)

Since 2003, I have regularly driven I-75 from east Tennessee to central Florida. I wish at this point I had kept an accurate count. I could probably crowd source that information, but as a guess, we’re looking at about 9 times between 2003-2007, and then from 2011 until now, at least twice a year (yesterday being the first half of one such trip). This of course isn’t counting times when I drove Dallas-Orlando-Knoxville-Dallas. So easily 20 times both ways, and maybe another half dozen one way or the other.

It is a 650 mile stretch of Interstate that I have mostly memorized in terms of exits and amenities. I’ve driven across Georgia early in the morning and late into the night. Occasionally, I’ve driven it through the middle of the night. My personal point to point record is 8.5 hrs, but on average we’re talking 10 plus whatever traffic in Atlanta adds to the time. I’ve done it in one stop once, but that was before I started drinking coffee (and you have to make at least one stop because you know, gas). Perhaps more remarkably, I have never been tagged for speeding (in Georgia at least).

As I was making this drive yesterday, I kept thinking of helpful tips and tricks I could share. The temptation was to tweet or put them on Facebook in the midst of driving. Instead, I’ve opted to collect them here for your reading enjoyment. Most of this applies to driving across Georgia, but you could use some of the principles for any all day road trip. I am somewhat serious, but mostly tongue-in-cheek. You’ll have to figure out the dividing line.

General driving tips

  • Plan stops ahead and stick to them. I aim for just inside Georgia at exit 5 going north, and then again in Kennesaw after beating Atlanta. Going south I try to make it to the Macon bypass.
  • Gas up on both stops and remember that gas in north Florida is considerably more expensive than most anywhere in Georgia.
  • Take the bypass around Macon. In all the times I’ve driven, I’ve always taken I-475. No need to see Macon unless you’re Nelson Muntz.
  • Turn Waze on, not for navigation, but for the audible notifications of “Police reported ahead” and “Hazard reported ahead.” Make sure it comes through your speakers so you don’t miss them.
  • Maintain awareness of your travelling companions. You should generally be aware of whether you can make a sudden lane change when you come upon that hazard that was reported ahead.
  • The drive time (if you’re not trying to break land speed records) is 9 hours. Whatever you stop adds to that. Aim for the middle of nowhere exits that have a lot on them. Easier in and out. It’s Georgia so there will either be a Zaxby’s or a Chick-fil-a almost anywhere you stop.
  • Check Google Maps frequently with the traffic layer turned on. Unless a wreck just happened or construction project just started, you’ll know where the backups are miles before you get there.
  • Unless a back-road runs mostly parallel to the Interstate, it is probably not faster to get off and try to get around traffic. But sometimes it is, and it is totally worth it. Also, scenic detours can be fun!
  • If you take videos or pictures while driving (not recommended, but I do it), make sure you do it blindly and hope for the best (see below). Eyes on the road, not on the screen.

On speeding (or not)

  • Go with the flow of traffic for the most part, especially through downtown Atlanta (speed limits don’t matter there). Your mantra is “neither impede nor exceed traffic.”
  • Along those lines, north Georgia and north Florida are essentially race tracks. South Georgia is a giant speed trap. Plan accordingly.
  • Constantly monitor your rear-view mirror. You should never be surprised if a state trooper breezes past you because you saw him already.
  • Know what state troopers and various county police look like throughout Georgia. Be able to recognize headlights in your rear-view if you drive in the early morning or late at night hours.
  • Observe the cars on an overpass as you approach and glance back at the on-ramp when you pass under. You’ll thank me when you spot the cop hiding there.
  • Remember that every blind curve and slight rise in the road provides a place for a state trooper to hide. Left off the gas as you crest hills. Don’t try to pass in the left lane if you’re approaching a bend in the road.
  • Generally avoid the left lane (but see below). Let other people appear to be the fastest car on the road. Also, drive a black nondescript sedan.
  • Realize that speeding tickets are incredibly expensive in Georgia if you are going over 70 (which is what you’ll be doing if you get one there), but you’re probably safe setting the cruise control on 75 through south Georgia and doing whatever the middle lane allows in the rest of the state (I still practice hyper vigilance out of habit).

On Atlanta

  • Drive straight through. Don’t use the bypass, same traffic, but more miles.
  • Leave early or late enough to avoid peak Atlanta traffic (7-9 am or 4-6 pm). I aim to drive through Atlanta between 10-12 (regardless of direction travelling).
  • Hug the left lane through downtown. HOV if you can (you need a buddy for that). It minimizes your potential to be caught in a lane changing fiasco.
  • If you’re going north though, you’ll need to be in the far right lanes to avoid accidentally ending up on I-85. I enjoy the challenge of having to change 5 lanes in heavy traffic in under a quarter mile. You do you.
  • Without fail, there will be an accident south of Atlanta in Macdonough. It’s worse if you’re going south, so plan accordingly.
  • If you’re doing it right, Atlanta is about the most excitement you’ll have on the whole drive, so savor it.

Certainly more could be said, but you get the idea. I hope that on Monday I maintain my streak of not being noticed speeding in Georgia. In the meantime, here is the aforementioned video I made yesterday, chronicling the trip. It is boring, but it takes 3 minutes instead of 9 hours to watch so it’s basically like time travel.

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I don’t always do themed reading, but when I do, it’s either Advent or Lent. This year, I focused my reading activities on books related to the person of Christ for Advent. In the spring, I’ll most likely do the same for Lent (working on my Amazon cart right now). I’ve actually covered a bit more ground than the books pictured, but these were (and currently are) the key ones that I’ve been reading.

Christ the Key

I actually haven’t started this one by Kathryn Tanner yet. I kept seeing it show up in footnote after footnote of other books I was reading, and finally decided to get it in my queue. It’s part of the Current Issues in Theology series by Cambridge University Press. Having already grabbed another title in that series (Webster’s Holy Scripture), I might be adding Oliver Crisp’s entry soon (see below). As we’re less than a week away from Christmas, I’ll have my work cut out with this one (especially because the chapters are long-ish and there are no headings).

The Word Enfleshed

I’ve been on an Oliver Crisp binge lately, having read this one along with Saving Calvinism (review soon), Jonathan Edwards Among The Theologians, and currently finishing Deviant Calvinism. Some of the work in this one is not new to Crisp’s prolific writings, but since it was one of the first books I’ve read from him, it was new to me. Of the 9 chapters, only chapters 2 and 9 are mostly new. Everything else was either originally published elsewhere, or is a newer iteration of something published elsewhere. Many of the themes are extensions of groundwork laid in his book that I mentioned above in the Cambridge series (it appears in the footnotes frequently). But, given the price of the some of the other published works, this is a great way to get a feel for Crisp’s writing (which is quite enjoyable and thought provoking) For those keeping up with current discussion in evangelical theology, this is not one to miss. Case in point, the first chapter is “The Eternal Generation of the Son.” Elsewhere, I was intrigued by the essay on compositional Christology (chapter 6), as well as the one on understanding the image of God in light of Christ (chapter 4).

The Person of Christ

This one is quite a bit older than the others (by about 20 years). However, it comes from a very solid series, Contours of Christian Theology, and is written by Donald Macleod. I’ve benefited from reading the entries in this series, and although it was never completed, it is worth the investment if you can get your hands on it. In some ways, these books have already stood the test of time. They are meant to give the reader a good grounding the in the basics of each doctrine they highlight and because of that, deal with key issues that remain issues even now. Again, if you’ve been aware of the discussion about the eternal generation of the son, there’s a whole chapter in here dealing with that subject and providing much theological wisdom for the debate. If you haven’t already, I might make it my aim to work my way through each title in this series.

The Incarnation of God

Because I enjoyed One With Christ so much, I decided to buy the follow up by Marcus Peter Johnson (co-authored with John C. Clark). This book has a bit of a systematic flow to it, starting with chapters on the knowledge of God and the attributes of God, moving to anthropology, hamartiology, atonement, union, and ecclesiology. The final chapter is perhaps the most intriguing as it ties the meaning of the incarnation sketches in the book so far, to our understanding of marriage and sex. In doing so, it provides a well reasoned theological account of why the Christian view of sex and marriage is a traditional one. Wasn’t particularly expecting that turn when I got the book, but caps off a nice little volume that systematically shows how the incarnation affects everything in theology.

God the Son Incarnate

I’m not quite done with this latest volume in the Foundations of Evangelical Theology series, but so far it has been solid. This is another series of individual systematic volumes that I would recommend as it complements the Contours series already mentioned. In this one, there is a bit more emphasis on epistemological issues (and even an entire volume on it), as well as a wider treatment of the particular doctrine. Stephen Wellum’s first section of the book covers those epistemological bases, before his second section tackles the biblical witness and provides a biblical theology of the person of Christ. In the third section, Wellum takes readers on a tour of the historical discussions, moving from Nicaea, to Chalcedon, and beyond. The final section then turns to contemporary challenges, particularly kenoticism, which takes up four chapters. I’m just pushing out of that into the home stretch and will finish up this fine volume later in the week as Christmas comes upon us. [UPDATE: I should have mentioned that I was able to read this book because Crossway generously sent me a review copy]

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Ever since I was in seminary, I not only frequented the Dallas Seminary Bookstore, I made online orders to Westminster Bookstore in Philadelphia. Once I started posting about books more frequently, I entered their referral program and thanks to your clicks have gotten many gift certificates through the years.

Recently, they sent an e-mail to their partners about their financial situation (you can read more details here). The key ways you can help, if you’re so inclined, is to:

  • Pray for them
  • Order some great books (see below)
  • Donate your change at checkout
  • Spread the word about their ministry (watch the video below)

As for the books I mentioned, they have a list of great Christmas ideas. For a general list, click here, but they also have great Bible deals, books for children/teens, books for men, books for women, and obviously, books for pastors/theologians.

A few items of note in those are:

Obviously I gravitated toward a certain list but you get the idea. Their overall prices are competitve with other online retailers, but you’re helping a ministry sustain itself in this case. If you’re planning to purchase some books for friends and loved ones this Christmas, consider doing so through Westminster Bookstore

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Well, at this point, I’m gonna have to concede that I won’t complete the challenge. However, I might get close to 200 for the year, which would be a new PR. I didn’t add anything to the challenge this month, but I did enjoy what I read. The first three below are favorite authors, and several others I actually gave 5 stars to. You’ll hear more about them in the coming weeks. Until then, here’s what I read:

If you’re keeping score at home, I’m up to 75 books in the lists below, but I’ve read 162 new books total this year.

Here’s the whole list, in case you’re curious (and even if you’re not):

THE LIGHT READER (9 BOOKS)

THE AVID READER (12 BOOKS)

THE COMMITTED READER (17 BOOKS)

THE OBSESSED READER (37 BOOKS)

(image via challies)