Summer Reading: 2 Disappointments and A Surprise

I’m behind on reporting on my summer reading list (and, honestly, behind on the reading itself), so I thought I’d kill three birds with one post.

First, two disappointments: Orphan Slave Son came highly recommended and for about half the book it more than lived up to the praise. In fact, I would say the sections on Orphans and Salves are awesome. They offer a helpful  and new (to me) framework for understanding some common misapplications of the teachings of Jesus. I found his insights helpful for my own life as well as for people I lead.

After that I had high, high hopes for the third act. But the section on Sonship fell flat in my opinion. Maybe Pasley did too good a job critiquing and re-thinking in the first two sections, maybe I just didn’t have the energy left to go through another round, maybe I need to read it again.

Overall the book is a good book, with a lot of helpful insights, I just couldn’t help but feel a bit let down after being brought to such heights earlier in the work.

2.5/5

——

DisUnity is a book that appeared on almost every ‘book of the year’ list I read. It was one of the first books on my summer list that I jumped into.

Again, this is not a bad book, nor is this intended to be a bad review, but with all the hype behind it, I couldn’t help but feel let down. It didn’t feel fresh, nor did it offer much beyond the classic “birds-of-a-feather” observation and some “hey-let’s-all-get-together” hopes.

[And, now for something a bit controversial. DisUnity was published by IVP press. Some of my favorite books have been published by IVP (including this one and this one and this one). But over the last three or four years I have found their offerings to be lacking.

It’s not a content issue. The ideas and titles and theses continue to speak to me. I keep buying their books!

I’m not entirely sure what the deal is (although I do have some ideas), but it seems like at least two things are true: On the one hand, I think IVP is doing a good job utilizing a wide range of voices. They are going after lesser known authors and giving them a voice. This is a good thing. But on the other hand I think the writing and the quality of the books suffers.]

Cleveland’s a great researcher and this is a HUGE topic that needs addressing. But, for all its promise the book doesn’t deliver to that level. She’s worth watching, and I’ll be interested to see what she has to say after some time goes by and she gets a bit more seasoning as a writer.

2.5/5

—–

Finally, a book that did deliver was Surprised by Scripture. It’s hard to imagine at this point being surprised (pun intended) by something NT Wright publishes (meaning you know you are going to be in good hands here).

This book tackles a number of contemporary issues (science and faith, women in ministry, the problem of evil, politics, etc). It might as well be a top-10-things-college-students-ask-about book. Wright is able to walk the incredibly difficult line of winsome and academic. You may not agree with all his conclusions, but he will make you think, he will challenge you, and he will give you some great tools to help answer people’s questions.

Highly recommended for anyone who finds themselves in apologetical conversations.

3.5/5


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