Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Not Exactly Summer Reading Material

After a day or two to think about it, I realize that a sum total of none of you (that would be zero, zip, zilch) will ever read Niebuhr's Christ & Culture. I'm betting no one clicked on the link, either. (OK, maybe my friend Scott did, but he's a church history doctoral student, so he doesn't count.)

I'd chide all of you about your intellectual laziness (obviously brought on by watching too many reality TV shows & playing too many board games), but I'm busy googling information about the new season of The Amazing Race & loading my suitcases to go to Gulf Games to bother with the lecture.

Instead, I want to suggest some books to you that helped shape my thinking on the whole subject of Christians & their interaction with culture. Reading even one of them could help redefine how you view the world - read more than one & see what happens! (The links for the books that follow are for - with the exception of Turn Back The Night, which is OOP & difficult to locate. The links for the authors lead to their websites or websites about their various ministries.)

Is Rescuing Right? (Randy Alcorn)

Put aside the pro-life focus of this book... Randy Alcorn does an amazing job of speaking logically & Biblically about Christian involvement in political change, particularly by using civil disobedience. He is not a fire-breathing hate-monger... instead, he's an insightful guy who shares about his own journey to his stance on these issues. (Randy is also a fiction writer - I esp. like
Deadline - and his book Heaven is flat-out the best book on the subject I've ever read.)

Roaring Lambs (Bob Briner)

It doesn't seem quite as radical now, but when Bob Briner first began speaking & writing about his "roaring lambs" concept - that Christians should be involved in the "secular" culture as salt & light - we were still caught in the throes of castigating writers, musicians & actors for "crossing over & selling out." Bob wrote a number of books - another one I like is Lambs Among Wolves, which tells the stories of some folks who are living "roaring lamb" kind of lives.

The Radical Reformission: reaching out without selling out (Mark Driscoll)

Mark is always colorful, incredibly deep and occasionally WAY over the top... but he's never dull and he does one of the best things a writer/pastor can do - he forces you to think. His is the most recent book on cultural engagement I've read - the chapter "going to seminary in the grocery store" hits the nail right on the head.

Serious Times: Making Your Life Matter In An Urgent Day (James Emery White)

Lots of people write about opposing worldviews... but few write so eloquently about worldview changes AND how we as followers of Christ should work to impact the culture around us. (He has written two "follow-up" books - so far - to the principles he advanced in Serious Times: A Mind For God and The Prayer God Longs For.)

True Believers Don't Ask Why (John Fischer)

This book is a collection of essays of varying quality, but "The Adventures of Reefer" should be required reading for every person mired in the Christian subculture. Fischer has also written a number of other good books on Christians interacting wisely & graciously with culture... as well as releasing a number of albums in 70's & 80's.

Turn Back the Night: a Christian response to popular culture (Stephen Lawhead)

Stephen Lawhead is one of my favorite fiction authors... I absolutely adore his Pendragon cycle (a series of 5 books - or 6, if you count Avalon - about the Arthurian legends) and his most recent completed series The Celtic Chronicles, which used the Crusades as a backdrop for great adventure & even greater spiritual truths. But way back when (over 20 years ago), what I knew Stephen Lawhead for was his thoughtful book on how to lovingly deal with cultural issues. (I've mentioned it before on my blog, in a post entitled Enter Pastor Man... I take a stroll down memory lane through my musical history, and then use Lawhead's "grid" to help explain how to think about art & truth. Go read it - I'll wait right here for you.)

Also good on this subject:

There. That ought to keep your book bag full on your vacation to the beach.

This article originally appeared in the 7/12/06 issue of the Grapevine, the newsletter of NewLife Community Church.

1 comment:

Scott Rushing said...

LOL...I didn't click on the link either, but that's because I already own the book. I haven't read it yet, but I will be responsible for its contents come comprehensive exam time next spring.