Tuesday, January 19, 2010

John's January Reading

Currently Reading:

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

I saw the 2002 film recently, and that inspired me to read the story. I had a Phoenix 60p edition (these were cheap imitations of the Penguin 60's design) on my shelf, and I started reading it before I realised it was an abridgement - chapters 3 to 6 of a twelve chapter novel. Fortunately, the whole book is available on Wikisource, so I'm reading it online now.

The Message of Zechariah by Barry Webb

I heard Barry Webb speak in Melbourne last July as part of an MTS training day, and that inspired me to preach through Zechariah. So that's what I'm currently doing on Sunday mornings at Aspendale. We're looking at Zechariah 3 this Sunday, and aim to finish the series at Easter.

Cohabitation and Marriage: A Pastoral Response by Greg Forster

Reading this book was helpful in thinking through what I mean when I say a book is biblical or not. This book is not biblical. Forster does not, for example, explain how the covenantal nature of marriage (as seen in Malachi 2:14) makes it different to cohabitation, nor does he discuss the relevance of Genesis 1 and 2. Being biblical means looking at what the Bible says is the nature and purpose of marriage. This is not to say that a biblical response needs to be unpastoral, but the subtitle of Forster's book really ought to be "A Sociological Response". Forster adopts a functional definition of marriage - examining the difference it makes socially - rather than a biblical one.

His Truth is Marching On: Advanced Studies on Prophecy in the Light of History by Ralph Woodrow

This seems to be mainly a response to premillennial dispensationalism.

Finished Recently:

The Paideia of God by Douglas Wilson

This is, I believe, the 18th book I've read by Douglas Wilson.

The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton

The first half of the book deals with prehistoric man and pagan religion, and is somewhat mediocre. The second half is much better, and talks about Jesus. Although never re
aching the dizzying heights of Orthodoxy, GKC does have some good things to say concerning the Church:
Tolstoy or some great preacher of peace among peasants has been shot as a mutineer for defying conscription; and a little while afterwards his few followers meet together in an upper room in remembrance of him. They never had any reason for coming together except that common memory; they are men of many kinds with nothing to bind them, except that the greatest event in all their lives was this tragedy of the teacher of universal peace. They are always repeating his words, revolving his problems, trying to imitate his character. The Pacifists meet at their Pentecost and are possessed of a sudden ecstasy of enthusiasm and wild rush of the whirlwind of inspiration, in the course of which they proceed to establish universal Conscription, to increase the Navy Estimates, to insist on everybody going about armed to the teeth and on all the frontiers bristling with artillery; the proceedings concluded with the singing of 'Boys of the Bulldog Breed' and 'Don't let them scrap the British Navy.' That is something like a fair parallel to the theory of these critics; that the transition from their idea of Jesus to their idea of Catholicism could have been made in the little upper room at Pentecost. Surely anybody's commonsense would tell him that enthusiasts who only met through their common enthusiasm for a leader whom they loved, would not instantly rush away to establish everything that he hated. No, if the 'ecclesiastical and dogmatic system' is as old as Pentecost it is as old as Christmas. If we trace it back to such very early Christians we must trace it back to Christ.
Science & Its Limits: The Natural Sciences in Christian Perspective by Del Ratzsch and No Final Conflict by Francis A. Schaeffer

I read both these books in preparation for a workshop that I ran at PYV Summer Camp on Science and Christianity. Ratzsch discusses the nature and limits of science, while Schaeffer looks at Genesis in the light of a belief in the inerrancy of Scripture.

Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels by Arthur Conan Doyle

I decided to read all four Sherlock Holmes novels as a way of preparing to see the recent movie. I had read A Study in Scarlet and The Hound of the Baskervilles a long, long time ago, but now I read The Sign of Four and The Valley of Fear for the first time. Exciting stuff.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Kara's Reading Goals for 2010

In past years, my reading goals have been a bit ambitious. The lists were too long for someone who likes picking most of her books on the spur of the moment, and there were too many weighty titles. So this year, I've chosen only twelve books, each in a different category. I've included only one or two difficult titles, and to make things simpler, I've narrowed my options by choosing only from books we already have on our shelves.

Church history

The Story of the Church by A.M. Renwick and A. M. Harman

I realized the other day that church history is an area I'm a bit weak in. I've read lots of bits and pieces, but have never read a full-length overview. I'm spurred on to remedy my weakness by the realization that for me as a Christian, church history is family history.


Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner Finished February 2010


Watership Down by Richard Adams Finished September 2010


Hamlet by Shakespeare

I intend to read this in conjunction with the study notes from Peter Leithart's Brightest Heaven of Invention.


Works of G. K. Chesterton

Children's Book

Scout: The Secret of the Swamp by Piet Prins

I wanted to read something that my husband read as a child, and he said this was a good place to start.

Science Fiction

Changing Planes by Ursula Le Guin Finished March 2010

Biblical Exposition

Wrestling with God: Lessons from the Life of Jacob by J. Douglas MacMillan


Repairing the Ruins: The Classical and Christian Challenge to Modern Education by Douglas Wilson Finished August 2010

I read Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning years ago, and it was instrumental in forming my ideas about education. In this title, I hope to learn more about the specifics of the classical method.


One Flesh: A Practical Guide to Honeymoon Sex and Beyond by Amelia and Greg Clarke Finished January 2010


To a Thousand Generations: Infant Baptism - Covenant Mercy to the Children of God by Douglas Wilson

Having recently joined the Presbyterian church, I want to develop my knowledge of the theology behind paedobaptism. I chose this particular book for two reasons: it is written specifically for readers of Baptist background (like myself), and it is by one of my favourite authors.

Book about Books

Soul Survivor: How Thirteen Unlikely Mentors Helped My Faith Survive the Church by Philip Yancey Finished January 2010

The mentors mentioned in the subtitle are authors such as Chesterton, Donne and Tolstoy.

Monday, January 04, 2010

2009 Books: The (almost) complete list

It's time to post another list of books I've read in the past twelve months.

I've included links to the books I reviewed here on the blog.

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God -- Stacy MacDonald and Jennie Chancey

Nothing particularly new to me here. I thought the story bookends were a bit superfluous.

Created to Be His Helpmeet -- Debbie Pearl

I don't really get what all the fuss is about. But then, maybe I was brought up in a patriarchal culture.

Intended for Pleasure --Ed Wheat

By far the best of the books my mom and I read together prior to my marriage. Very helpful preparation for marital intimacy.

Confessions --St. Augustine

John and I read this together while we were courting. I was struck by Augustine's humility.

Sketches of Home
--Suzanne Clark

Black and Tan --Douglas Wilson

The Complete Stories
--Dorothy Sayers

Finally, I've read all the short stories, including Montague Egg.

Persuasions --Douglas Wilson

Primeval Saints --James Jordan

84 Charing Cross Rd --Helene Hanff

Young, Restless, Reformed --Collin Hansen

Subtitled "A journalist's journey with the new Calvinists". I enjoyed reading about young people who are excited about the reformed faith.

Cold Comfort Farm --Stella Gibbon

Meet the Austins --Madeleine L'Engle

Fahrenheit 451 --Ray Bradbury


Lincoln's Dreams
--Connie Willis

Perhaps more disturbing! But I did enjoy it.

Publish and Perish --Sally S. Wright

From the Holy Mountain --William Dalrymple

The Daughter of Time
-- Josephine Tey

The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond --G.K. Chesterton

Reaching Forward: From a Rich Heritage to a Certain Goal --Allan and Mairi Harman

Radical Refomission --Mark Driscoll

Her Father's Daughter --Gene Stratton Porter

I have to say I was quite shocked at the white supremacist philosophy expressed throughout Her Father's Daughter. That, and the fact that the story is overlong, makes this my least favourite of Porter's books.

The Labours of Hercules --Agatha Christie

A Murder is Announced --Agatha Christie

Glorious Things, A Protestant's Guide to London --Bob Thomas

Sheriff's Badge --Rebekah Brown

Bound for Glory --R. C. Sproul, Jr.

Death and Restoration --Iain Pears

Invisible Forms --Kevin Jackson

A Study in Scarlet --Arthur Conan Doyle