It seems like my blog posts often have to do with books. I do like to do other things besides being holed up in my office reading and studying. I have been known to frequent a local coffee shop or two, in search of good espresso. I love spending time with my family, especially watching my girls singing and my boys playing baseball. And if Kristen and I can find the time in our hectic lives for breakfast at the little French place in Monrovia, I’m a happy guy. That being said, as a pastor I do read a lot. It comes with the territory. Even if I wasn’t a pastor, I would still probably read a lot. I do like to read. But I must admit that reading sometimes feels like a burden. I often can relate to the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 12:12, My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. My dilemma is that my pile of “to read” books is always growing. There are books to read on theology, missions, ecclesiology, marriage and family, biblical languages, and more. I’ve even been known to read some fiction once in a while. Then there are books that I wouldn’t normally choose to read, that I’d prefer not to read, but I feel a burden to read, because the people in my church are reading them, or the larger Christian community is reading them. I call them “Christian fad” books. They come along every couple of years, and are all the rage in conversations in the blogosphere. “Relevant” churches use them as giveaways, sermon series, for outreach or small groups, and there is usually all kinds of merchandise that goes along with it (quiet time journals, mugs, t-shirts, wristbands, etc). The long and short of it is, there simply isn’t enough time to read all that I need to read. In times like this, it is a blessing to go to a source that I know I can trust, who has done some of the work (in this case reading) for me. One helpful resource that I’ve found, especially in regards to those current Christian fad books, is Tim Challies’ blog challies.com.
Challies’ blog is an excellent resource for many things beyond these types of books too. I would encourage you to check it out. Here are two related links to challies.com that address two current Christian fad books, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, and Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson. http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/jesus-callinghttp://www.challies.com/book-reviews/the-circle-maker –Pastor Dave