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My Year in Books – Tim Thorburn

Disclaimer: I have very few original thoughts, but I am bower bird (collecting pretty ideas from others). I am also an engineer by orientation, so efficiency is the go (efficiency = laziness). The result is, I don’t read many books cover to cover to see what they might say, but I scavenge ideas from conversations, blogs (anywhere really) and then dig into books to explore further. Here are some of the books I enjoyed in 2018.

True Devotion: In Search of Authentic Spirituality by Allan Chapple

It seems every Christian wants more in their experience of God, me included. The current catchcry is ‘intimacy with God’. If my current church experience, Bible reading or prayer life leaves me dissatisfied, of course I’ll look elsewhere for more. This book explores the ‘more’ being spruiked in our churches and bookshops, and exposes their shallowness and danger, and offers a Biblical alternative in expectation and experience. I read it with a couple of Ministry Apprentices to good effect for all.

‘True Devotion’ explores the ‘more’ being spruiked in our churches and bookshops, and exposes their shallowness and danger

Evangelism in a Sceptical World by Sam Chan

A stimulating read urging narrow-minded evangelicals to be more flexible and relational to contextualise our evangelism. A good poke in the ribs, but left me wondering whether Sam thinks the gospel has some irreducible core concepts or will any metaphor do? Maybe I am narrow-minded.

Civilisation: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson

An attempt to explain why the West became the dominant world civilisation from 1500-2000 by an historian. Would make a good Primer for the Ramsay Institute’s Centre for the Study of Western Civilisation (if it ever happens). A fascinating read for someone whose understanding of history is shallow enough to believe it.

Ghost Empire by Richard Fidler

A popular level history of Constantinople/Byzantium/Istanbul from its rise to its fall as a ‘power city’. Fascinating story of the meeting place of East and West, Christianity and Islam, culture and politics. But the myriad details and more personal interjections struggled to keep my interest to the end.

Disappearing Church: From Cultural Relevance to Gospel Resilience by Mark Sayers

Brilliant analysis of our cultural moment, but not so convinced by his solutions (easy to say before they have been tried).

The Gospel of the Kingdom by David Seccombe

A stimulating and inspiring integration of Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of God/heaven and the apostle’s proclamation of Christ crucified and resurrected, against the narrative of the storyline of the Bible.