The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel
In a culture full of distractions and want, even the Church has looked at the Sabbath as a day to get things done. Go to church. Pick up groceries. Do laundry. Binge watch a weeks worth. Get ready for the week ahead. While listening to Portland Pastor John Mark Comer speak on this topic, he reminded me that the Sabbath is not only a time to rest and delight in a life-giving way, but to also rebel against the go-go-go mentality of our culture. The Sabbath is a short book that challenges the way we look at God’s gift that he gave us in the Ten Commandments (I know, I also forget that “Remember the Sabbath” is in the same list as respecting your parents and do not murder…). This book poetically outlines what Sabbath looks like in a Jewish household and has many actions steps that we all should take. It is a convicting read filled with practices that make my achiever-skin crawl, but by already implement some of the practices, I have seen a Sabbath mindset take hold throughout the whole week; a mindset with less hurry, anxiety, and fear.
To Read: Educated by Tara Westover
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This is my book club’s read this month and I can’t wait to discuss it with them. Some books just let lend themselves to well to book club picks and this one strikes a number of those chords: relevant commentary on current issues, a strong narrative voice, challenging themes. The story is told from the perspective of sixteen-year-old Starr Carter, a black teenage girl who lives in a poor neighborhood while attending a mostly white prep school in the wealthy suburbs. She struggles to find her identity stuck between these two worlds, but is forced grapple with it when she witnesses the murder of her childhood friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. His death sparks national debate and since Starr was the only witness, she is confronted with finding her voice and what it will mean to speak up.
To Read: Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout; Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land
Nothing to Envy by Barbara Dermick
This is a gripping look into life in North Korea. The book combines the life stories of several defectors and opens the curtain to a widely unknown land. This book has shown me what true suffering and starvation can look like. I highly recommend this book, but be forewarned that this book is very depressing and a reality-check of your own greed and gluttony.
I just finished listening to The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown. I have always been a fan of Brené Brown’s work so I was interested in listening to this audiobook. This audiobook is based off her viral TED talk titled “The power of vulnerability” and consists of five live lectures so it almost feels like you are listening to one long podcast. She discusses the research she has found in topics of shame and vulnerability and does so in an honest and refreshing way. Telling personal stories about how shame and vulnerability have come up in her own life, she shares about ways we can find courage and wholeheartedness in vulnerability with ourselves and with others. If you’re looking for a quick audio listen, I would highly recommend this book!
To Read: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Christians in the Age of Outrage by Ed Stetzer
I’ve recently started reading Christians in the Age of Outrage: How to Bring Our Best When the World Is at Its Worst by Ed Stetzer, the contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach magazine, and the executive director of the Billy Graham Center. As someone who works closely with the digital space and keeping up with the media, I reasoned that this would be an edifying read from an esteemed writer and his analysis of the new survey research of evangelicals. My aim is to gain insight to assist my pursuit of real solutions to real problems and, ultimately, do my part to serve Christ by blessing the church and surrounding America with healing.