Monday, December 30, 2013

Passing Along the Best Stuff, Part 1

One of the things I enjoyed doing a whole lot more of in 2013 was reading. I'm a bit behind in sharing my reviews/thoughts on various reads, so here's a bit of catch up. Enjoy!

Okay, not a book but my favorite new CD for 2013 was Fortunate Fall by Audrey Assad. Incredible through and through. The album drew from St. Augustine's writings so the lyrics are rich and anything but trite. My absolute favorite song on the CD became my anthem for the year - I Shall Not Want.

Now on to some books. It was a very tough autumn. Over the years I have struggled with depression that seems to show up in September. It's an odd month for Seasonal Affective Disorder, but apparently that's when I'm vulnerable. I wrote a bit about it in this blog post. It was during this time that I discovered a terrific book by Edward Welch, Depression: Looking Up From Stubborn Darkness. I've since recommended this one to several others wrestling with depression.

You'll start to see a theme, but my next recommendation is Undone: When Coming Apart Puts You Back Together by Laura Sumner Truax. I just loved the title, but then I loved the book and Laura's writing. She has a beautiful way of being very transparent and weaving the scriptures throughout her story. Perfection not required.

In October I was able to go to a conference in Wichita for a few days. My introverted self was thrilled to get away by myself for a long drive across Kansas. The IVP table was loaded with books and I snagged two by Craig Barnes, Yearning: Living Between How It Is and How It Ought to Be and When God Interrupts: Finding New Life Through Unwanted Change. Neither is particularly new (1992 and 1996 respectively) but somehow I missed them in the 1990s. So glad I found them in 2013 - they are wonderfully written and are steeped in the truth of scriptures.

And on that same trip I was able to listen to a very creative and thoughtful audiobook: Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos. Fabulous, simply funny and fabulous. I found myself laughing out loud in the car as I trekked across the Kansas wheat fields. Taken from the description on Amazon, because it's a great synopsis: "Imaginary Jesus is an hilarious, fast-paced, not-quite-fictional story that’s unlike anything you’ve ever read before. When Matt Mikalatos realizes that his longtime buddy in the robe and sandals isn’t the real Jesus at all, but an imaginary one, he embarks on a mission to find the real thing. On his wild ride through time, space, and Portland, Oregon, he encounters hundreds of other Imaginary Jesuses determined to stand in his way (like Legalistic Jesus, Perpetually Angry Jesus, and Magic 8 Ball Jesus). But Matt won’t stop until he finds the real Jesus—and finally gets an answer to the question that’s haunted him for years. Be warned: Imaginary Jesus may bring you face-to-face with an imposter in your own life."

Okay, more to follow on some of my best reads from 2013.

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