Worth Checking Out, Part 2: Books, Blogs and Podcasts

Last week I highlighted apps for your smartphone that I pray will make your phone more of a positive distraction. This week I’d like to hone in on books I’ve read/am reading (and have mentioned in sermons), a podcast I like, and a blog I find helpful. I hope that you find them helpful, too. (If you’d like to check any of the books below before purchasing, please note that they can also be found in our church library, the “prayer chapel” near the work room and church office.)

Sculptor Spirit: Models of Sanctification from Spirit Christology by Leopoldo A. Sanchez (IVP Academic) Dr. Sanchez, professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, has authored a book that is sure to invigorate the understanding and application of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Lutherans and other Christians today. If you found the five models of the Holy Spirit’s work that I discussed in my sermon series last month thought-provoking, you’ll want to check this book out. Dr. Sanchez’s presentation at the Southeastern District Professional Church Workers Conference was what got me started. The book is available in paperback ($15.46) and Kindle e-book ($6.99) formats.

Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What to Do About It by David Zahl (Fortress) This was a book I discovered in a Christianity Today review back in May that our men’s group is currently discussing over breakfast at Linda’s Cafe every first and third Monday (you can join us, at 6:30 AM). Zahl humorously deflates the SBNR (“spiritual but not religious”) ideology by showing just how much religious fanaticism surrounds even our most ordinary and “secular” life pursuits. But (spoiler alert) even regular, church-going Christians aren’t immune to his critique! In the end, this book is a celebration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Available in hard cover ($18.64) and Kindle e-book ($13.99) formats.

Between the Swastika and the Sickle: The Life, Disappearance, and Execution of Ernst Lohmeyer by James R. Edwards (Eerdmans). I’m a biography fanatic and this story about the 20th-century martyrdom of a man whose research I’ve benefited from but whose life story I never knew has me captivated! If you’d like to learn more about people whose faith changed them and the world around them, you’ll be blessed in the reading of it. It’s available in hard cover ($29.36) and Kindle e-book ($27.89) formats.

A thought-provoking blog that I receive regularly that I think most people reading THIS blog will enjoy is Dr. Gene Veith’s blog, called “Cranach.” Dr. Veith is the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary at Ft. Wayne, Indiana and previously served as Professor of English and Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences at Concordia University Wisconsin. He describes his blog like this: “Lucas Cranach was the great artist of the Reformation. He was a close friend of Martin Luther. He was a businessman, who first printed Luther’s translation of the Bible; a politician, who served on the Wittenberg town council and served the city as its mayor…and an active layman in his church, who gave his pastors important personal and material support….As a Christian who lived out his faith in his many different callings, Cranach thus embodies the Reformation doctrine of vocation, using the gifts God had given him in service to Christ and his neighbor in the church, the family, the workplace, and the culture. In the spirit of Lucas Cranach, this blog will discuss wide-ranging issues of Christianity and culture with a Lutheran twist.” You can access it and sign up for regular newsletters by clicking here.

Finally, a podcast that was recently suggested to me by two separate friends (that I’ve finally managed to tune in to) is entitled “The Bible for Normal People,” hosted by Peter Ens and Jared Byas. While I don’t always agree with the positions of the guests on this show (and sometimes the subject matter is a little challenging), the discussions on the podcast are almost always thought-provoking and get me outside my comfort zone in thinking more deeply about the Bible. It’s especially good for long drives in the car, once you’ve already listened to your daily “Dwell” reading (see last week’s blog)! You can access it online by clicking here and search for it by name from your favorite podcast app.

Let us know if there are other books, blogs, and podcasts that you enjoy and we’ll get the word out!