From time to time I want to give you some insight into what I'm thinking and what's shaping my thinking by giving you suggestions about something to read, something to hear, something to learn, and someone to follow.
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance
The author begins his book by acknowledging that it might be presumptuous for one so young to be writing a memoir, but everyone who reads the book will be glad he didn't wait any longer to publish it.
It's not really so much a memoir as it is an immensely insightful and sympathetic window into a huge, but largely voiceless, swath of America as told through the experiences of one man.
I read the book in one day and cried at a number of places in the narrative.
A word of warning: there is a lot of profanity in the dialogue that he records. It's undoubtedly authentic, but it can make for a very uncomfortable reading experience.
And his insights into the intersection of the Christian faith and the subculture he came from are fascinating and challenging, but they can also feel like an indictment. It's a little hard to read portions of the booking without feeling defensive.
Giants & Pilgrims
The husband and wife team of Betony and Tim Coons are Giants & Pilgrims. Their two albums are full of thoughtful and moving songs that deal with life and faith. I love the music, and the lyrics are worthy of the effort you put into listening. And if you like the music you need to go to their website and follow the blog for the benefit of their artwork.
Thriving in Babylon, Larry Osborne
In this training post on RightNow Media, Larry Osborne uses the life of Daniel to help us see the many ways in which our life as believers can actually thrive in what seems like an increasingly hostile setting. Watch the 37 minute video of excellent biblical teaching and answer the questions.
And if you have not yet signed up for RightNow Media why haven't you. Furnace Brook has a subscription so that the library of thousands of hours of excellent Bible material (think the Netflix of Christian faith formation) will be available to the people of Furnace Brook for free. Sign up today!
Thom Rainer, President LifeWay International
In addition to being the head of LifeWay International, Thom Rainer is the author of several indispensable books. But I would encourage you to follow him on twitter and facebook because he does a great job of providing advice to the church that manages to be helpfully applicable and saturated in biblical wisdom at the same time. I never have to regret the time I spend paying attention to him.
And his self-effacing humor makes him even more appealing.
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church Blog