1st Quarter Reading

Here are my entries from my reading in the first quarter of the year. One of my goals this year is to read 36 books. I'm well on my way because I have been reading 50-55 pages per day.




862. Smart Baseball, Keith Law. 1/1/22 * * * * (A book about baseball and analytics. He explains how old stats like RBI are unhelpful or wrong, He describes what new statistics are and how they work. This is awesome. He's a good writer. The emphasis on data and programming makes this a book about the modern world and how statistics and analysis are changing everything.)




863. Comfort the Grieving, Paul Tautges. 1/5/22 * * (I love this series, but this book was not very good. The book Visit the Sick was much more helpful on the grieving process and Conduct Gospel-Centered Funerals was much better. This was lot of tone-deaf pastoring advice along with a long checklist of work to do with those who grieve.)




864. The Disappearing Spoon, Sam Kean. 1/27/22 * * * * (I liked this book on the stories behind the elements on the periodic table of elements. Kean is an engaging writer and explains things really well. I don’t have much knowledge of chemistry, and I could follow his explanations. It made me curious about chemistry. Audiobook.)




865. Empire of Pain, Patrick Radden Keefe. 1/28/22 * * * * (The story of Oxycontin and the Sackler family is one of the most important stories of our time. This book is great. It looks at the family behind Purdue Pharma. I checked the endnotes regularly because the story felt made-up. I couldn’t believe people would do these things and then do those things again and again.)




866. The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Iain H. Murray. 1/29/22 * * * * (I admire and resonate so much with what I knew of MLJ that I thought I should learn more about the man. I loved this book. This is a shortened version of the two volume one Murray did first; he said that he mainly removed a lot of extended quotations. This was still over 400 pages. This book encouraged me a lot because living through World War One as a young man and then pastoring through World War Two has a lot of similarities to living in and pastoring in these times. Our current challenges within the church--and as a local church pastor-- and in our culture are very similar to the challenges he lived through.)




867. The Cubs Way, Tom Verducci. 2/4/22 * * * (I wanted to understand how Theo Epstein built the Chicago Cubs with advanced statistics to win the World Series. This book didn’t address that much and felt like a hurried look mostly at the manager, Joe Maddon. In the final paragraph of the acknowledgements, Verducci says he wrote it inthe  two months after the Cubs’ win. That lack of perspective shows.)




868. The Plan, David Kaplan. 2/11/22 * * * (I liked this book on the Cub’s 2016 build and championship better than the one by Tom Verducci.)




869. All Creatures Great and Small, James Herriot. 2/15/22 * * * * * (This is so excellent--perfect for bedtime reading. It is a warm memoir of being a vet in the early part of the 20th Century in the North of England. The best thing is that it made me see and feel the places. It is hilariously  funny too! I ignored this book growing up because it seemed sappy and boring. It is anything but boring or sappy.)




870. The Pastor: A Memior, Eugene H. Peterson. 2/23/22 * * * * (I reread this. This is a memoir of Peterson’s life as a pastor. I read this years ago before I became a real pastor. Our theologies are quite different, but I appreciate that we see the world and the problem of the church in similar ways. Our remedies are different, but he helps me see some of the shortcominings of the American church and culture.)




871. The Good Who Goes Before You, Michael S. Wilder and Timothy Paul Jones. 2/23/22 * * * (This reads like the lecture notes from a class on pastoral leadership. As I read leadership books, this is the best on pastoral leadership from a biblical perspective. Their main point is that pastoral leadership means following Jesus and being a brother and shepherd to the church that God leads. Most leadership books that I’ve read are not about following Jesus but about getting things done. This grounds pastoring in the identity of a shepherd, and it gives me confidence and patience. It is hard to read though; it isn’t well-written and has too many charts and diagrams to be easy to read.. I had to move from reading line-by-line to x-raying sections to find the main points. Then I restated the point of the passage.. That is why I say it reads like lecture notes. I traveled in Indonesia for a couple of classes with Dr. Wilder when I was in seminary.)




872. Area 51, Annie Jacobson. 2/24/22 * * * (Audiobook. This was a lot more measured than I thought it might be. I didn't want a conspiracy theory book and have read Jacobson before. She didn't disappoint, and it was a mostly a military technology book.)




873. Total Power, Kyle Mills. 2/24/22 * * (I like Mill’s plots and writing, but Mitch Rapp is quite cruel in this book. I don’t remember him being so cruel. That reminds me why I like Daniel Silver more. This is like the book equivalent of junk food--military/spy fantasy.)




874. Enemy at the Gates, Kyle Mills. 3/6/22 * * (The book is fun, and I enjoy the series. I didn’t care for this installment in Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp series. The main plot conflict didn’t reveal itself until late in the book, and I didn’t care for the way the book finished.)




875. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen. 3/8/22 * * * (I enjoyed this and found it suspenseful. It’s not as good as Austen’s other more famous novels, though.)




876. The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age, David Sanger. 3/13/22 * * * (Audiobook. This was an interesting look at cyberwarfare, warfare, and hacking. It was odd because so much of it referenced Russia and Ukraine in a different context than the current war. It shows that the current war is a continuation of conflict between them.)




877. Irresistable, Andy Stanley. 3/17/22 * * (This is an expansion of Deep and Wide. I read it to understand the current controversies around Stanley and his teaching. I think he is being more shock-jock than serious with his language. He is basically arguing two things: there is much discontinuity between Israel and the church and thus the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, and there is a lot of bad hermeneutics in the church that interprets the Bible badly and drives people from the faith. Then he uses those two arguments against the New Atheists, people leaving Christianity, or people never considering Christianity in the first place. He argues for a certain way of speaking about the Old and New Testaments--covenants--to persuade people to consider and then follow Jesus based on the resurrection of Jesus. The problem I see is that his shock-jock language about Scripture undercuts the church and what he is trying to do to persuade people to consider Jesus’ claims. His context in Georgia is what he is speaking to and since I grew up in Georgia, I understand a bit of what he faces. I think his language creates more room and gives more permission for people to leave the faith than it does to open wide the invitation of Jesus. I prefer Tim Keller’s use of apologetics and the  resurrection than Stanley’s.)




878. Power Ball, Rob Neyer. 3/20/22       * * * * (This was the baseball book that I wanted to read. It was a book examining all the modern baseball trends by looking at one game. Neyer calls it Postmodern Baseball, and describes all the ways that it has changed, is changing, and needs to change. This was the fourth baseball book I read this year, and it along with Smart Baseball are the books to read.)




879. My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok. 3/27/22 * * * * (I loved this in college and wanted to return to it and see if it has grown with me. I enjoyed it and see more depth in it, but I don’t know why I loved it as one of my favorite books. That sounds like I am down on it, but I’m not. I enjoyed it so much; just not as much as I did the first time.)




880. The Doctrine of God, John Frame. 3/31/22 * * * (I liked this less than I expected. The order of the book was jumbled, and I didn’t care for it. The length also allowed him to ramble and interact with theologians that I didn’t care about or see relevant. I prefer his Systematic Theology because he was required to be briefer. The first 200 pages are still the best part of this book.)


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