Want to read with me?

Here’s what I hope to read and reflect on before the end of 2011.  So come join the conversation and weigh in about these thoughtful books.  We’ll have fun ringing in the new year with some spiritual mind stretching.


Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

By Henri J. M. Nouwen

Initially written for a Jewish friend, Life of the Beloved has become Henri Nouwen’s greatest legacy to Christians around the world. This sincere testimony of the power and invitation of Christ is indeed a great guide to a truly uplifting spiritual life in today’s world.





The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

by Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, addresses the frequent doubts that skeptics and non-believers bring to religion. Using literature, philosophy, anthropology, pop culture, and intellectual reasoning, Keller explains how the belief in a Christian God is, in fact, a sound and rational one. To true believers he offers a solid platform on which to stand against the backlash toward religion spawned by the Age of Skepticism. And to skeptics, atheists, and agnostics he provides a challenging argument for pursuing the reason for God.



  1. Yeah, I got beat-up a lot for that in grade school. It comes from a psychologically unstable need to cross things off of lists. Also, I’m a musician. I need to get a real job.

  2. Thanks Jamie. You are the student, up front, hand raised, engaging in life full tilt. I disappoint with my slow schedule (not to mention I forgot to tell you my schedule). I cannot wait to re-post these thoughts and weigh in.

  3. I’ve finished the Nouwen now. When? Now. I kill myself.

    This is a nice combination of books to read for the struggling believer or the non-believer. I’ve already talked about the Keller – pretty in-depth with an indelible image of the triune god swirling around itself in the heavens. I found the Nouwen really off-putting at the beginning. In his chapter on “taken” or later defined as “chosen”, he flips the meaning of the word on its ear. A sneaky trick. If every one is chosen, then no one is really chosen, in my opinion.

    But Nouwen makes great points in the subsequent chapters. I was particularly moved by the chapter on Blessings. I have found myself going around, taking my friends heads into my hands, and giving them blessings, to good effect. The world definitely needs more of this. But not namby-pamby blessings. We need the real thing. Honest. I believe Nouwen does a great job defining this need and then demonstrating.

    The chapters on being Broken and Given were also quite good. The big problem with the book, quasi-acknowledged in the epilogue, is that it provides little argument for a belief in a god, much less in Christ Jesus as a personal savior. All of the “teachings” of the book can be put to great use by someone with no religious beliefs at all. So, in the end, it’s just another book about loving your neighbor. Telling us, once again, it’s in the giving, not the taking, that we find happiness, and maybe even god. But this could be any god.

    I’m not complaining. It’s a nice, light read, and I found myself re-reading a good portion of it, due to its insights. But if you are looking for a book to give to your atheist or secular friend to describe the spiritual life, Keller does a better job convincing us that the only true god out there is the triune god. Nouwen’s god is us.

  4. The Keller is great – well-written, smart, digestible. I was almost converted a couple of times. I’ll be sure to read the Nouwen!

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