Saturday, December 12, 2009

John's December Reading

Currently Reading:

My Soul Magnifies the Lord: Meditations on the meaning of Christmas by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

This book consists of four expositions on the Magnificat - Mary's song in Luke 1. I've been reading one chapter in each Sunday of Advent.

Powers by John B. Olson

I received a copy of this as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewers scheme. Stay tuned for the full-length review coming soon.

Science and Christianity: Four Views edited by Richard F. Carlson

This book is published by IVP, in apparent imitation of Zondervan's Counterpoints series. I'm reading this in preparation for a workshop I will be running at PYV Summer Camp on "Can I be a Christian and believe in science?"

The Faithful Sayings in the Pastoral Letters by George W. Knight III

I am in the middle of a series on the faithful sayings in the Aspendale evening services. Five times in the pastoral epistles (I & II Timothy and Titus), Paul says "this is a faithful [or, "trustworthy"] saying. The first one in particular is a great Christmas text: "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief," (1 Timothy 1:15)

Finished Recently:

The Path to Rome by Hilaire Belloc

Rather than being the story of Belloc's conversion (he was a life-long Catholic), this is a travel book, written in 1902. Read the book online here.

Belloc undertakes to walk from Toul (in France) to Rome. He does end up cheating, however - twice he catches a train, and twice he hitches a ride on a cart. Here is a Google map of Belloc's trip - I would love to follow in his footsteps one day. By car, of course - it's a 22 hour trip:

Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom

This is the sequel to Dissolution, which I read on my honeymoon. There are currently four books in this series of historical mystery novels, featuring a hunchbacked lawyer as the hero. "Dark Fire" is another name for Greek fire, the long-lost formula of which, in the book, has apparently been rediscovered.

Bound for Glory: A Practical Handbook for Raising a Victorious Family by R. C. Sproul, Jr.

This is the fourth and probably the best book I've read by R. C. Sproul Jr. This has some challenging things to say about Christian family life - and although I have read a fair bit on this subject, I found much in the book that I hadn't thought about before. For example, Sproul argues that a church Session can function as a sort of "court of appeal" for a wife (p. 93):
My wife and I have a dispute. We are not agreeing. I am asking her to do something she doesn't think we ought to be doing. So she goes to court. The court she comes to however, is the church, not the state. That I am not Jesus is painfully apparent. But here, in a church that is willing to exercise discipline and recognizes its rightful calling in these circumstances, she has protection.
The Old Church Book by Robin Langley Summer

This is coffee table book of churches in North America. Although it was a bit frustrating that not all the churches discussed were pictured, I was particularly interested in what it said about revival styles (Greek, Gothic, Romanesque), since they are also to be found in Australia. So, for example, when Kara and I visited Hobart last month, we saw St George's, Battery Point (left) whose pillars are clearly Greek revival. Notice the (architectural!) similarities to the United First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachusetts (right) which is one of the churches featured in the book:

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