Book Review — Forty Days On Being a Five by Morgan Harper Nichols

Forty Days On Being a Five by Morgan Harper Nichols is part of the IVP Book series, Enneagram Daily Reflections. I received a review copy from IVP Books.

I am not an Enneagram enthusiast. The learning I have done in this area has come from my wife and I find it helpful in communicating to others who are truly students of the Enneagram. It has been helpful in communicating to those who really know the Enneagram because I can say, “I’m a 5” and they generally nod in a knowing fashion and say something like, “Oh! That makes sense!” Or, “I didn’t have you pegged there.”

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I had to finish this book at some point…

A Burning in My Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene H. Peterson, Translator of the Message by Winn Collier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book had to come to an end at some point, no matter how long I delayed it. I read small bits. I wrote a lot in my journal. So much of Peterson’s early life was so familiar to my own, growing up in the Assemblies of God. How the Scriptures came alive to him in that seminary class was my story in a Bible college class when I was a junior.

Peterson’s temper. His inner struggles that no one really knew about. His struggle with the church as a whole… and his passionate love for the church all at the same time.

Winn Collier has gifted us with a biography that perfectly captures Peterson’s voice and at the same time it invites us to sit in a comfortable chair and feel like Peterson sits with us. This book deeply moved me.

And, it had to come to an end. I delayed it as long as possible. I mourn moving on from it. Honestly.

Peterson held a place I had hoped I could hold in my own spiritual life: the place of ambiguity. I still have decades to go (the Lord willing) and I have my doubts as to being able to stay in that place of love and ambiguity. Our culture is so explosive and demands too many answers when few answers are to be had.

I pray for the resolve to live in the mystery. The ambiguity. I don’t want to be nailed down any longer on the culture wars junk. I want to love Christ and love others. Even if it is perfectly imperfect, this is where I want to be found.

READ THIS BOOK.



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A Burning In My Bones - By Winn Collier (hardcover) : Target

Book Review: J.I. Packer: His Life and Thought

I can remember years ago Dallas Willard saying, in effect, “One of the great failures of the Church today is the lack of discipleship.”

That comes to mind as I read Alister McGrath’s latest book, J.I. Packer: His Life and Thought. McGrath has a much larger biography on Packer, but this was written as a tribute to Packer on his death earlier this year.

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Book Review: Might from the Margins

I’ve known Dennis Edwards for a few years. He was pastoring a church in North Minneapolis where one of my sons and his wife attended. They raved about Dennis. It was a privilege to visit that church a few times and take in what God was doing in a hard part of town. This church was a shining jewel. Dennis would deliver such depth in his sermons. I was always jotting down some book he would reference in his sermons. They turned out to be DEEP reads… academic studies/theological works, etc.

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Book Review — Simple Faith Bible, Zondervan

A few months ago I purchased the Tony Evans Study Bible (CSB) because I wanted to gain more insight from a great African American pastor I’ve admired for decades. It was wonderful to have a study Bible with his personal notes, reflecting so many years of pastoral and teaching ministry.

When the offer came to review the Simple Faith Bible (NRSV) with notes from President Jimmy Carter, I was intrigued. Carter has famously taught Sunday School in his Baptist church for over 65 years. This Bible draws on his notes, insights, and principles from those years of teaching.

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Book Review: Be Kind to Yourself

Book Review: Be Kind to Yourself by Cindy Bunch

The other day was yet another exercise in mental self-flagellation for me. My mind raced with questions about why I had made certain choices in certain times, why I had not become “awake” in issues around me sooner, etc. It is a regular occurrence in my life.

This particular time I was so frustrated with myself I pulled out a legal pad and simply began writing. It was a brief review of my life as I looked back on what had influenced me. Within minutes I had 9 written pages.

Beating myself up is a too often regular exercise in my life. In this particular moment came the book, Be Kind to Yourself, by Cindy Bunch. In a few short pages I felt amazing relief.

First, I wasn’t alone.

Second, I needed to hear words of kindness that poured over my soul and I learned quickly the best words of kindness will come from the Spirit… and me.

Cindy is a spiritual director and also works for Intervarsity Press. As she was reading another book on spiritual formation, there were some healing words that came to her from that writing and challenged her to reflect more. This book is the result of that reflection.

This book is an exercise based on two questions:

  1. What’s bugging you?
  2. What’s bringing you joy?

Ask these two questions each day for 30 days. She found that asking those two questions helped her look deeply into the negative thought patterns she had about herself or others.

When we ask the first question, we can then hear how we talk about ourselves. I am harsh. But the question causes me to then ask WHY I am harsh. I walk back through the scenario that set me off and ask what I was feeling.

It is a process of learning how to deal with moments in new ways.

Cindy leads the reader in very practical exercises and opens up her own life to the very real struggles. Her goal is to move us to shame-free self-examination.

The book is a refreshing exercise. It is practical. It is real. She gets personal.

This is an exercise to walk through with intentionality… and grace. Walk slowly. Find joy in this journey.

Book Review: Reading While Black

I have come into the Anglican tradition late. I grew up in a Pentecostal church and was a minister in a Pentecostal tradition for 30 years. In the past two years I have transitioned to the Anglican Church and am now seeking transfer of ordination so I may be a vocational deacon on the Anglican Church in North America.

In this transition I have become aware of Esau McCaulley who is an Anglican priest and professor of New Testament at Wheaton College. His newest work is Reading While Black, set to be released September 1 by Intervarsity Press. I am fortunate to get an advanced copy to review.

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Book Review: Soul Care in African American Practice

Soul Care in African American Practice by Barbara Peacock

In the late 90s and early 2000s Renovare released some volumes on spiritual reading that were “workbook” based. One, Spiritual Classics, focused on readings for individuals and groups based on the 12 spiritual disciplines from Richard Foster’s classic, Celebration of Discipline. Another book was Devotional Classics based on Foster’s book, Streams of Living Water. They were designed to take individuals or groups through a slow process of learning from historic spiritual reading combined with Scripture and spiritual formation practices. I still have those volumes on my shelves. They are well-worn.

In that tradition and format comes Barbara Peacock’s book from Intervarsity Press, Soul Care in African American Practice.

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