Saturday, October 28, 2006

About books

As I've surfed the "blogosphere", more than once I came across this set of questions concerning one's reading, with which people have been "tagged" for their responses. No one "tagged" me, but I'm going to answer them, anyhow.
One book that changed your life: The Pleasures of God, by John Piper. Most readers of Piper would probably point to Desiring God, but I started with this book and was hooked. It was through The Pleasures of God that I was introduced to "Christian Hedonism". It was also this book which, probably more than anything else outside the Bible, helped push me all the way over into the Calvinist camp.

One book you've read more than once: Unfortunately, I don't get around to reading books twice. There are just too many I'd simply be glad to read once, if possible. I would like to read Piper's Desiring God and The Pleasures of God again (next time, in the correct order). Knowing God, by J.I. Packer and John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress are also well worth my reading again.

One book you'd want on a desert island, besides the Bible: Just one book?! Because it is so full of biblical content, I think I'd choose The Pleasures of God (My choice might change by the end of the year but, as of today, that would be my choice).

One book that made you laugh: The Gospel Sound by Anthony Heilbut. His descriptions of the gospel music experience in the Black Church are hilarious, if you've been there and witnessed "my people" in action. Now that I think about it, there is this scene in Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison (which I read some 20+ years ago), replete with profanity, that made me laugh to the point of tears. I'm not endorsing profanity, but I grew up hearing so much of that it was very easy to picture Ellison's characters in my mind. And they "cracked me up".

One book that made you cry: I drew a blank here. Lots of things make me tear up (my own posts have caused me to tear up). It's really hard for me to narrow it down to a particular book. Every good Christian book makes me cry at least once. Sorry.

One book you wish had been written: Any biography of a truly godly Black preacher of the past. I have few biographies of Black preachers. Most of them fail to probe the spiritual side of the person in any meaningful way (and a couple of those I have that do, reveal a person that may not have been a true believer). The best two I have are the autobiographies of Richard Allen (1760-1831) and Daniel Alexander Payne (1811-1893). From their own words, I judge these men to have been faithful followers of Christ. How much have you read about them? Not much, I'm guessing. It's nice to know about Martin Luther, John Calvin, John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards and the like, but it would mean so much to read a well-written, Christian biography about a godly Black preacher of the past. I sure would appreciate having more Black role models, and I know it would be helpful to have Black Christian role models to which I could point young Black people, other than politicians, civil rights leaders and athletes.

One book you wish had never been written: I can't stop with just one. I honestly believe the Church could do without the whole Left Behind series, every book written by John Shelby Spong, any book by any member of the "Jesus Seminar" (Marcus Borg, et al.), anything by a health/prosperity/faith preacher (e.g., Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Juanita Bynum, Fred Price, Kenneth Copeland, Bill Winston, etc.), and any book promoting "Open Theism", the "Emergent Church" or the "Seeker-Sensitive" movement.

One book that you are currently reading: I just bought it today! Overcoming Sin & Temptation: Three Classic Works by John Owen, edited by Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor. It's supposed to be a more accessible edition of John Owen's works, Of the Mortification of Sin, Of Temptation: The Nature and Power of It and Indwelling Sin. I'm looking forward to diving in, starting today. Pray for me that I hold out to the end!

One book that you've been meaning to read: I just finished two of them within the past month: The Life of God in the Soul of Man by the Rev. Henry Scougal (1650-1678), and A Hunger for God, by John Piper. I've had Scougal's book for 10 years and just got around to reading it last month, and I've had Piper's for 5 years. They were both well worth the wait.
Now, it's your turn!

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