Merry Christmas, dear readers.
It’s time for you to give to one another! Leave in the comments…
1. All my books were good, from Bartholomew on Ecclesiastes to Keegan on WWII, but the best was Gordon’s bio of Calvin.
2. I gave my father-in-law a copy of “Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns” (I also helped my dad get a Kindle!)
1. “Memorable Women of the Puritan Times” by James Anderson and “Spiritual Desertion” by Gisbertus Voetius and Johannes Hoornbeeck
2. “The Ends of Life: Roads to Fulfilment in Early Modern England” by Keith Thomas (Can you guess who that book was for? :o)
1. Yes, I received “The Ends of Life” by Keith Thomas, and I expect it to be the best book I received this Christmas. Alan Jacobs has repeatedly said it is one of the best books he’s ever read.
2. Sinclair Ferguson’s The Holy Spirit.
1. Didn’t get any; kind of hoped for a Kindle but it didn’t materialize
2. Believer’s Bible Commentary; Holiness for Every Day (Jerry Bridges)
1. No books for Christmas, but my birthday is right around the corner…
2. I gave 3 bookmarks (crocheted by me) to young readers in the family.
1. Got two; haven’t read them yet.
2. Gave one; hadn’t read it either.
3. But how about an extended quote from the best one I’m reading this Christmas?
“Jesus is the center, the focal point, of the Christian faith. But it’s odd how averse we Christians can be to studying and defining a clear ‘doctrine’ of Jesus. That just doesn’t seem relational. We don’t want to study Jesus. We want to experience him.
“I see this tendency in my own life. What I think about Jesus, I’m not inclined to ask, ‘What truth does the Bible tell me about Jesus? What does Jesus want me to think and believe about him?’ Instead I’m more inclined to try to work my way into a certain emotional state. To ‘feel’ a certain way about Jesus.
“I’m not even sure how to describe the feeling that I believe I should have about Jesus. All I know is that I want a really deep and meaningful feeling. I want something to wash over me. I wouldn’t even mind crying. Actually crying is good. The feeling I’m after definitely needs to be passionate and profound. A touch of melancholy works too. Sad and austere feel very spiritual. I want to feel like Jesus is my closest friend, like we could hang out. I want to feel that he likes me—my tastes, my sensibilities, my music, my food. I want a deep bond—the kind that doesn’t even need words to communicate.
“Putting all my desired ‘Jesus feelings’ into words makes me sound like an emotional seventh-grade girl about to leave summer camp. That is not good.
“I think many Christians are more interested in chasing a feeling about Jesus than pursuing Jesus himself and reviewing and thinking about the truth of who he is.
“The irony of this feeling-driven approach to Jesus is that ultimately it produces the opposite of what we actually want. Deep emotion in response to Jesus isn’t wrong. It can be good. But to find it, we need more than imagination and introspection.
“One of the most valuable lessons . . . about the Christian spiritual life is that if you want to feel deeply, you have to think deeply. Too often we separate the two. We assume that if we want to feel deeply, then we need to sit around and, well, feel.
“But emotion built on emotion is empty. True emotion—emotion that is reliable and doesn’t lead us astray—is always a response to reality, to truth. It’s only as we study and consider truth about Jesus with our minds that our hearts will be moved by the depth of his greatness and love for us. When we engage our minds with the doctrine of his person and his work, our emotions are given something to stand on, a reason to worship and revel in the very appropriate feelings of awe and gratefulness and adoration.
“Knowing Jesus and feeling right emotions about him start with thinking about the truth of who he is and what he’s done. Jesus never asks us how we feel about him. He calls us to believe in him, to trust in him. The question he asked his disciples is the same one he confronts us with: ‘Who do you say that I am?’ The real questions when it comes to Jesus are, Do you believe he is who he says he is? Do you believe he’s done what he said he came to do?”
—Josh Harris, Dug Down Deep, pp. 85–86
1. A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada by Mark Noll
2. The Theological Messages of the Old Testament Books by Robert Bell
Duncan’s # 2 he gave to me! Which is my #1. I have loved Dr. Bell since my first class with him. Never could get all those true/false questions right. He certainly taught us to read very discerningly.
Until I opened that book, the best one I had going was probably “Great Moments in Pro Hockey”, but that’s probably not the category you were thinking of.
The best book I gave, I think, is Romans Verse by Verse by William R. Newell.
1. Thankful for my new Kindle!
2. David McCullough, John Adams.
1. I think my favorite is The Art of Toy Story 3 by Charles Solomon.
2. I think the best ones I gave were (a) Crossway’s new edition of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening and (b) Outliers by Malcom Gladwell.
Look forward to seeing you again in a few days!
1. I got a Kindle! (So technically not a book, but pretty awesome, I think 🙂 )
2. I gave Complete in Him (Michael Barrett) to my brother for Christmas.