Asset Based Community Development, When People Care Enough to Act by Mike Green -
This is a book that explains what the authors consider to be a new way of community organizing. The central thrust is to approach a community to discover what the community cares enough about to act upon, as opposed to coming in with solutions and programs. It mirrors the idea of Gift Oriented ministry that we strive for at Lynwood.
Pop Goes the Weasel: The Secret Meanings of Nursery Rhymes by Albert Jack – Simply a fun reference book that explains the origins (or speculation of origins) of various nursery rhymes. Have you ever wondered who Georgie Porgie was, or what was with Old Mother Hubbard. A fun read!
The Confessions by Augustine of Hippo — Another of my top ten books of all time. I need to reread at least one each year.
Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters by Dick Staub — Someone knew I was a Star Wars fan, and a fan of Jesus so why not by me a book the mixes the two. It is kind of a fun attempt at being devotional, discipleship literature by using the Jedi as a metaphor for understanding our relationship with God. Kind of fun, but you better be a real Star Wars nerd before picking it up. I don’t mean the “You-are-going-to-work-for-me-one-day” type nerd, but more like “I-live-in-my-parents’-basement-and-have-no-job” type nerd.
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich — After reading Scratch Beginnings last year, someone loaned me this book (Hi, Dave!) recommending it. A much different premise, this journalist simply tries out living a working poor’s life for a month at a time over a number of chapters. Very well written, and elucidating. However, after reading Scratch Beginnings it didn’t seem to me that she gave it much of a shot. I also take exception to her snide comments on the revival meeting she attends, and yet barely notes the faith of the “Real-Life” model of one who worked her way out of poverty.
Buddhism and Asian History edited by J.M. Kitagawa and M.D. Cummings — This was a book back from my freshmen year of college when I took Buddhism from Robert Thurman. It is a great book with many chapters on the huge variety of Buddhist history and thought. I particularly liked the chapter on Buddhist Iconography, since I always wondered what the fat little buddha statues were about. I started reading this book (and the next two) in preperation for a talk I was going to give on Buddhism to a World Religions class.
Buddhism In Translations by H.C. Warren — Mainly a collection of some of the most basic Theravadan Buddhist texts in english. Nothing like a bit of original research (in my native tongue anyway). If you thought the Bible had some wierd parts, check out the Buddhist ideas.
The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti: A Mahayana Scripture by Robert A. F. Thurman — A text we had to read in Thurman’s Buddhism class (of course). Again, Buddhist scripture for one of the largest branches of Buddhism the Mahayana branch. I don’t necessarily recommend any of these books but I tell you, I really enjoyed reading more about Buddhism. While I don’t believe any of it (duh) I really enjoy knowing more. Probably not much call for Christian Buddhist apolegetics, but certainly worth reading for a month or so.
Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches From Growing: How Leaders Can Overcome Costly Mistakes by Geoff Surratt — A recommendation made by the same person who recommended Breakout Churches last year. This has been a fantastic read. It isn’t really that any of the “Ten Mistakes” were new to me, but I really found his stratightforward advice on how to avoid them refreshing. No empty platitudes, just straight talk on some important issues. His writing contains enough humor to keep you drawn in. A quick read, and a definite recommendation for anyone who cares about their church (growing or otherwise).
Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America by Helen Thrope– A very well written journalist’s perspective following four Mexican immigrants (two of which are here illegally). A fascinating insiders look at the lives of those who are very much in the news. I don’t reccomend it as a book to change your mind, or worse, reinforce your already held beliefs. However, it is a very human and compelling story. Worth the read.
Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity…and Why it Matters by Kinnman and Lyons — Wow! Just looking at survey responses and delving deeply into how we as Christians can respond. The central thesis is that Christians have a reputation problem that must be addressed, especially among those between the ages of 18-39. Fantastic read.
Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Patterson, Grenny, et. al. — An amazing book on the process needed to move from what is to what could be. I don’t know how to summarize the book, since every word seems to be so great in terms of helping people influence change. This is not a set of principals to manipulate people to get what you want, it is really a matter of taking ownership of the things you can do to help make positive change. Now if I could just figure out how to make everyone love Jesus .
Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Ever Before. By Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. –Another “Wow!” I picked up this book since someone mentioned it at a recent conference. This book is amazing and disturbing. It compares the attitudes and behaviors of those born from 1970-2000 to generations before. Some of the findings are stunning. Take for example the increase in self esteem that borders on narcissism. This generation has definitely bought the tripe they have been sold: they are super special. This has the effect of diminishing their drive and inhibiting their relationships. The author also covers topics such as anxiety, sexual behaviors, and social tolerance. A huge recommended read for anyone who cares about those in this age group.