Book Recommendations

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1. The Hierarchy of Heaven & Earth by D. E. Harding. A profoundly insightful look into the nature of reality; difficult but rewarding. It'll knock your socks off! Here's an excerpt: "Moreover the perfection of the Whole is, by itself, a kind of limitation: for notoriously goodness loses much when it is too obvious,and he is not wise who is only wise, and beauty gains by being hid. If our most compelling intuitions are any guide here, then the greatest and best is also the humblest; and the wisest has childlike simplicity; and the most beautiful (if it is to escape mere prettiness) cannot spare the discord of which it is the resolution. In short, the perfection of the highest requires that it becomes also the lowest."

2.The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions by David Berlinski. “The attack on traditional religious thought,” writes Berlinski, “marks the consolidation in our time of science as the single system of belief in which rational men and women might place their faith, and if not their faith, then certainly their devotion.”

3. Journey to and through the Second Death by Phil Scranton "...begins the study where it should-with the first death. Bible believers hold widely diverse opinions on the first death, so a solid biblical definition of death is established before inquiries into the second death are presented. Technical issues are addressed in common language. This study has two goals. First it seeks to bring the discussion of many unanswered and shadowy questions from the back of the mind to discussion and resolution. Where are the dead? Are they conscious? Is the second death a repetition of the first death? Is the lake of fire literal fire? Can spiritual beings be tormented by literal fire? Why is the lake of fire not named the second death until the great white throne judgment? The second goal of this study is to bring the reader to the apostle John's perspective. What did John see, and what do the things he saw mean?"

4.Most Moved Mover: A Theology of God's Openness by Clark H. Pinnock. "In 1994, Clark Pinnock along with four other scholars published The Openness of God, which set out a new evangelical vision of God centered on his open, relational, and responsive love for creation. Since then, dozens of books and articles have been written to discuss the open view of God. It has become a major subject of debate within the Evan... more »gelical Theological Society, and Christianity Today has called for ongoing study of the subject by both classical theists and openness theologians. Now Pinnock, in an effort to continue ongoing conversation, returns with Most Moved Mover to defend the open view of God against criticism. Most Moved Mover, the most passionate and articulate defense of openness theology to date, begins with an analysis of the heated debate sparked by the publication of The Openness of God. Pinnock then clears up misconceptions about openness theology, points out areas of agreement between classical and openness theologians, and lays the groundwork for future discussions. From an insider's perspective, Pinnock takes readers deep into the openness debate that is shaking the evangelical movement, detailing reactions and replies from thinkers as diverse as Millard Erickson, Greg Boyd, and John Polkinghorne. Most Moved Mover is sure to inform all evangelicals, regardless of their viewpoint, of the latest developments concerning the open view of God movement. It will be required reading in the academy and for church leaders who want to keep current with the ongoing evangelical debate about God's nature and attributes."

5.The God Who Risks by John Sanders. "If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, can he in any way be vulnerable to his creation? Can God be in control of anything at all if he is not constantly in control of everything? John Sanders says yes to both of these questions. In The God Who Risks, he mounts a careful and challenging argument for positive answers to both of these profound theological questions. ...Sanders clarifies his position and responds to his critics. His book will not only contribute to serious ongoing theological discussion but will enlighten pastors and lay persons who struggle with questions about suffering, evil and human free will."

6. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig "... Plot Summary - a narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, the book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions of how to live. The narrator's relationship with his son leads to a powerful self-reckoning; the craft of motorcycle maintenance leads to an austerely beautiful process for reconciling science, religion, and humanism." Unsubstantiated rumor has it that this is the book that inspired Rick Farwell to take up motorcycling.

7. The Three Stigmata of Martin Zender IV, by S.M. Tubebacher. It's the 22nd Century and the churches are almost all gone, but the latest manifestation of Martin Zender (Jeremiah Coltrain in real life) has not one but three crosses to bear: the Lake of Chocolate, Free Bill, and the Myrtle Beach Shag. "Yes, things have gotten a little confusing in the 22nd century, but Tubebacher manages to make sense of it all as he takes an idea or two from Philip K. Dick in this exciting page turner chronicling theological warfare and middle age dancing."

8. I and Thou by Martin Buber. "... Buber offers us a Jewish insight into the I-Thou relationship. After our redemption from Egypt, we as a people encountered God. We were available and open, and the Sinai moment was an I-Thou relationship for an entire people and for each individual. The Torah, the prophets, and our rabbinic texts were all written by humans expressing the I-Thou relationship with the Eternal Thou. By reading those texts and being available to the relationship inherent in them, it is also possible for us to make ourselves available for the I-Thou experience with the Eternal Thou. We must come without precondition, without expectation because that would already attempt to limit our relationship partner, God, and thus create an I-It moment. If we try to analyze the text, we again create an I-It relationship because analysis places ourselves outside of the dialogue, as an observer and not a total participant."

9. Twaddletheology by S.M. Tubebacher. A lot of hot air has been escaping into the atmosphere but it has nothing to do with carbon dioxide emissions. The God Does Everything crowd is back up to its old antics making pretentious and grandiose but essentially meaningless statements at about a mile a minute. But in this little book, S.M. stops them in their tracks and simply asks, “Where were you when the world was made?” It’s a question they’re still trying to answer.

10. Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies by David Bentley Hart. "Hart outlines how Christianity transformed the ancient world in ways we may have forgotten: bringing liberation from fatalism, conferring great dignity on human beings, subverting the cruelest aspects of pagan society, and elevating charity above all virtues. He then argues that what we term the 'Age of Reason' was in fact the beginning of the eclipse of reason’s authority as a cultural value. Hart closes the book in the present, delineating the ominous consequences of the decline of Christendom in a culture that is built upon its moral and spiritual values."

11. From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Present by Jacques Barzun. "In this account, Barzun describes what Western Man wrought from the Renaisance and Reformation down to the present in the double light of its own time and our pressing concerns. He introduces characters and incidents with his unusual literary style and grace, bringing to the fore those that have 'Puritans as Democrats', 'The Monarch's Revolution', 'The Artist Prophet and Jester' -- show the recurrent role of great themes throughout the eras."

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