Books Read in 2019

Don’t know where I got this photo from, but it makes me chuckle.

Each year, I keep a tally of the books I read. It started years ago with my brother, Steve, when we both tried to read a book a week. Since then, I tend to get close to about a book a week, but not so much this year. All is well, though, because I think the content of the books chosen this year was pretty good. Take a look at the books, and my brief thoughts on each. Cheers.

  1. It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried – Easy and fun read. Has a number of quite good advice to implement. Good for anyone who is looking to simplify and de-stress their work. 4/5
  2. Mindful Silence: The Heart of Christian Contemplation by Phileena Huertz – I want to meet Phileena. Contemplative Christianity is my jam. Filled with good stories and great reflections born out of contemplative spirituality. 5/5
  3. Conversational Theology: Essays on Ecumenical, Postliberal and Political Theology by George Hunsinger – I had Dr. Hunsinger as a professor. This is an interesting collection of essays. Very thought provoking, especially if you are interested in Barth studies. 5/5
  4. Letters to the Church by Francis Chan – First I’ve ever read from him. Some of his critiques are spot on about mega-church culture and even small-church culture. Meant for the average church going person, easy read. 4/5
  5. The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For and Believe by Richard Rohr – Rohr is great. Contemplative Catholicism at its distilled best. This is a whole book devoted to exploring the phrase, “Jesus, the Christ.” 5/5
  6. Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change by Don Edward Beck – Everyone needs to read this. Growth hierarchies are under appreciated. This is a game changer, a very cool assessment of worldview development. Everyone in leadership needs to read this. 5/5
  7. Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram: A Handbook for Harmony and Transformation by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun – A decent side read for the Enneagram. Tries to make it pretty accessible for the skeptical protestant, for the most part, it does. I can’t say this necessarily goes into super new ground, but it does reinforce everyone’s need to equally use their heart, mind and gut in their life. 4/5
  8. Teilhard de Chardin – The Divine Milieu Explained: A Spirituality for the 21st Century by Louis M. Savory – Teilhard is great. Despite the fact that reading primary texts is better, this was a decent interpretation of The Divine Milieu. Get this if The Divine Milieu confused you. 5/5
  9. The Heart of the World: An Introduction to Contemplative Christianity by Thomas Keating – A small, short read, but VERY good. Just stop and go add this to your Amazon checklist. Its totally worth it. 5/5
  10. Jung: A Very Short Introduction by Anthony Stevens – I like reading about archetypes. Jungian psychology is highly symbolic, and it would probably behoove us to stop being so dang literal all the time and start being at least a little more symbolic. 5/5
  11. Aion by C.G. Jung – I like reading about the Shadow self. I thought this started great, the end kind of lost me, but still good. 4/5
  12. Psychology and Spiritual Formation in Dialogue: Moral and Spiritual Change in Christian Perspective edited by Thomas M. Crisp – A little disappointed by this. I felt as though it felt the need to tow the evangelical line and not really dive into contemplative spirituality as much as I would have liked. But then again, evangelicalism has a strong reaction against mysticism. 3/5
  13. The Liberating Path of the Hebrew Prophets: Then and Now by Nahum Ward-Lev – This one changed my thinking on Genesis ch. 1. This is a pretty interesting look at ethics and the prophetic tradition. Yeah. This is a good one. I mean, Walter Bruggeman offered to write the introduction, so you know its good. 4/5
  14. How the Bible Actually Works: In Which I Explain How An Ancient, Ambiguous, and Diverse Book Leads Us to Wisdom Rather Than Answers – and Why That’s Great News by Peter Enns – Sarcastic and punny. Really just a distillation of his more scholarly work put into the public space. 4/5
  15. A Course in Christian Mysticism by Thomas Merton – Merton is a hero of mine. And this book is another reason why. Its a mystic talking about mysticism. What’s not to like? I loved it. Read it in two days. 5/5
  16. The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge by Beatrice Chestnut – The most comprehensive text I have read yet about the Enneagram. It goes deep into the subtypes as well as the growth challenges and opportunities for each type. Totally worth the buy. 5/5
  17. Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton – Published posthumously. He is at his best in this piece. Many quotable lines. 5/5
  18. Spiritual Friendship: The Classic Text with a Spiritual Commentary by Dennis Billy – This is a classic text by Aelred of Riveaux, it has some good lines in it and it certainly reads as though it was from the early middle ages. 4/5
  19. The Undiscovered Self by C.G. Jung – Dense in content but does a decent job of explaining the personal and societal unconscious. I’ll probably have to re-read this to get it fully. 4/5
  20. The 9 Types of Leadership: Mastering the Art of People in the 21st Century Workplace by Beatrice Chestnut – Might read as repetitive if you, like me, have read 8 books on the enneagram. However, the angle of leadership styles makes it totally worth it. 5/5
  21. Sorry for Your Troubles by Padraig O Tuama – I met Padraig a number of weeks ago. Very kind poet of a man. All poetry inspired by the Troubles in Ireland. 5/5
  22. The Myth of Sisyphys by Albert Camus – Camus had been mentioned to me for quite some time, and this was my first engagement with him. He is kind of circuitous in his writing and ideas, but he is also rather poetic every so often. Absurdism interests me. 4/5
  23. Building a Storybrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller – Trying to build my business knowledge. 4/5
  24. The Trinity by Karl Rahner – I have read other Rahner books. This was a short albeit good one. 4/5
  25. Modern Man in Search of a Soul by C.G. Jung – Can you tell I have been diving into Carl Jung? Religion and psychology have more overlap than people care to admit. 4/5
  26. Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity by Brian Zahnd – Twitter friends with Brian. I’d love to meet him at some point. Beauty is an undeveloped or underdeveloped virtue in Christianity. This one finishes with a cool exposition of the Beatittudes. 4/5
  27. Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism by Jay Michaelson – I felt like this one started strong and lost me along the way. 3/5
  28. The Book of Job: A Commentary by Norman C. Habel – Let’s be honest, Job is one of the best books ever written. Not just in the Bible, but ever written at all. Its bewildering, punny, wise, confusing, and humbling all at the same time. 5/5
  29. Raids on the Unspeakable by Thomas Merton – A good short read. Anything you read from Merton is worth your time. 4/5
  30. Whole-Identity: A Brain-Based Enneagram Model for (W)Holistic Human Thriving by Dr. Jerome D. Lubbe – A very cool and visually stimulating exploration of the Enneagram alongside modern neuroscience. He even presents a different mode of interpreting the Enneagram that I appreciated, concerning how to be a whole person. 5/5
  31. Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr – This was a re-read. In light of the recent passing of my own Dad, Ron. I wanted to go back and read this. Re-read it in less than a week. Its a good read if you are going through what feels like a downward trajectory of life experiences. 5/5
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