Fall/Winter Reading List

I’m pretty intentional about what I choose to read and not read. There are an infinite number of books I want to read which is why I hate to waste my time on books that are mediocre or that don’t matter. With each book you chose to read and spend your time on, you are giving that book priority over every other book you could be spending your time reading. That could make you a bit neurotic and anxious but the thought also wants to make me choose quality and important books that will hopefully either stand the test of time or help me with something I’m currently thinking through or want to know more about. Some of the authors on this list like Kathleen Norris, John Updike, or NT Wright are simply authors I would read anything by and tend to connect with. The truth is, I write these seasonal reading lists mostly because I LOVE making lists and accomplishing them. I’m a list nut. It gives me focus and determination to achieve what I’ve set out to do. I’m sure I’ll get to some other books than these, but this at least gives me some focus and intentionality behind my reading for this season. I know the audience for these kinds of posts are small and select, but I know that I love to read what others are reading and some of you may as well. So, enjoy!

The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
The Trial – Franz Kafka
Rabbit at Rest – John Updike
The Circle – Dave Eggers
Winter in the Blood – James Welch
Watership Down – Richard Adams

The Day the Revolution Began – NT Wright
Hillbilly Elegy – JD Vance
Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
You Are What You Love – James KA Smith
Embrace – Leroy Barber
Vainglory; The Forgotten Vice – Rebecca Konyndyk Deyoung
Spurgeon’s Sorrow – Zack Eswine
Acedia & Me – Kathleen Norris
No god but God – Reza Aslan
After 50 Years of Ministry; 7 Things I’d Do Differently – Bob Russell
Playing God – Andy Crouch
Many Colors – Soong Chah Rah

Summer Reading List 2016

Summer is a time for enjoyable, restorative, fun, slightly easier reading. Church life slows down a bit, the weather is nice, got some vacation time coming. I try to select books that fit that vibe. Some are pure entertainment, some are authors I’ve had recommended to me, others are simply subjects that grabbed my attention.

Barbarian daysBarbarian Days; a Surfing Life – William Finnegan
To be honest, I have almost no interest in surfing but after all of the great reviews of this book plus a Pulitzer prize, I feel obligated. I also find it helpful to read about things I don’t know anything about. Surfing is one of those!


SupposedlyA Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again – David Foster Wallace
I’ve never read any DFW but excerpts and articles here and there. I LOVE the name of this book (my mind goes straight to Karaoke) and I’ve heard it’s a really engaging book of essays.


selfconsciousnessSelf-Consciousness; Memoirs – John Updike
I’ve really been on an Updike kick in the last year. I’m enjoying the final Rabbit book right now. His long, rambling, stream of consciousness writing really grabs me. I find myself rereading and digesting sentences often while reading him. Insightful, revolting, earthy, spiritual…I’m excited to read his memoirs.

sympathizerThe Sympathizer – Viet Thanh Nguyen
I’m trying to read the Pulitzer Prize winner each year. Apparently this novel won about everything else too.



canoeing the mountainsCanoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory – Tod Bolsinger
A friend recommended this to me a few weeks ago as we discussed self-differentiation.



unfamiliar fishesUnfamiliar Fishes – Sarah Vowell
I had a friend at the Ecclesia National Gathering recommend this to me. I had never heard of Vowell but it looks interesting.



diary ofThe Diary of a Country Priest – Georges Bernanos
I actually can’t believe I’ve never read this. I’ve owned a copy for years and have watched it sit on my shelf.😦 One of those books that Eugene Peterson recommends so you know it’s worth your while.



best teamThe Best Team Money Can Buy – Molly Knight
Thank you Rob Grant for recommending this. A summer reading list isn’t complete without a book on baseball.




life's too shortLife’s Too Short To Pretend Your Not Religious – David Dark





the sonThe Son – Philipp Meyer




spectatorThe Spectator Bird – Wallace Stegner




nation of rebelsNation of Rebels; Why Counterculture Became Consumer Culture – Joseph Heath




strong andStrong and Weak; Embracing a Life of Love, Risk, and True Flourishing – Andy Crouch

Summer Reading List 2015

It’s that time of year again, time to select some fun books for the warm months of summer. I try to pick books simply for enjoyment and save the rest of the year to read some more challenging or demanding books. I’m excited about this summer and have chosen to reread To Kill a Mockingbird in anticipation of the upcoming release of Go Set a Watchman. I’m also really obsessed with Cormac McCarthy after reading All the Pretty Horses a few weeks ago. Exciting and suspenseful story, beautifully foreign terrain (for me), and a lot of bad-assery.🙂 I’d love to read everything he’s written so this summer is a good chance to finish the trilogy. I also wanted to throw in a Sci-Fi classic that is both a Nebula and Hugo award winner. I read a Hugo award winner last week (Way Station by Clifford Simak) and if that book is any indication, the bar is set pretty low for sci-fi writing. So I’m not sure what to expect from Ursula Le Guin, though I know she’s been nominated for several books. I was really impacted in 2005 when I read Dante’s Divine Comedy so I always love a chance to read how it impacted someone else so I’m excited for Rod Dreher’s book. Finally, Lonesome Dove has been a piece of Western fiction that I’ve never heard anyone speak a bad word about. It’s universally acclaimed and I’m finally going to jump in. No real theme or rhyme or reason with this summer reading list other than books I desire to read and am sure I will find entertaining and enjoyable. That’s what summer is about, right?

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee
The Crossing – Cormac McCarthy
Cities of the Plain – Cormac McCarthy
The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula Le Guin
The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien
The Final Beast – Frederick Buechner
Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry
The Sign of Jonas – Thomas Merton
A Change of Heart; Personal and Theological Memoir – Thomas Oden
How Dante Can Save Your Life: The Life-Changing Wisdom of History’s Greatest Poem – Rod Dreher
A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel – Bradley Jersak

Sabbatical Reading List

What do you read during the course of a sabbatical? Books for pure enjoyment? Books to enrich your soul? Books to grow you as a pastor? I’ve tried to create an assortment to touch on all of those things to some extent. I’m probably actually a little light on the latter one as this feels like a break from striving to be a better pastor and simply to rest in God and experience some refreshment. To take a step away from pastoring AND from improving as a pastor. We’ll see how things shake out. But I’m excited about this list!

Three books that will daily inform my spiritual life during this time are the following:

The Ignatian Adventure – Father Kevin O’Brien

Retreat in the Real World

Prayers for Springtime – Phyllis Tickle


The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. – Clayborne Carson

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End – Atul Gawande

Blood and Thunder: the Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West – Hampton Sides

Seasons of the Soul – Bruce Demarest

The Art of Pastoring; Ministry Without All the Answers – David Hansen

The Brewer’s Tale: A History of the World According to Beer – William Bostwick

My Bright Abyss: Meditations of a Modern Believer – Christian Wiman 


The Martian – Andy Weir

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

Lila – Marilyn Robinson

The Marauders – Tom Cooper

The End of the Affair – Graham Greene

Hannah Coulter – Wendell Berry

The Secret History – Donna Tartt

The Diary of a Country Priest – Bernanos

All the Pretty Horses – Cormac McCarthy

January-March Reading List

The first quarter of 2015 is more fiction heavy again. I’m really finding a lot of life and joy in novels again whereas a year and a half ago, I was reading all non-fiction. I really go in cycles but have rediscovered the joy of reading novels this past year. I also know that over my sabbatical (starting in April) I will probably read more Christian classics and soul care type books so I’m keeping it light right now. But here’s what’s on my reading list to start the year.  What’s on yours?

Gathering Blue (Giver Book 2) – Lois Lowry

Messenger (Giver Book 3) – Lois Lowry

Son (Giver Book 4) – Lois Lowry

The Residue Years – Mitchell S. Jackson

We Were Liars – E.Lockhart

The Iliad – Homer

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz

Tickets for a Prayer Wheel – Annie Dillard

Lila – Marilyn Robinson

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette – Hampton Sides

Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense – Francis Spufford

The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg

Raising Cain; Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys – Michael Thompson

How (Not) to Be Secular – James K.A. Smith

The Pastor’s Justification – Jared Wilson

10 Favorite Albums of 2014


Ryan Adams1. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams





young oceans2. Young Oceans – I Must Find You





Sun Kil Moon3. Sun Kil Moon – Benji




War on drugs 4. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream





J Lewis5. Jenny Lewis – The Voyager





sharon van etten6. Sharon Van Etten – Are We There?





strand7. Strand of Oaks – HEAL





tweedy8. Tweedy – Sukierae





alt j9. Alt-J – This is All Yours





damien10. Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy


Best Beers of 2014

2014 was a good year for beer! I’ve broken up my favorites in terms of the most prominent styles that I enjoyed this year and have a miscellaneous section at the end.


1. Lagunitas Born Yesterday Pale Ale

2. Barley Brown’s Hand Truck Pale

3. Fort George Suicide Squeeze

4. Ex Novo Cardinal Sim

5. Elysian Dayglow IPA

6. Pfriem Mosaic Pale

Imperial IPA’s

1. Laurelwood Megafauna

2. Pipeworks Galaxy Unicorn

3. Bells Hopslam

4. Founders Double Trouble

5. Crux Half-Hitch


1. Trinity Brewing Red Swingline

2. Crux Fermentation Project – Freakcake

3. New Belgium Le Terroir/La Folie

4. Destihl Saint Dekkera Forsaken Barrel Lambic

5. Logsdon Farms Peche N’ Brett


1. Crooked Stave Surette Provision Saison

2. Firestone Walker Opal

3. Pfriem Little Saison

4. The Bruery Saison de Lente

5. The Commons Urban Farmhouse


Heater Allen Pils

Barley Browns Sled Wreck

Firestone Walker Oaktoberfest

Ex Novo Mexican Lager

Airways PSA Summer Ale