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

Best Books (read) in 2014

2014 has been a great year for reading. For several years I was averaging 50-60 books a year but last year I really lost interest in reading and I have now realized why. I was reading almost exclusively one genre; non-fiction Christian books related to theology, ministry, and the Bible. Because of that, I became BORED with reading. The more I read, the more I realized all of these books that I was reading were the same and it started to become increasingly dull.  I felt like I rarely read anything new or original, but just a rehashing of things I’ve already read. I needed to get outside of the theological/ministerial realm and read broader which I have done this year.

After reading Cornelius Plantinga’s book (listed below) earlier this year, I rediscovered the value and joy of the novel not only for my own soul and personal enjoyment, but for my preaching, my empathy for others whose experience is different from mine, and an overall awakening of feelings to the joys and sorrows of life.  There was a time when I read more fiction but in the last three or four years the percentage has depleted significantly. I have also been influenced by Eugene Peterson’s book “Take and Read” which is his personal annotated bibliography that I’m slowly working through.

Out of the 60-some books I’ve read this year it was tough to narrow it down to my top 10 in each category but here’s my best shot!

Literature/Fiction –
1. Home – Marilynne Robinson

2. Saint Maybe – Anne Tyler

3. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

4. Dune – Frank Herbert

5. Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

6. A River Runs Through It – Normal Maclean

7. The Sparrow – Mary Doria Russell

8. Shampoo Planet – Douglas Coupland

9. The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Murial Barbery

10. A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter Miller Jr.

Nonfiction –

1. Sabbath as Resistance; Saying No to the Culture of Now – Walter Brueggemann

2. Fail; Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure – J.R. Briggs

3. Slow Church; Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus – Christopher Smith

4. A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor’s Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace – Brian Zahnd

5. Dakota; a Spiritual Geography – Kathleen Norris

6. The Cross and the Lynching Tree – James Cone

7. Families Where Grace Is In Place – Jeff VanVonderen

8. The Little Way of Ruthie Leming – Rod Dreher

9. Bigger Than The Game; Restitching a Major League Life – Dirk Hayhurst

10. Reading for Preaching – Cornelius Plantinga