A Few Great Things

With 2014 closing, I’m reminded of how many great things i got to read, watch, listen to, and experience this past year. Here’s a few of them.  I hope you enjoy them.

Great Stories

Lila, by Marilynne Robinson – This is probably the book most preachers had on their Christmas lists.  Somehow I missed Home, but will be hurrying to find it.  A beautiful story of the transforming power of kindness and grace and love between an old preacher and a less old wanderer.  It makes you think about the claims of faith and the hard reality of some human experience.  The writing is majectic.  Robinson is a gift.

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr – The book so many people were talking about this year with German Soldiers, French Resisters and 20000 Leagues Under the Sea.  It’s a great book with parallel stories that inevitably come together in tragedy and hope and grace.

Partial History of Lost Causes, by Jennifer Dubois – We won this book at a drawing at a local bookstore a couple of years ago.  This is so well-written and a great story of trying to beat the clock of a dreaded illness, reinventing yourself, and trying to overcome pain and disappointment and despair. Throw in politics of the new Russia and you’ve got a real winner. I loved this book.

The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling) – My favorite fun book of the year.  A great mystery and a great new series.  Plus, the main character pulls for the Gunners! How can you go wrong.

Honorable Mention: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Ten Thousand Saints, This is Where I Leave You

Church Stuff

The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry, David Rohrer – Let’s start with a book on church leadership with John the Baptist as its hero.  Add a critique of consumer and therapeutic models of ministry.  Finish it off with a call to pointing people to the Lord with courage, conviction and truth.  I’d give this book to any preacher, leader or Christian -new or needing to be renewed.

Grace to Lead, Ken Carder and Laceye Warner – Methodism’s challenge isn’t reinventing itself, but is returning to faithful practice – vital preaching, systems and structures that nurture accountability and growth, and relying not on business but on the narrative of God’s extravagant love revealed in Jesus Christ and the transforming grace of the Holy Spirit.  This is a faithful call to action that should inspire and challenge those of us who lead in the Wesleyan Spirit.

Love Does, Bob Goff – It’s a bestseller, so nothing original here.  Just great, inspiring stories of living out your faith that will make you think, invite you to grow, and stop thinking about Jesus and instead start doing life with him.

Honorable Mention: I read a lot of great church stuff this year.  A few more: Sin Boldly, Catherine Falsani; Making Sense of the Bible, Adam Hamilton; Learning to Walk in the Dark, Barbara Brown Taylor, Slow Church, C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison


We watch too much TV in our house and one of our goals for the next year is to watch less, but two stood out this year:

House of Cards – (Warning: Not for the faint of heart or eyes or easily offended.) This is the only show I binge watch. Frank and Claire’s assent to power and descent in every other aspect of their lives is so compelling and so captivating that we watched season 2 in 2 days.  I love it so much I even preached on it.

The Good Wife – This is one of the best shows on television.  It’s brought up great questions about vocation, prayer and what to do when the world is against you.  Alicia, Carey, Peter keep me coming back every week. I’m hooked.

There’s an App for That

Scrivener – Don’t know how I found it but I write almost everything in Scrivener.  I haven’t scratched the surface of how to get everything out of it, but it’s been a great addition to my macbook.

Other Great Things: Lady Antebellum in Knoxville;  Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, Lucinda Williams; Ingrid Michaelson Live; Rewatching the West Wing; Local, Good Coffee, The Cubs With Lester, Surviving Dollywood.

How about you – what were the great things you experienced that you want people to know about?


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