Books I’m Reading – Fall 2012

October 2nd, 2012 / 3 Comments

I began reading some great books in the spring and I’m back at them and others this fall. Here’s a list of what I’m reading right now…

The following are not thorough book reviews. Nor are they endorsements for the best books I’ve ever read. Instead, they are books in my office, next to my bed, in my car, stacked on my floor, or somewhere nearby to read at my convenience.            

Here are twelve books I’m reading in the fall of 2012…

Spirit of Love: A Trinitarian Theology of Grace, by Amos Yong – Amos speaks as a Pentecostal theologian in this pneumatology of divine love. His interests range widely in the book, but the result is an emphasis upon the Holy Spirit as the source of love. I like so much of this book, and I hear Amos’s voice in my head as I read it!

The Physical Nature of Christian Life: Neuroscience, Psychology, and the Church, by Warren Brown and Brad Strawn –  Warren and Brad take research and theory in neuroscience and psychology and apply them to questions of the church and Christian life. In particular, they emphasized the embodied aspects of spiritual formation and the social dimensions of Christianity. The authors make a strong argument against mind-body dualism!

The Science and Theology of Godly Love, edited by Matthew Lee and Amos Yong – This book is another of the products of the Godly love and Pentecostalism research project, of which I was a member. The book is divided into sections exploring social sciences and theology, and I have an essay in the theology section.

The Greatest Commandment: The LORD’s Invitation to Love, by Marty Michelson – This little book is meant to be used in prayer and reflection. Marty takes the Sh’ma and explores various aspects of it, with the hope that readers will go deeper and understand the love commandment more fully.

What Christians Believe about the Bible: A Concise Guide for Students, by Don Thorsen and Keith H. Reeves – As the subtitle indicates, Don and Keith aim this at students. They provide a history of the Bible, explore issues in biblical interpretation, and seek a coherent theology of the Bible. Of particular help is the author’s explanation of inerrancy and suggestion that the Bible can be trustworthy without being inerrant.

John Wesley’s Values – and Ours, by Rem B. Edwards – Rem takes readers on an exploration of John Wesley’s theology, with an eye on its ethical implications. The philosophical sophistication comes through, despite the fact that the material was originally designed for a series of study classes in a local congregation. Those who want to ponder what Wesleyan theology means for us and our ethics should read this book!

The Predicament of Belief: Science, Philosophy, and Faith, by Philip Clayton and Steven Knapp – This new book is the result of literally thousands of pages of emails. The succinct writing style argues for the plausibility of Christian faith in light of contemporary science and philosophy. Philip and Steven offer an erudite defense of Christian faith.

Unlocking Divine Action: Contemporary Science and Thomas Aquinas, by Michael Dodds – I’ve long been interested in how we might best think about God acting in the world, especially in light of contemporary science. I’ve been a half-hearted fan of Aquinas. So I agreed to read this book and review it for a journal.

Creation and Chaos Talk: Charting a Way Forward, by Eric Vail – Eric’s dissertation explores initial creation and how we might think about God creating the world. Recent scholarship in this area emphasizes the role of chaos. Eric takes this scholarship seriously, while affirming a doctrine of creation ex nihilo.

Seven Glorious Days: A Scientist Retells the Genesis Creation Story, by Karl Giberson Karl writes in accessible and engaging ways as he thinks about contemporary science and the biblical narrative of creation. The result is an entertaining and inspiring book emphasizing the scientific literature and what it might say about our Creator.

Power, Politics and the Fragmentation of Evangelicalism: From the Scopes Trial to the Obama Administration, by Kenneth Collins – Ken’s subtitle alone should get people to buy this book. The book explores the history of evangelicalism and some of its hottest current issues. This book is more about political history and culture than the straightforward theology Ken typically writes. The result is an informative and engaging book.

The Cosmic Breath: Spirit and Nature in the Christianity-Buddhism-Science Trialogue, by Amos Yong As far as I know, this is the first academic book ever dedicated to me. And I’m honored by that. But I know so very little about the book’s subject. I’m doing a whole lot of learning in this most creative of syntheses.

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Looks like some very interesting reading.


let us know what you think of the Cosmic Breath book, will have to check out Amos’ work, have been rereading Merton on Buddhism and will be interested in another angle on it, especially if it is less about retreat-ing from the world. Have you been following any of the recent work on affect in theology?


Tom, I deeply appreciate this list. I’d like to have you do another blog on the “top 10” books you’d recommend to pastors in order for them to be theologically informed. Thanks for your thoughts!

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