It’s March and the weather is playing games with us. We’ve had a few incredibly warm days that left us anxious for sun-kissed skin and “all things hot” (in the words of our favorite snowman). But the past several days have again turned windy and frigid, and I’ve found myself with a strong desire to curl up in bed, fluffy white dog at my side, and read. And per usual, I have several books going at once. Here’s what I’m reading right now:
1. The Songs of Jesus – A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller
Given to me by a sweet friend from whom I seek wise counsel, this devotional covers the entire Book of Psalms in one calendar year. I just cracked it open, and so far I’ve read only the introduction and the devotional days related to Psalm 139 (one of my favorite passages of Scripture).
The Psalms are a book of hymns inspired by God and sung as part of public worship throughout church history. In the words of Tim Keller (on p. vii):
All theologians and leaders of the church have believed that the Psalms should be used and reused in every Christian’s daily private approach to God and in public worship. We are not simply to read psalms; we are to be immersed in them so that they profoundly shape how we relate to God. The psalms are the divinely ordained way to learn devotion to our God.
I plan to do one devotional per day, on the corresponding calendar date in the book. (So I’ll start tomorrow with March 22nd instead starting at January 1). Anyone want to join me?
2. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
Speaking of the Psalms, Rosaria Butterfield makes a compelling argument for Psalm singing and the Regulative Principle of Worship in Chapter 3 of this book (which I’m tearing through at a lightening pace).
My friend Kristin recently devoured this memoir while she was on the beach in Jamaica, and she texted me from her beach chair and said, “Leah, you have to read this book. I can’t stop. It’s fascinating.”
Rosaria Butterfield was a tenured English professor at Syracuse University and also held a joint teaching appointment in the Center for Women’s Studies. Her primary field was Critical Theory, and her specialty was Queer Theory, which is a postmodern approach to gay and lesbian studies. She was in a lesbian relationship, and was an activist in the gay community. Then one day a man named Pastor Ken Smith from the Syracuse Reformed Presbyterian Church wrote Rosaria a letter and they thereafter established a friendship that also included Pastor Ken’s wife, Floy. Pastor Ken and Floy introduced Rosaria to the value of studying the Bible and considering whether it might be true. This book chronicles Rosaria’s conversion to Christianity, which she describes as a “complicated and comprehensive chaos.”
3. Desiring God by John Piper
I read Desiring God’s blog nearly every day, so it was appropriate for Jersey Boy to buy me this book for my recent birthday. It is a deep, meaty read, but so worthy of your time. In it, John Piper explains what it means to be a “Christian Hedonist” and worship God for “the pleasure to be had in Him.” In other words, he argues that our innate drive to pursue happiness is a good longing that we should nourish, rather than rejecting it as a bad impulse. Because “the deepest and most enduring happiness is found only in God,” and this happiness is fullest when we share it with others in love, we should pursue pleasure as an essential part of worship. At the core, Piper argues that “[t]he chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever.”
I will probably be reading and mulling over this book for months. Only two chapters in, I already see God shifting my view of how to relate to Him.
So that’s it. My current reading list is far from light and airy, but it is oh so good…even transformative.
Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?