Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday's Reads

Well, I've finished reading A Grief Observed, and I'm not currently reading any other C.S. Lewis books, so I'm afraid that this is the end of the Tuesdays with Lewis column. However, since books compose a very important part of my life and I would describe myself as a voracious reader, you can expect to see many more book-themed posts on Tuesdays.

At the moment I am in the middle of two very different books, both of which I highly recommend:

King Leopold's Ghost
Click to view on Amazon

King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild tells the little-known story of the brutal colonization of the Congo (costing an estimated 10 million lives) and the radical human rights effort that arose in an effort to show the world what was happening. Many of the most devastating and protracted conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa today stem from the events told in this book. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to better understand current events in Africa (and to anyone in general). Hochschild is an excellent storyteller, and he bolsters his account with primary source documents from a variety of historical sources. Be warned: this is a very heavy read and many disturbing events are covered in this book. However, I believe that knowledge of such events is absolutely essential for understanding of current world orders and to prevent such atrocities in the future.

The Good and Beautiful God

Click here to view on Amazon
On the entirely opposite end of the spectrum, I am currently going through The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith with my mentor, and I think it's one of the best books I have ever read on spiritual discipline and transformation. Smith focuses on breaking down the false narratives about God (God is angry and punishes me for all the wrong things I do, God wants me to try harder, etc) and replacing them with truth. He focuses on the getting to know the God that Jesus knows and presents spiritual disciplines as a way to gain freedom in our walk with God. Now, as a more artsy-creative type, I know that I often chafe at "disciplines," seeing them as to-do lists to rush through as quickly as possible because I "have to." This book is not at all like that (The first discipline is sleep! As in, "This week take one morning and sleep in because rest is vital"). Basically, this book is amazing, and you should read it. (Especially if you're someone like me who usually hates devotional books and finds them to be boring and unhelpful.) I love how much it focuses on breaking down lies with truth and embracing God's goodness and the freedom we have in Christ.

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