I confess I have not been doing as much reading as I thought I would during this extended pandemic. But I have read some things that have encouraged and educated me. I am hoping some of you might also find these books to be helpful.
I am in the process of reading None Like Him by Jen Wilkin. This book presents the incommunicable attributes of God and how they make a difference in our lives. While we will never be eternal, infinite or immutable, it really does matter in our lives that God is these things. Jen Wilkin’s style makes deep and complex truths understandable and this book is refreshing in light of our changing world.
Growing Together by Melissa Kruger is another book I have found helpful as I seek to help women disciple one another. As a Body we are responsible to encourage and mentor others, and this book is a practical and helpful resource for this. It would be a great resource for anyone seeking to disciple or mentor other women.
Under Michael Lyons’ leadership of the discipleship staff of ECC, I have read two books in the 9Marks series – Church Membership and Church Discipline. These two little books (short and well-written) have really challenged me to consider the responsibilities of church membership and looking out for my sisters and brothers, caring for them, praying for them and committing myself to them for the long haul. Church membership matters and I am grateful for the examples of faithfulness we have at ECC among our members.
Mother to Son by Jasmine Holmes is a collection of letters from a mom to her black son. I have been distressed by the kinds of things this little boy will face in his life simply because he is black. It has opened my eyes to a world I do not know at all. We are reading this in the Facebook book club if anyone would like to join us. Her conversational style makes this a really satisfying read, while also making me uncomfortable in my own comfort. (If you would like to join the Facebook book club and read with us, contact Colleen Grogan. We will be starting discussions in the second or third week of November so you have time to get and begin reading the book.)
Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warner has been a deeply satisfying read – in fact, I am on my second time through this book as part of my quiet times each day. She describes the sacred aspects of everyday things in our lives, such as waking, brushing my teeth and reading email! I have been helped to consider and practice God’s presence in the everyday parts of my life, not just when I am doing spiritual stuff.
Another regular help in my quiet times is Sing a New Song by Lydia Brownback. This is subtitled ‘a woman’s guide to the psalms’ but I honestly think it would be beneficial to men and women. For each psalm she traces theme, harmony, singing in tune, musical notes and ends with the section Sing the Song which provides other Scriptures that apply the day’s psalm. These readings often open up the psalms for me in very meaningful ways. It would make a great Christmas gift!
I have also read a couple of secular books I have found to be inspiring. I finished most of James Michener’s Space recently. I was amazed at the complexity of the early space program, from ‘kidnapping’ German scientists from Peenemunde during WWII, to building the rockets needed, to learning about space itself so that we could send people up there! The things we didn’t know in the mid-20th century about space was fascinating and makes the Apollo missions even more amazing.
I am in the process of reading Goodbye Glamour Girls by R.J. Dailey. This is a novelized story of women pilots in WWII. While it is a novel, it is based on actual events. The courage of these women is inspiring and encouraging.
I will end with a couple of podcasts worth your time. First, of course, is our very own ECC podcast, Discipleship Talks. Right now we are hearing from our Elders as they present a psalm and it’s significance to them. Another series will be starting soon that you will not want to miss! These podcasts are a great way to connect with others in our Body during these days when many of us are staying home. You can watch a video version of the podcasts here: https://www.eccfellowship.org/adult-sunday-school, or you can subscribe through your podcast provider.
Another podcast I highly recommend for women is Let’s Talk (available on all podcast platforms or here: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/podcasts/lets-talk-podcast/lets-talk-decision-making/. Melissa Kruger, Jasmine Holmes and Jackie Hill-Perry talk about everything from decision making to making friends who don’t look like you to sanity in a pandemic (and who doesn’t need that right now??).
Happy reading and listening!