Summer time is basically here (especially in Texas and Florida where I live), which means a little extra time to get reading done. I’ve compiled a list here of books that I intend to read over the summer to grow in my creativity, my faith, and my Biblical thinking. Feel free to tag along if you see something that interests you.
#1 Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund
This book has become the next hot thing in Christian circles, so it’s worth reading just to know what the hype is all about. Here, Ortlund presents a case for getting to the real heart of Jesus: the part of Christ which is most naturally on display. Just based on the little I’ve read (and the subtitle) it’s clear that Ortlund is demonstrating that Christ is first and foremost concerned with helping sinners and sufferers.
Nearly everyone I’ve talked to has loved this book and I’m enjoying it so far. Check it out!
#2 Death by Living by ND Wilson
Wilson’s book is a collection of essays on “spending” life. His main idea is that life is meant to be spent and used for the Kingdom of God. We can’t stop the march of time, so we might as well enjoy the time we have. It seems like a sober read, but at times this kind of reflection can be helpful to spark excitement and joy over life.
#3 An English Translation of the Qu’ran
“That book’s not about Jesus!” No, but it is important to understand those outside of our own faith tradition, even if we disagree. Learning about other traditions helps us to see the heart of others and helps facilitate stronger communication. Additionally, if the Christian faith is true, we have no problem stepping outside of our community and engaging with others because we know we carry the Truth wherever we go.
#4 Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull.
I don’t know much about this book other than I meant to read it last summer. It’s by Ed Catmull who co-founded Pixar and was President of Disney animation. Here, Catmull recounts stories of his time working in creative endeavors and discusses how to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of inspiration
#5 He Saw That It Was Good: Reimagining Your Creative Life to Repair a Broken World by Sho Baraka
I don’t know much about this book, but I saw it and thought it looked interesting. Here’s a synopsis from the back:
“In He Saw That It Was Good, activist and recording artist Sho Baraka wrestles deeply and honestly with these questions, gives you permission to do the same, and shows a hard-earned path to creative change. With Sho, you’ll engage with art, justice, and history. Learn from the powerful principles of historic movements, explore why it’s important to cultivate your creative calling (no matter what you do!), and discover a fresh look at how the gospel can transform how you see God, your neighbor, your work, and your world.”
#6 Go and Do Likewise! The Wisdom of Jesus by John Hendrix
This book could go in Faith as well, but I put it here because of Hendrix art style. Hendrix is a master illustrator and he created a book, mainly for children, on the Wisdom of Jesus. Plus, I just think it looks cool.
#7 Christ and Culture by H. Richard Niebuhr
Niebuhr’s classical treatment on Christian ethics and culture. If you want a thought provoking read on how Christians should navigate interacting with the larger culture, give it a read.
#8 Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
The book responsible for the current trend in essentialism/minimalism. (Looking at you Matt D’Avella) While this book isn’t strictly Christian, it does provide a good framework on thinking through the purpose of life and assessing whether what you do and what you buy helps move you towards that goal
Bonus Book: Classic- Confessions by Saint Augustine
One of the most important books in Christian history and theology, Confessions traces Augustine’s comments on several matters regarding Christian faith and practice.
Bonus Book: Fiction- The Fiddler’s Gun by A.S. Peterson
An exciting tale of American Adventure. I’ve not yet read it, but I love the Rabbit Room and pretty much everything written by the Petersons. It’s worth checking out.
Bonus Soundtrack: Jesus is Greater, A Free TGC21 Playlist
I hope this list proved useful. Enjoy the reading!
Tyler Bauer, MA is a high school teacher and speaker. He holds an MA in Apologetics from Biola University and is a Philosophy PhD student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Instagram