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Looking Over Your Shoulder

My current reads: spiritual warfare, Anne of Ingleside, A Cast of Stones, Amish Vampires in Space. What about you?
| Oct 29, 2013 | No comments |

Goofus tries to read at least two fiction books and at least five nonfiction books all at once. Gallant takes his time with written works, maintaining a balance of fiction and nonfiction.

Guess which I am. But today it makes for a more interesting summary of my current reads.

Nonfiction
Spiritual Warfare In A Believer’s Life — C. H. Spurgeon (ed. Robert Hall)

cover_spiritualwarfareinabelieverslifeThis one isn’t a Spurgeon devotional. The introduction says it’s a collection of Spurgeon works edited together. But I’ve been treating it like a devotional by poking my way through it so long. As I mentioned before, Spurgeon surprises me with his lucid and often topical preaching, solidly Scriptural yet also sparkling with subtle wit, poetry, and imagination. Many pastors who rightly believe in Biblical exposition and shun frivolous anecdotes may want to follow Spurgeon: he explores texts speculatively, far beyond “wooden” preaching.

Fiction
Anne of Ingleside — L. M. Montgomery

cover_anneofinglesideMy wife, Lacy, has finally indoctrinated me in what I now call the Anneverse. Now I’d like to induct L.M. Montgomery’s then-contemporary creation as an honorary member of the “speculative” genre hall of fame. What makes it speculative? Rather simply, her characters, especially Anne Shirley herself, demonstrate what it’s like to live real lives that have been informed by healthful fantastic imaginations. Anne’s is a realistic world of hard work, tragedy, good friends, comical encounters, outward religiosity mixed with heart, and a world of imaginary fairies, nymphs, epic myths, local legends, and spiritual wonder.

Nonfiction
Standing Strong: How to Resist the Enemy of Your Soul — John MacArthur

cover_standingstrongMacArthur’s lately been in the evangelical news for a little shindig called the Strange Fire Conference. This older work of his made it to the free e-book scene not long ago. Now I’m two-thirds through this basic overview of Biblical spiritual warfare. MacArthur contrasts Scripture’s emphasis with that of older, and still common, spiritual-warfare notions.

“This insidious practice of making God small and people great characterizes much of today’s spiritual-warfare movement,” he writes.1 “How? By drawing undue attention to demons instead of Christ. People who ought to fear God fear Satan instead and focus on the powers of darkness. The modern spiritual-warfare movement has diluted biblical teaching about God’s sovereignty, our sufficiency in Christ, salvation, and sanctification. God’s simple battle plan for spiritual warfare is this: Turn from sin and turn to Christ.” A great reminder especially at Halloween.

Fiction
A Cast of Stones — Patrick Carr

A-Cast-of-StonesThe problem with mentioning this Bethany House-published fantasy is that by listing it as one of my “pending” books, I could give the impression the story was dull, so I became distracted. Trust me: I forget if we have leftover doughnuts in the house. Similarly, I can become distracted even from a great story. Carr’s fantasy began well, and I look forward to resuming it soon. Cast’s characters, speech patterns, and places have left impressions in my memory, fading only because of time. Soon I’ll return to this very promising ebook.

Nonfiction
Wisdom and Wonder: Common Grace in Science & Art — Abraham Kuyper

cover_wisdomandwonderFor years I’ve meant to read Kuyper, and now I finally am. For this volume, the Reformed Dutch theologian’s specific essays about science and art have been newly translated (and sometimes you can tell, with a functional yet odd-sounding turn of phrase). It’s great stuff, seemingly simple yet with profound applications for the Christian who seeks to hold both God’s common grace in the world with the truth that unregenerate man corrupts things.

Fiction
Amish Vampires in Space — Kerry Nietz

cover_amishvampiresinspaceYes, I’m almost two-thirds through this novel. And it’s a hoot, a hoot not because it’s so silly, but because it isn’t. Nietz spends chapters introducing characters and concept — just as it should be — before the story begins to do exactly what it says on the tin. And I now realize, first, that even these presumably lower-key vampires are freaky scary, and second, smashing iconic groups such as vampires and Amish together, in spaaace, makes for great drama. Unlike Nietz’s previous works, this one features an ensemble cast and third-person past perspective, which makes for a more sweeping work that feels truly, surprisingly epic.

I’ll conclude with all the puns I just successfully avoided: un-dead genres, feeds on popular myth, biting satire, count it success, makes my blood rush, sink my teeth into the story.

What have you been reading?

  1. MacArthur Jr., John (2012-07-01). Standing Strong: How to Resist the Enemy of Your Soul (Kindle Locations 724-728). David C Cook. Kindle Edition.
E. Stephen Burnett is coauthor (with Ted Turnau and Jared Moore) of The Pop Culture Parent: Helping Kids Engage Their World for Christ, which will release in spring 2020 from New Growth Press. He also explores biblical truth and fantastic stories as editor in chief of Lorehaven Magazine and writer at Speculative Faith. He has also written for Christianity Today and Christ and Pop Culture. He and his wife, Lacy, live in the Austin area and serve as members of Southern Hills Baptist Church.

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Galadriel
Guest

I’ve read “A Cast of Stones,” and Amish Vampires in Space is still on my to-read list.

Michael Snow
Guest

Spurgeon’s keen faith surprises and inspires us in many areas. http://spurgeonwarquotes.wordpress.com/

Kessie Carroll
Member

Let’s see, I just finished reading Secrets Kept, a high fantasy by J. Mbewe (sp?). Nibbling away at King’s Warrior by Schmidt, just picked up Conjured by Durst at the library, haven’t started it yet.

Any gamers around here who have toyed with the Stanley Parable? There’s some deep thoughts in that game.

D. M. Dutcher
Member

It’s a slow period for me. I’m reading Jeffrey Davis’s Invasion of the Ninja because, well, Christian ninja. I have some of Bryan Davis’s Dragon books on the Kindle, but I’m unsure of the order to start reading them. I need to hit Amazon for the latest releases. Hopefully some of the small presses will do one last push of releases before Christmas.

I’ve been watching anime otherwise, like Non Non Biyori and Beyond the Boundary, and played Rune Factory 4 for the 3DS.

Katby Eavenson
Guest
Katby Eavenson

From a non-writing lurker who follows this blog:
Nonfiction-
Drs Steven Collins and Latayne Scott: Discovering the City of Sodom. Mid-Eastern archeology for the interested newbie. I couldn’t afford a copy so I suggested it to my local public library and, lo and behold, they ordered it! Just finished reading it. I know nothing about the subject but he seems to make a good case for his discoveries.
Dr N.T. Wright: The Case for the Psalms: Why They Are Essential. This is meant for individuals and for chuches that do not use the Psalms regularly in worship their services.

Fiction:
Planning to get an ecopy on my Kindle of Amish Vampires in Space. Downloaded the sample to my Kindle and enjoyed it.
Rereading my ‘old’ copy of Robin Parrish’s Offworld.
Also thinking of downloading Steve Rzasa’s Sandstorm from Marcher Lord. That’s when I have some more funds available!!
May borrow my library’s copy of Sherwood Smith’s Banner of the Damned – didn’t get it finished on my first loan period.

Teddi Deppner
Guest

Non-Fiction:
– Wired for Story by Lisa Cron
– Rise of the Machines by Kristen Lamb
– Getting Things Done by David Allen
– The Hidden Life by Adolph Saphir

Fiction:
– Alone Yet Not Alone by Tracy Leininger Craven (read aloud to kids)
– Anna and the Dragon by Jill Domschot
– Storm Front by Jim Butcher
– Daredevil: Out (graphic novel collecting issues #32-40)

About to read aloud to my kids: Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls