from The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis
Posts Tagged ‘Reading’
Is the Mega-Church the New Liberalism? by Al Mohler
The Moral Case for Capitalism at the Manhattan Institute
Ross Douthat and the Value of Traditional Christianity in America at Acton Institute
God Rebuilds the World Through Our Work at The High Calling
Video – Makers vs Takers with John Stossel at LibertyPen
15 Spectacular Libraries in Europe at Mental Floss
A Heavenly Calling by TM Moore. You can click here to download the entire series, which would work well as a small group study. More always does a great job with these resources.
Podcast – How to Shave Ten Hours Off Your Work Week at Michael Hyatt
Study Shows that Mormonism is Fastest-Growing Faith in Half the U.S. States at Washington Post
A Response and Challenge to Dan Savage by James White
15 Ways to Make Prayer a Natural Part of Your Everyday Family Life at Raising Godly Children
Six Big Differences for Kids Today at Tim Elmore’s blog
America’s Crisis of Character at Wall Street Journal (by Peggy Noonan – really great article… and sobering)
Anti-Bullying Speaker Curses Christian Teens at Fox News Radio (you have to read this to believe it)
The Case for Adam and Eve: An Interview with John Collins at byFaith Magazine
John Bunyan and “The Pilgrim’s Progress” at Bill Federer’s American Minute
Temptation is Not Sin by Bill Mounce at Trans*Formed
Knowing When to Criticize by Ron Edmondson (This is very helpful. Some folks seem to think that they have the spiritual gift of criticism. Edmondson has some helpful suggestions on this matter.)
The following isn’t a “read” but it is definitely a MUST watch and a MUST listen. The good folks at HistoryMaker’s have put together another very powerful video on the need for missions. Lecrae uses a quote at the end of the video taken from the first page of John Piper’s book on missions, which says, “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” Great video. Enjoy…
Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Dale Tedder, Lifelong Learning, Reading, What I'm Reading, tagged Book, Book Reviews, Books, Christian Book Summaries, Dale Tedder, Leader Book Summaries, Reading, Success Book Summaries, Summaries, Summary on January 18, 2012 | 2 Comments »
I’m a bit of a late bloomer. I’m convinced that it was God’s grace moving in and through my call to ordained ministry that empowered and encouraged me to become someone who enjoys reading. Prior to that… all the way through college (to my parent’s horror) I seldom picked up a book (my grades reflected this fact).
Yet, even in college, when I was interested in something, such as politics, I would actually pick up a book and read it. It was after I graduated from college that I found myself reading books, mostly on theology. It was partly through reading that God ignited my heart and mind for him and for ministry. I’ve been a fairly active and consistent reader ever since.
However, to my frustration, there are just too many good books worth reading and not nearly enough time. Therefore, the discernment process is key… which books to read and when. This process is a work in progress for me.
One thing has been very helpful is reading book summaries and reviews. I once heard Os Guinness say that we can’t possibly read everything we want to, so why not benefit from others who have read and summarized (and even evaluated) some of the same books that you have been meaning to read, but just haven’t gotten around to yet. If the summary of the book really excites you, you can always buy the book for yourself.
There’s a very helpful post today at Church Relevance on this point. I recommend that you read it as well.
Here are a few Book Summary providers that I’ve come across. Two of them I have already subscribed to. A couple of others I’m considering. If you have other recommendations, I’d love to hear from you.
- Christian Book Summaries - This is a free service. They have a great collection of Christian books on a wide variety of topics.
- Success Book Summaries - I have also subscribed to this. It comes in both audio and print. They cover books on leadership, personal development, business, etc.
- Leaders Book Summaries - This is one that I’m about ready to pull the trigger on. It looks great. The Church Relevance blog specifically mentioned this one in today’s post.
- Business Book Summaries Reviews is a website that reviews other “book summary” websites. They have a great list of other good services with their respective strengths and weaknesses.
Again, let me hear from you if you have some other good suggestions. I’m always looking for ways to read more (as well as to remember what I read).
Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Dale's Writing, Personal Development, Reading, Renovate Your Life, What I'm Reading, tagged Book Reviews, Books, Reading, Renovate Your Life, What I'm Reading on June 2, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
I’ve had the privilege of occasionally being asked to review a book on my blog. Now, I don’t for a second think that’s because I’m so insightful. I know that it has much more to do with exposure for the book. But that’s okay; it’s still nice to be asked and I enjoy the opportunity.
I have, on many occasions, used this blog to share the great ideas that I’ve learned from the books I read. I believe I’ve been positively shaped and molded by many of them. As is usually the case, I generally review the books that I really like or have been particularly blessed by (though I may dare to venture out on this front). It’s always an added treat when the author of the book takes the time to connect with me and thank me for my efforts. (I don’t write the reviews for that reason, but, again, it’s a nice treat.)
Interestingly, my reviews are often my most popular posts. I think that’s because many of us like to check out what others thought about a book before we decide to invest the time and money in the book ourselves. Or, as I stated in an earlier post on book summaries, we get what we need from a book out of the review itself. And besides, we can’t read everything that’s out there.
I’ve been fairly generous so far by calling my posts about books “reviews.” They are certainly not critical reviews because, as I said, I’m usually writing about a book I really like. Thus, I guess you could say that they are more like “advertisements” for the books. I’m clearly hoping that my efforts will encourage folks to read them. (But, as I said, I may soon be including some books that I don’t necessarily agree with.)
Also, because it’s my blog, my “reviews” are different in that I don’t have to review the whole book at once. I’m not sure I’m smart enough to do that anyway. Instead, I enjoy studying the book chapter by chapter, really digging into it and seeing what’s there (or what’s not there), thinking about it, and then commenting on it. My “book reviews” should probably more appropriately be called “chapter reports.”
Over the years I’ve discovered various resources that have really helped me get all I can out of a book. I haven’t perfected the art, but I’ve grown a great deal. I know that I don’t apply everything I’ve learned, but I have been able to put together a few things that make up an outlined agenda of sorts. This outline of questions, thoughts, etc., helps me absorb more of what I’m reading than I would without it. It also helps me as I share what I’ve read with others, whether I’m writing about it, teaching it, or simply talking about it with someone over lunch.
At any rate, I thought it might be helpful to officially make book reviews a new feature here at Renovate Your Life. Ideas have consequences, both intellectually and practically. I know from experience how God can use a book to renew a mind and transform a life (that’s renovation). It’s my sincerest prayer that these little reviews will be a blessing to those who read them, and will hopefully lead the reader to the books to which they point.
Posted in Books, Children, Covenant Home, Dale's Devotional, Dale's Writing, Discipleship, Family, Family Worship, Fatherhood, Generational Vision, Parenting, Reading, Redeeming the Time, Renovate Your Life, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation, What I'm Reading, tagged C.S. Lewis, Children, Christianity Today, Covenant Home, Discipleship, Family, Family Worship, Fatherhood, Generational Vision, Parenting, Reading, Redeeming the Time, Renovate Your Life, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation, Voyage of the Dawn Treader on March 8, 2010 | 2 Comments »
I was greatly encouraged last week when I read Christianity Today’s “pre-review” of Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I was heartened first of all because the folks who attended a special screening of the movie were trustworthy folk who love Christ and deeply appreciate C.S. Lewis and desire that the movies be faithful to his books. Second, it was encouraging to read that many of them thought that the new director had done a much better job than the previous two movies in keeping with the central ideas and themes of the books.
I enjoyed the movie version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. However, I was completely disappointed with Prince Caspian. A real let-down. I’m not an extreme C.S. Lewis purist, but I thought that the “Aslan-free” movie fell woefully short. I love the Lord of the Rings movies, but had not first read the books. Perhaps I felt like many Tolkien purists who didn’t like some of the choices Peter Jackson made. At any rate, many of the folks who attended this special screening were positive and even enthusiastic about what they saw and experienced. I’m glad for that.
Therefore, I told my kids that we would read Voyage of the Dawn Treader together so that we would be ready to see the movie when it comes out on December 10, 2010. I’ve read through the Chronicles with my oldest two, but Jake was still a baby when I read them the first time around, and Grant was not even born yet. I chronicled some of those efforts here. We read the first chapter last night with all in attendance and, aside from Grant dancing a jig here and there, it was wonderful to be back with Edmund, Lucy, Caspian, and even Eustace. We tackle Chapter Two tonight.
I would encourage those of you with children to read through Voyage of the Dawn Treader before it comes out in December (which means you have plenty of time). I’ve come to learn that in the mind of many, this book is the most theological of the Chronicles. Reading it with your children will not only prepare you and your children to see the movie, but will also give you the marvelous opportunity to disciple your children as you discuss the different themes and ideas. I love building my relationship with my children through reading to and with them. And, I love the stories every bit as much as they do.
I can’t find the link, but I once read an article of some sort where John Piper confessed that he was a slow reader as well (I’m not sure if Piper slow is the same thing as Tedder slow). At any rate, he was making the case that we ought to strive to read a little bit every day, and if we did, we would be surprised at how much reading we could accomplish over the course of a year, a decade, and a lifetime. (Donald Whitney throws out the challenge to read at least one page a day.)
I once heard Os Guinness say that it would be impossible to read everything that’s worth reading, which is why he recommends that folks read book reviews. Two great choices for book reviews, off the top of my head, would be WORLD Magazine and Books & Culture. I know there are a million other places to read great reviews, but those are two of my favorites.
The main reason for writing this post is to share a couple of websites that offer very fine book summaries. One is free… and the other will cost you a bit.
The first one (the free one) is ChristianBookSummaries.com. It offers summaries on a wide variety of Christian authors – from Richard Baxter to Francis Schaeffer to John Ortberg to G.K. Chesterton to St. Augustine. If you want to be introduced to a certain author or get the lowdown on a specific book before you read it… or if you want to opt for reading the summary instead of the whole book… then this is a good choice. (PS – I have read many of these summaries and they usually hit all the main points.)
The other book summaries service comes from Success Magazine. It has a price tag with it, but for those of you who are interested in personal development, leadership, etc., it looks good. I must confess that I only just learned about it, so I am not a subscriber, and therefore, can’t give you a personal account of it.
If any of you have any other recommendations, I would love to hear from you.
A few years ago I adopted a philosophy of reading that I learned from George Grant and John Maxwell. They both expressed the idea of living a lifestyle of reading. In other words, they essentially said, “always have a book with you.” Read when you’re at the doctor’s office. Read when you’re in the checkout line. Read, read, read – whenever and wherever.” I’ve gotten a lot of mileage from that way of thinking. But having said that, there are other fine ways for pursuing lifelong learning, and these book summaries may be just the ticket for you.
Updated August 30, 2009
I can’t believe I forgot Tim Challies over at Discerning Reader. He does an excellent job reviewing books. His webpage is a “must read.” Thanks to Richadelic for the reminder.
Posted in Children, Covenant Home, Dale's Devotional, Dale's Writing, Discipleship, Family, Generational Vision, Home Education, Leadership, Legacy, Parenting, Reading, tagged Children, Covenant Home, Discipleship, Family, Generational Vision, Home Education, Leadership, Legacy, Parenting, Reading on December 2, 2009 | 1 Comment »
(I have posted this before. However, since I’m trying to relocate all my stuff on this blog, I thought I would post it again. And it’s never a bad thing to be reminded about a topic as important as reading to and with your children.)
Leave me not, O gracious Presence, in such hours as I may today devote to the reading of books. Guide my mind to choose the right books and, having chosen them, to read them in the right way. When I read for profit, grant that all I read may lead me nearer to Thyself. When I read for recreation, grant that what I read may not lead me away from Thee. Let all my reading so refresh my mind that I may the more eagerly seek after whatsoever things are pure and fair and true.” John Baillie
I am often asked what Suzanne and I are reading to our children. So, I thought I would take this time to share a little with you about my own particular reading time with the kids. Suffice it to say that Suzanne reads to them all throughout the day. Reading is big in our home. If you have any questions of Suzanne, I’m sure she would love to share her thoughts with you about what she and the kids are reading together.
I started reading to Natalie (who will be 9 next month) when she was around two. (All the years are beginning to run together on me. A result of old age?). After all the requisite children’s books that we all read to our children (Little Engine That Could sort of stuff), we embarked on chapter books when she was around three or four. We started reading the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. The first book of the series, which is entitled, The Boxcar Children, was first published in 1942. I much prefer reading older books to the children because they are not so saturated in contemporary popular slang. And really, our kids are going to be knee-deep in that stuff sooner than we want, so what’s the rush?
After reading a goodly number from that series, we started reading The Chronicles of Narnia. Dylan, who was then around three or four, began to join us for these great stories. Now, to be sure, he did not pick up on every little nuance (nor do most adults for that matter), and sometimes he tuned out or even fell asleep, but quite often he tracked along with the story just fine (doing better as he got older). Of course, the review at the conclusion of each chapter was essential. It was a way for Dylan, Natalie, and Daddy to discuss what happened in that chapter as well as what were the important themes we found there.
For Christmas 2004, Suzanne and the kids gave me a gift of about 11 or 12 Lamplighter children’s books (which I love as much as the children, by the way). These books were written in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. They are gospel-centered, Christ-exalting, character-building, interesting, exciting, and uplifting stories that have been a hit around our home for both the kids and the parents. There are many, many more to purchase (they are continually finding old books to republish).
Sometime during the middle of reading through the Lamplighter series, we took time out to read John Bunyan’s classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress (in modern English). I must say that even with the updated English, it was tough terrain. It was hard work to keep the kids tracking with the story. The review after, (and sometimes during), each chapter was absolutely essential for this book. However, it was a huge hit and Natalie recently said that it was her favorite book that we’ve read thus far. It took us quite a while to complete, but we persevered and it was worth it.
After The Pilgrim’s Progress, we returned to our Lamplighter series. Let me add that these books appeal to both boys and girls alike (If you visit their website you will notice that their catalog lists books for younger boys, older boys, younger girls, older girls, etc.). We’ve taken the time to go back and forth between them, and regardless of whether the main character is a boy or girl – the kids still love the stories. Another reason I love this series – (for that matter…all the books we have read…which were written decades…even centuries ago) – is not just because they aren’t inundated with contemporary slang. It has more to do with the fact that the vocabulary is so rich. These books were written in a more literate culture and there’s not so much lowering of standards as there is trying to lift the standards of the reader. Definitely a plus.
One of my “I wonder if that was a good idea” books was Robin Hood. I thought it would be a good swashbuckling, adventurous story. And, in many ways it has been. But it doesn’t flow terribly well and we’ve ended up reading chapters from it sporadically.
Vision Forum is a great place to order books for children (books which are similar to the Lamplighter books. In fact, they sell the Lamplighter books as well). Once you see all the books you have to choose from you will quickly realize that you aren’t going to run out of choices.Natalie is presently reading the first book from the Elsie Dinsmore series. Here’s Vision Forum’s description of this series:
In the nineteenth century, millions of readers learned the meaning of godly womanhood from a little girl named Elsie. Her commitment to principle in the midst of adversity and her passionate love for Jesus Christ were the theme of twenty-eight volumes spanning her life. These are the original twelve volumes presented just as a young lady would have found them one hundred years ago. Over the last several years, I have heard hundreds of reports from home schoolers and Christian families about the blessings these books have been in their lives. Elsie raises the standard of godly womanhood to new heights. Feminists will not be happy with Elsie. She is a God-honoring young woman who strives to solve problems while working through biblical authority structures. By Martha Finley. Twelve hardback books. Nearly 4,000 pgs. of reading.
In a year or two, Dylan and I are going to start reading the G.A. Henty series. These books, written in the 1800s, are works of historical fiction that usually center upon a young boy in the middle of some electrifying adventure set in an historic and historical time period. In a culture where chivalry is almost extinct, raising boys to become godly, biblically masculine men (modern-day knights) is simply imperative. Ours, in case you hadn’t noticed, is not a Christian-character-cultivating culture. Not to be intentional about raising your sons is virtually to forfeit them to an emasculating world. Here’s how Henty and his books are described:
Henty’s stories revolve around a fictional boy hero during fascinating periods of history. His heroes are diligent, courageous, intelligent and dedicated to their country and cause in the face, at times, of great peril. His histories, particularly battle accounts, have been recognized by historian scholars for their accuracy. In fact, the only criticism Henty faced by the liberals of his day was that his heroes were “too Christian.” There is nothing dry in Mr. Henty’s stories and thus he removes the drudgery and laborious task often associated with the study of history.
Henty’s heroes fight wars, sail the seas, discover land, conquer evil empires, prospect for gold, and a host of other exciting adventures. They meet famous personages like Josephus, Titus, Hannibal, Robert the Bruce, Sir William Wallace, Sir Francis Drake, Moses, Robert E. Lee, Frederick the Great, the Duke of Wellington, Huguenot leader Coligny, Cortez, King Alfred, and Napoleon just to mention a few. Henty’s heroes live through tumultuous historic eras meeting the leaders of that time. Understanding the culture of the time period becomes second nature as well as comparing/contrasting the society of various European and pagan cultures.
Well, this little review has been fairly choppy, and I’m sure I must have forgotten something along the way or been amiss in the chronology, but it basically catches you up to where we are at present. As the children get older they may prefer to read on their own, instead of sitting at Daddy’s side while I read to them. I guess that’s part of life. But right now it’s one of our favorite things to do.
Why read to your children? Well, NBC must show their public service announcement on reading to your children 10 times each week. And, what they say is true… it is a great bonding time. Reading together has meant all the world to our family. But Suzanne and I also have these reasons as well…
1.) First and foremost we want to impart a biblical worldview to the hearts, minds, and souls of our children. As parents we have a commandment from God to disciple our children for Christ and this is a fun and effective way to do it. We want to help prepare them to face the world once they leave our care.
2.) We want to pass on a love of reading to our children. I didn’t get excited about reading until much later in my life, and I want to do everything I can (that’s humanly possible) to ignite a fire in my children to love reading as early as possible.
3.) We want to help give our children an eye toward discerning the differences in literature – between the bad, the good, and the best.4.) We want to magnify their imaginations, creativity, and ability to think. TV is such a passive activity. Reading requires more work…and produces more fruit.
Basically, we are charged with providing a covenant home and raising covenant children. Deuteronomy 6 exhorts covenant parents to raise their children in the faith all throughout the day – when the children rise, as they move throughout the day, as they prepare for bed in the evening. Nurturing your children in the faith doesn’t have to be drudgery. In fact, it shouldn’t be at all. Reading is a wonderful way to show your children how our Christian faith plays out (or should play out) in the real world…even in the context of imagination.
Jake turns three this Sunday, which is Easter Sunday. I can’t wait to start all over again with him!
(PS – As I said at the beginning of this post, I have posted this before. Since the first time that I wrote this, not only is Jake a year older, but we now have a new son, Grant, who will be able to one day hear all these great stories. And while I’m writing something new, we also started these stories that the children seemed to respond to well: The Crown and Covenant series, which are three stories that take place in Scotland during the time of the Covenanters. )
Posted in Boys, Covenant Home, Generational Vision, Manliness, Parenting, Reading, Sons, tagged Boys, Covenant Home, Generational Vision, Manliness, Reading, Sons on December 2, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
Boys [should be] inured from childhood to trifling risks and slight dangers of every possible description, such as tumbling into ponds and off of trees, etc., in order to strengthen their nervous system…. They ought to practice leaping off heights into deep water. They ought never to hesitate to cross a stream over a narrow unsafe plank for fear of a ducking. They ought never to decline to climb up a tree, to pull fruit merely because there is a possibility of their falling off and breaking their necks. I firmly believe that boys were intended to encounter all kinds of risks, in order to prepare them to meet and grapple with risks and dangers incident to man’s career with cool, cautious self-possession…. —R.M. Ballantyne, The Gorilla Hunters
Posted in Covenant Home, Discipleship, Fatherhood, Generational Vision, Leadership, Manliness, Reading, tagged Covenant Home, Fatherhood, Generational Vision, Leadership, Manliness, Reading on November 30, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
by Doug Phillips at Vision Forum
My father has never been a wealthy man by the financial standards of the world, but he gave me many rich treasures: He gave me life. He gave me an education to which he contributed substantially through personal discipleship. He gave me his hard-earned good name. He gave me a love for the Word of God and a child-like acceptance of the truth of that Word. He gave me many challenging, inspiring, and wonderful experiences that helped to define my view of manhood.And my father gave me one physical possession that intersected with each of the above—he gave me a library, a library that he built over many decades, and which was hand selected by my father for me.But it all began when my father taught me the joy of reading and the blessing of being a son in his father’s library.As a boy, my father’s library was always a thing of awe and beauty. I loved the rich mahogany-stained shelves of the sacred inner sanctuary called “Dad’s Study,” but more importantly, I viewed the old square room as a time vault into the unfolding history of my father. The shelves of the library were not only thick with books, but phenomenal artifacts from Dad’s world travels. The books themselves came in every shape and size, with dust jackets and without, in multi-volume collections, and as single volumes—but the vast majority were quality hardbacks. The various seasons of my father’s life—from his childhood at the Boston Latin School, to his undergraduate work at Harvard, to his various epochs of service on behalf of Christ and country—seemed to be chronicled for every family member to see through the many books which he had acquired over a lifetime of adventure, experience, and intensive reading.
Click here to read the whole article.
Today a friend of mine asked me for a recommendation for a children’s story Bible (one that wasn’t too simplistic… but not over his child’s head). I recalled the following post I wrote last year and thought I would share it again. I still use this series with my kids (ages 12, 9, 6, and 2) during family worship.
Trying to find a Bible story book that you can read to your young children is often a challenge. Some aren’t much more than “Jesus loves you” messages – page after page – with a few baby cherub pictures thrown in. I guess such Bibles have their place. Then there’s a variety of other versions that add value in different ways. And, of course, it’s hard to beat simply reading a regular version of the Bible to your child. But my experience is that a good children’s Bible story book supplements a straight reading of the Bible in very helpful ways.
A few years ago I came across a set of Bible stories that I have read to my children ever since. These stories come in a Ten Volume set, entitled, The Bible Story by Arthur Maxwell. You can learn more about the book and the author by clicking here.
The series covers the entire Bible. No story, (I’m pretty sure), has been left out. Because the purpose of God’s Word is not always to give us every detail of a person’s life (example: Jesus’ childhood), the author respectfully (and I think fairly faithfully) “speculates” about such things. He never makes up things that a Bible character said or did. And if he’s just exercising a little “imaginative wonder,” he clearly communicates that.
The pictures are fantastic. Very colorful. My kids love the pictures as well as the stories. We bounce back and forth between an Old Testament volume and then a New Testament volume.
One of the things I like most about the series is that it was written in the 1950s. I know that there is no golden era of the Christian faith (though the Puritans come in at the top for me). However, I really like the fact that this is not yet another children’s book trying more to be “relevant” to the child than faithful to the text. Who needs that? The author gives a faithful rendering of the story (with bits and pieces of the actual biblical text interspersed throughout the story) in a winsome way that gives my children a real love for the stories and a deep desire to hear them again and again. You just can’t beat that.
Here’s the link again to the website that sells this series. I wasn’t able to find it at Christian Book.com. I didn’t check Amazon.
I would encourage you to buy this series at once and begin reading the stories to your children as soon as they arrive. You won’t regret it. It’s an impacting and fun way to shepherd your children. And as I said earlier, you just can’t beat that.