The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the tag “Books”

Top Ten Books Pastors Should Read

This post was originally published at the Becoming Human blog. You can read the entirety of the post here.

Every time I see a list of the “Top Ten Books for Pastors” I can almost always guess what they’ll be. I may be wrong on which specific books will be suggested, but I’m always right on what kind of books will be suggested: non-fiction. Allow me to diverge from the regular fare of book suggestions.books1

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Understanding the Puritans

The scholarly study of the Puritans has been marked in recent years by attempts to understand them in a fully transatlantic context. This follows a broader trend in early American history to focus on “Atlantic world” perspectives, rather than proto-national American ones. While others could view this de-emphasizing of the future United States as ideologically dubious, I think it is a sanguine development for understanding the Puritans in their own places and time. ~ Thomas S Kidd, PhD Read more…

Impeaching Politics: Saturday Reading Habits

reading the morning newspaper

If you are reading this, you may be in danger. You may be in danger of reading too much politics. Much of the content published here at the Kuyperian Commentary is political in nature and the odds are good that political content drew you here. That is well and good (in fact, tell your friends), and I have no desire to impugn anyone’s sense of civic duty, but I have noticed that often consumption of political news and political commentary is not something done in moderation. As a case in point, consider the people in your social media networks. We can all think of the friends who “just aren’t that into politics” and those who are posting and tweeting political graphics, statistics, rants, etc. a dozen or more times a day (unless you are that friend, in which case, like a Mr. Collins, you may not realize it). It could be argued that one has to read a great deal from a variety of sources to get a balanced picture, but one could also balance bourbon with vodka and not end up sober. Now, I don’t want to take the bottle away, just put some food in those stomachs. Read more…

The Medium is Nearly as Vital as the Message

“The reality is that sometimes the packaging really makes a difference in what you can take away from the book.  I remember when Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose first came out in the 80’s.  I was just blown away by it.  I was captured from page one.  As William of Baskerville wanders up the trail toward the monastery and begins to notice clues that wow everyone.  He out-sherlocked Sherlock.  And then through the labyrynthine theology that takes you to the great climax at the end, I was hooked.  I told every pastor friend of mine; every theologian; everybody I knew teaching at seminary, ‘You have to read this book!’  Several of them, having become accustomed to such messages from me, put it off until it came out in paperback.  And then I started to get this trickle of voicemails and emails…well, I guess it was faxes back in those days.  Anyway, a trickle of messages from folks saying, ‘I can’t get into this.  It’s obtuse.  It’s dense.  I’m not getting anywhere.’  And then I discovered that they’re reading it in a mass-market paperback!  On paper that would have been rejected for USA Today for heaven’s sakes!  Not even worth printing factoids on it.  So I told them, ‘Go to Crown or Barnes and Noble.  Go to the remainder table.  Buy yourself a hardback, and read it properly.’  Now that may seem silly, but in point of fact,  prose that is dense and difficult needs an appropriate architecture to contain it.  Aesthetics matter.  Aesthetics always matter.  We, who think the height of American architecture is some tin shed on a highway, actually believe that aesthetics don’t matter.   But when you walk into a stone cathedral in the middle of Stephansplatz, a block from Mozart’s home, you realize, ‘you know–tin sheds aren’t all they’re cracked-up to be.’  And neither are crummy paperbacks…  Medium is nearly as vital as the message.”

George Grant (the one in Franklin, TN) from the lecture “Shelf Life: Reading, Thinking, and Resisting the Tyranny of the Urgent”.  You can purchase it here.

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