Top Reads of 2015

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In line with an annual tradition here at The Prodigal Thought, I’m listing my top reads from 2015. Due to the commitments of my doctoral studies and book, I was not able to provide my usual review of these. Nor was I able to dive into any fiction this year (until the holiday period).

The list comes in no particular order. Continue reading

Moving Beyond Ideas to the Heart

PrintOver the past few years, I’ve really come to appreciate the work of Jamie Smith. One book in particular that’s caught my attention is Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation.

In particular, Smith looks at how our formation (or he uses the word education at times) is not ultimately about disseminating ideas, but rather shaping hearts and desires. It’s profound to consider this, really. Not just at the Christian university level, but also for the local church setting. In our teaching and preaching, are we primarily just communicating ideas or are we shaping deep desires. As he remarks, education (or formation) is really happening at all times. So how are we forming those in our care?

To give an example, Smith considers the role of the mall within our western culture. Consider how this institution shapes and forms not just the minds of people, but it’s hearts, desires, and even bodies. It is a full five-sensory formational experience, if we allow it to be.

What if Christians recalled that the five senses are good gifts from God and are available to help form us at our core?

For Christian leaders and educators, this is a book worth picking up. I’ve put some quotes below that come from the book. Hopefully you’ll see how Smith begins to flesh this out a bit more. Pretty intriguing stuff! Continue reading

My Review of N.T. Wright’s New Release

If you aren’t aware, N.T. Wright recently came out with a his newest release, The Paul Debate: Critical Questions for Understanding the Apostle. I appreciate Baylor Press sending a review copy to me! Wright continues to offer thoughts at the table of Pauline studies, this time as a response to the critiques of his massive work, Paul and the Faithfulness of God.

Over at The Pneuma Review, I have just contributed a review of this recently published work. I’ll let you head over there to read the review, but here are a few thoughts from the article: Continue reading