In keeping with my tradition started this day last year, here are my personal top 5 reads of 2010. The selection is primarily based on 1) how enjoyable the read was and 2) how it advanced my understanding. These books were not necessarily released in 2010.
This was a delightful read for an academic biography. I am convinced that anyone serious about studying giants in the history of the Christian Church need to add Jacob Arminius to their list (if he’s not already on it), and Carl Bangs book, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, is a must read.
Most important of all, those who stand opposed to Arminius or Arminianism, but who have not read this book, oppose what they do not understand.
Faced with what seems to me to be the reality that the earth must be older then six or ten thousand years old, but also unable to accept any evolutionary theology, how do I reconcile a consistent reading of Genesis 1-11 with the tension of a created earth which is older then a biblical timeline would allow?
In enters John Walton who offers a reading of the text (not too discimilar then Henri Blocher’s approach) which helped me understand the point, meaning or message of the text.
Imaginary Jesus is pure pleasure. I loved this book, laughed out loud and shared it with friends. But Matt’s intent is not just to entertain. The message of the book is clear: we Christians tend to create Jesus’ of our own imaginations which suit our… whatever. Our insecurities, our pride, our legalism, our lasciviousness, even our theology.
And just when you think Matt has found the “real Jesus”, among a home church group promoting “organic” Christianity, think again!
Here is an Old Testament study which appreciates the diversity within the unity of scripture, and seeks to understand that tension. Meier’s book was particularly helpful in showing how and why angels began to mediate, how and why the prophetic ministry was once invited to the council room of God, had a say in God’s decisions and could even influence them (i.e. the future was partly open), and how and why the prophetic minsitry became remote to God after the exile so that the divine will progressively became more and more deterministic.
I wonder if grasping this progression may be a way to transcend the Calvinism/Openness debates by allowing the Old Testament tension to stand (while still seeking to understand and reconcile it – thesis anyone?).
Admittedly apprehension about this book, being neither a fan of Viola’s idealistic “Christianity” nor Sweet’s emergent ideologies. It turned out to be a fantastic read which zeroed in on a particular piece of theology which has been having a great deal of impact on my overall scheme… the New Testament motif of union with Christ.
Encore: Best Movie 2010 – Inception
Yet again my wife has show just how well she knows me when, from under the tree I received Inception. There were many great movies to choose from this year. Among my top picks are The Book of Eli, The “A” Team, and Robin Hood. But nothing beats a good action movie which also stretches the intellect. Spoiler Alert!: It is my conviction that there are no scenes within Inception which transpire in the real world. I believe the whole movie takes place in Dom Cobb’s (Leonardo Dicaprio) dream which he and his wife shared. I also believe, therefore, that the only person to have escaped the dream was his wife.