Last summer I tried the experiment of inviting several friends to join me in reading Randy Alcorn’s Heaven and to write up their reactions to the book to be shared with others via email.
The initial response was positive but, except for some terrific reviews from Dr. Greg Gardner in Great Britain and Jim Bingham from here in the States (which were so good I posted them on Vital Signs Blog), I have little idea how others fared but I retain the hope that some of you were moved to read Alcorn’s wonderful book and thereby grow in your anticipation of the triumph and delight that waits for us all at the end of the age. And I’m delighted with those results of the experiment that I know worked. For instance, Greg and Jim had not read the book at all, but now have put it among their “must read” recommendations. That’s terrific. Also, my pastor read our posts about the book (links to them had appeared on my Facebook page) and he was moved to ask me to teach a Sunday School series on Heaven. Terrific again. And finally, a third blessing -- through the resultant correspondence, other book recommendations from some of you were passed on to me. Greg suggested Peter Kreeft’s old book, The Snakebite Letters and Pat Osborne suggested Os Guinness’ new book about apologetics Fool’s Talk. I liked them both an awful lot. Both were provocative, well-written, and very helpful. I enthusiastically second their recommendations.
Therefore, with these positive benefits from that first experiment – and with high hopes that another invitation might involve more of you this time around – I am sending along a spring project for you to consider. This one is a bit more open-ended in that it allows you to participate in 2 ways. 1) I am sending along titles of few of the books I’ll be reading this spring. If you’re interested, choose one or more of them, read along, and drop me a line…or a longer review like Jim and Greg did. I would love to post them on Vital Signs Blog or The Book Den. And, of course, even if you aren’t going to write anything up, you might still find the reading list of interest as you consider your own spring reading. 2) A second option is to send along a title of a book (or more than one) that you are currently reading. Reviews of a few sentences would be extremely valuable to others but even a quick thumbs up or down would be helpful too.
I’m sending this to some of the same guys I did last year along with a few others. I’m hoping many of you join in on some level. Thanks for considering it. And thanks for saying a prayer for the project’s success – that Christian men are stimulated to use their time wisely, to do the work of reading spiritually-enriching books, and to encourage one another in our common adventure in Christ.
So here’s my booklist. They’re all classics. And all except the Augustine, they are all books I’ve read before. I do a lot of that.
Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength (C.S. Lewis)
Manalive (G.K. Chesterton)
The Church at the End of the 20th Century (Francis Schaeffer)
Saving Leonardo (Nancy Pearcey)
Of course, if you’re busy with other things or, for whatever other reasons, you’re not interested, that’s cool. We will keep in contact at other times and over different matters. But, of course, you can still lift up that prayer!