Extremely loud and incredibly close: This is a fictional story about a nine year old boy 'Oscar' who loses his father in the 9/11 attacks on the twin towers. Oscar discovers a key in his father's possessions and begins a quest to find out what it unlocks. The story is funny and moving and intriguing. It is very creatively written and has a host of colourful characters to carry you along.
For me though, the real plot is the story of fathers, and it is this that is the most compelling. Its a story of fatherhood lost and regained - the legacy and influence of ''dad". An easy read, complex in places, but captivating.
The monkey and the fish: I heard Dave Gibbons speak at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit and really enjoyed his contribution. Essentially he writes that church should regain third culture thinking: 1st culture is your ethnic culture, 2nd culture is your host culture, 3rd culture embraces & moves between both. He then develops this thesis as it relates to church life.It's not the most fluid read but he has some excellent insights and seems to be on the Christain fringe where there is a lot of innovation. I don't agree with all his conclusions, nevertheless its a provocative read and helpful on thinking through cultural boundaries.
The Shack: I decided that I would hate this book before I even opened a page! Having read it there is much in it that made my blood boil - the obvious two being God the Father and Holy Spirit portrayed as women and how the Trinitarian relationship work. However, having recently read Bruce Ware's excellent book on the Trinity it helped me chill on these points and finish the book.
Annoyingly, I really enjoyed the book because it does attempt to reveal the three persons of the Trinity clearly. Yes in a deeply flawed way but God is portayed as three persons and one God which is a hugely important distinctive of our faith. I am not sure it really answers the questions of suffering but it does open a dialogue. Worth a read.
Authority: This was my first Dr Martyn Llyod-Jones book and a huge contrast to the others! It is based on three lectures where he examines the authority of Jesus, the Bible and the Holy Spirit. It was his last chapter on the authority of the Holy Spirit that most caught me by surprise. He states that "from a practical standpoint, all that we have been considering up to this point may be of no value to us unless we know and experience the authority of the Holy Spirit". His comments on the Church's vain attempt to recapture authority through bigness & programmes & social action is as relevant today as it was in 1957 when he spoke.
I loved reading this book and had to keep slowing myself down as it is a short book!