As our name says the site is intended to provide a place for discussion of Christian books , primarily those I consider worth reading.(There is a discussion On the value of reading here.) A number of book recommendations are made with reviews of each , as well as a number of articles on different subjects, articles which do not include recommendations. Books may be found by author and by subject. Discussion is warmly invited.
The first objective is really to promote some books. There is a twofold purpose in mind. Firstly to help readers who want to find good (I hope the best) books and don’t have much idea where to start. Many of us may need to read; there are an enormous number of books available; these are often, even within the Christian world, contradictory. Where do you start?
While my reading is far from narrow, the basic stance is unabashedly Pentecostal and evangelistic; when Jesus said ‘Preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead’, he meant it and he meant it for today. So our objective is to promote Christian material which will help this endeavour. This does not mean that the range of books covered is limited; it isn’t; there are books on evangelism, on healing, yes, but also theology, science, politics and so on. In fact there are a range of traditions drawn upon. The Bible is a big book; books about what Jesus did and said have the potential to fill the whole world, John tells us.
Secondly, given the enormous range of Christian material – and let it be said, of variable quality! – one person cannot possibly cover more than a fraction. Of course, I think the books I recommend are superb, but there may be other, better ones! There are also numerous web sites with high quality material, of which I know a tiny number. As a forum this website looks to provide links and alternative recommendations.
Having said this, there is a really a third, perhaps larger reason for writing. When you sit down to write, you write what you think you think; you come back a few months later and ask yourself, if your thinking is open to change, and mine is very much open to change, if you really believe what your wrote. It does seem to be the case that people get locked into a way of thinking that they feel bound to defend – take a position and then spend the next 10 years attempting to justify it. However, in my case, my spiritual life is not at all what I would wish it to be and the spiritual life is certainly tied to what you think; if we think of the spiritual and the mental faculties as somehow distinguishable, then there is two-way traffic, each informing the other; we might also think that they are not readily distinguishable, but in both cases we need to be looking carefully at what we think. Setting up a website like this means not only in a sense consolidating your thinking into visible and therefore reviewable form, but also puts it, potentially at least, into the public sphere, and, since pride requires that you not be wrong in the public sphere, it is therefore not just reviewable, but actively demanding constant review and overhaul.
In fact, at the time of writing these articles I am engaging in a serious overhaul of my thinking, specifically of years of substantial adherence to ‘word of faith’ teaching, which I now find needs to be worked into a bigger picture, with its weaknesses being taken into account.
It is an interesting question as to whether you would rather be right or wrong. At times some confirmation is a good thing. At times it is nice to refine and nuance a little. Whether it is better to be right or wrong is indeed an interesting speculation, but it is for sure that if you are wrong, you need to know it! At times, I have taken down articles in their entirety to redo them when I find I am mistaken. The outstanding case of this so far was an article on NT Wright; in my original article I did write with regard to a book I spoke ill of that I had not in fact enjoyed the book and therefore had probably read it badly; then I discovered that I certainly had read it badly. The lesson here would be to not speak ill of things – better be silent. There is another important point though – that we should constantly be extending grace to others and make allowances for the fact that they might be learning too; do please extend this grace to me in anything you read here, and suggest any improvements you might wish me to make.