Rather than subject people to yet another “Top Ten Whatevers of 2018”, I thought I’d simply contribute a compilation of my
It’s a predictable place to start, but I read a lot of books. Books for pleasure, books for growth, books to rest with, and books to equip me to be a better husband/father/employee/disciple/friend. For a longer list of what I’ve read (and what I enjoyed reading the most) head to my page on Goodreads. Here are a few highlights.
- A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in Time by Sarah Arthur. Called a female C. S. Lewis, I had no idea how much L’Engle has contributed to shaping Christian thought. I’ve learned a great deal from her through this biography about prayer, worship, reading scripture, breaking bread in community, and conversations with spiritual friends as a means to not only fight the darkness but let shine the Light so lovely.
- Sola: How the Five Solas Are Still Reforming the Church edited by Jason K. Allen. This book is terrific. Every chapter is a wonderful, accessible primer for those who aren’t yet familiar with the five Solas of the Reformation. Each contributing theologian brought relevance for both the individual Christ-follower and the church. A quick read, and a worthy one.
- The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield. It’s true we are creatures who learn from story. And Butterfield’s stories demonstrate the messy, costly, rewarding ins-and-outs of what ‘Radically Ordinary Hospitality’ looks like: the cornerstone of the Christian life. Sure, it means changing your budget to allow for extra meals for people, unexpected guests at your table, or taking care of a
neighbour’spet while they’re out of town. But it also serves to reveal Christ’s redeeming purpose in the world: making strangers into neighbours, and making neighboursinto family.
- Spiritual Gifts: What They Are and Why They Matter by Thomas Schreiner. Books abound on spiritual gifts. Some are clear and helpful; some are downright kooky. Schreiner’s is the former, and I’m deeply appreciative of his conviction, but also his compassion towards those who hold a different view. Pick this one up, or read my full review for more (if you like. No pressure).
- Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot by Mo Isom. Isom writes with brutal honesty about her struggles with a distorted picture of sex, and the damage it wrought on her body, mind, and soul. But through this powerful testimony of her encounter with an even more powerful truth in the person of Jesus Christ the Redeemer, Mo calls on the church to not simply declare the “do not’s” of sex but to articulate a full, beautiful picture of the intimate and Christ-exalting image that sex is.
I subscribe to around 12-15 podcasts. These are mostly sermons from churches (including my own); lectures and chapel talks from seminaries; or thoughtful Christian takes on current events. I’m looking to branch out in 2019. For now, here’s two that I’ve enjoyed the most.
- The Happy Rant. What can I say: these guys are a blast. We like the same things, we mock the same things; it’s a beautiful friendship.
- Questions Kids Ask because kids ask tough questions, and I benefit from hearing how other people are
nuturingtheir kids to love Jesus.
(I asked our eldest to contribute these recommendations for me. The Marvel bias has now been explained.)
- Avengers: Infinity War. With character chemistry that is impressive (given the size of the cast) and action sequences that are visually fun without being messy, the Russo brothers made a superbly re-watchable film.
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. This is how feature superhero animation should be done. Stylistically, the comic-book visuals were terrific (and didn’t get tiresome); the hip-hop soundtrack perfectly suited; and the Spider-verse storyline stayed simple enough to be enjoyed easily by a wide audience.
- Black Panther. Cultural commentary genius aside, this felt like part of the MCU while remaining a solid stand-alone film. Michael B. Jordan was a great villain. Also, Black Panther: The Album is a diverse, bold soundtrack that represents Wakanda’s identity perfectly.
- Aquaman. A fresh take on the king of the seven seas which worked. Momoa fit the role (just don’t think too hard about Nicole Kidman as his mother? Really?) and the villains were convincing, without being over-balanced.
- Ant-Man and the Wasp. Every bit as funny as Ant-Man, this was a welcome light-hearted film after the devastation left after the events of Infinity War.
And to finish, here are five albums that I’ve given the most air time to in 2018.
- A Legendary Christmas by John Legend. Christmas music that isn’t cheesy? You bet. Upbeat, brassy, feel-good tunes for the festive season.
- Lab Experiments Vol. 2 by Cookin’ on 3 Burners. Fresh 2018 funk from Melbourne.
- Worthy by Beautiful Eulogy. Possibly my most played album the year. These guys are master lyricists, poets, and musicians. Every word carefully crafted, every song a story. Do yourself a
- Songs for Space Travel by Caleb James. This album is everything I’ve been waiting for.