Listening to: Further Seems Forever

Reading: It’s a reading list, the whole thing is about what I’m reading.

Writing About: New Year’s resolutions

Resolutions –

Last year I said I would do these things
I mostly did. I’d say I got a B+ on some pretty meager goals.
I doubt any of you are counting, but I said I’d write 25 times, I did…
But some of them were published at this fantastic site

Next Year’s resolutions:

1. Write 25 times– this seems to be a good pace for me

2. Control the Phone- I am not getting on stupid Facebook on my stupid phone. You all understand that feeling right?

3. Think about prayer- I am sure I’ll end up writing about this..but good, consistent prayer  is difficult for me. I want to work on that this year.

4. Go Vegetarian- I’ve done it before and I’m doing it again this year. I know I’ll write about this…long story short I don’t particularly care about healthy eating or animal rights, but I care a lot about efficiency, fairness, and environmental stewardship. I will have no real effect on any of those things, but I’ll do something.

What I read this year:

I made a list last year and mostly stuck to it.

The Life You Can Save and Famine, Affluence, and Morality – Peter Singer
Quick Summary: If you saw a child drowning in a shallow pond and saving their life would only cause a small inconvenience to you (getting dirty) you would do it. These books take that same simple logic and beg us to do more good with our time and money. The upside is a clear and powerful argument for good, the downside is that the argument requires a lot of cost analysis of human life and suffering. This guy is also huge in the animal rights world, which I don’t care about. So take him or leave him, but read famine, affluence… it’s like 30 pages long. Don’t Google him.

Jesus Christ for Today’s World – Jurgen Moltmann
It’s a reader, an overview of a theologian I really like. I got to feel like an intellectual without all of the hard work.

Henri Nouwen Daily Reader
I led the interns through this, it’s a great little devotional.

Velvet Elvis – Rob Bell
I never read it when Rob Bell was at his peak. I still like Rob Bell, for the record.

The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling
I knew they were rebooting the film, so why not?  Super enjoyable short, stand-alone stories.  Also, Rikki Tikki Tavi came from these…who knew?

Peter Pan – J.M. Barnes
You know, the one about the eternally irresponsible egomaniac.

The Areas of My Expertise – John Hodgman
This guy’s name get’s dropped in a lot of things I really like, I found this at a thrift store and gave it a shot. It is absolutely obnoxious. Spoiler Alert: it’s a book of odds and ends trivia….but it’s all made up. Don’t read this.

The Intellectual Devotional – Kidder and Oppenheim
This is an odds and ends reader of real facts and trivia. It fulfilled it’s duty. I said I was using my phone less, this is a bathroom book. Judge all you want, you’ve got magazines (or a phone!)

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me – Mindy Kaling
Every comedy Biography I’ll ever read has to stand up to “Bossypants.”  So far only “Born Standing Up” (Steve Martin) has done that.

The Bassooon King – Rainn Wilson
Not only is this comedy Biography no “Bossypants” it’s also no “Is everyone hanging out Without Me”  It was worth it for the two-ish chapters about being raised in a cult.  (Rainn Wilson is Dwight from the Office)

The Tragedy Of American Compassion – Marvin Olasky
Someone who knows I like reading about poverty related issues (and that I talk a lot about “Toxic Charity” and “When Helping Hurts”) recommended this. It is painstakingly researched history, and it really hates government welfare. It was tedious and challenging. This book inspired next year’s reading list (a solid look at the left hand side of poverty policy and theology). Point of reference: Newt Gingrich gave this book to the entire class of incoming Republican Senators in 1995. You may get mad, and this may be worth reading (if you’re patient or into history….most of the case is historical analysis).  Also, this is probably not worth reading, just read “Toxic Charity.”

The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander
Twice as engaging and challenging as “Tragedy,” this book thoroughly explains the problems of mass incarceration (especially of people of color). A terrifying problem followed by a few terrifying solutions (and a whole bunch of simple common sense ones as well). You’ll get mad, but this is worth reading.

Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run
Who cares if it’s good. I love Bruce Springsteen and I loved this!

The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis
We started reading Narnia with the kids. It’s great to be reading something enjoyable with them!

Next Year’s Reading List

Changing Children’s Minds – Howard Sharon
Rich Christians in an age of Hunger – Ronald Sider
Humanitarian Ethics – Hugo Slim
The Social Principles of Jesus – Walter Rauschenbusch
11/22/63-Stephen King (for the third consecutive’s like a million pages long)
Same Kind of Different as Me- Ron Hall
Wondrous Encounters (Lent Reader) – Richard Rohr
The Rich and the Rest of us – Tavis Smiley and Cornell West
Unclean-Richard Beck (for the third year, also..probably going to skip this if I find anything else good, of if “The Winds of Winter” finally gets published)
New Seeds of Contemplation- Thomas Merton
Between the World and Me-Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Fire next Time-James Baldwin
Most of Narnia (depending on how the kids hang in there)
Strangers in Their Own Land- Arlie Russell Hochschild

(Most of these are super short, I’m not that ambitious…also, probably not reading 11/22/63..again)img_3434