So far this year, to my delight, I’ve moved twelve books from my extensive list of “books to read” to my annual record of “books I’ve read.”
Here are some of the best of my eclectic selections.
When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.
Fikkert and Corbett re-define “poor” to mean a poverty of being that we all experience and that is rooted in “brokenness of the foundational relationships.”
Often poverty-alleviation effort “…exacerbates the poverty of being of the economically rich – their god-complexes – and the poverty of being of the economically poor – their feelings of inferiority and shame.” Therefore, “until we embrace our mutual brokenness, our work with low-income people is likely to do far more harm than good.”
This is a must read for anyone interested in effectively fighting poverty.
Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte
Most of us have experienced poorly constructed and/or delivered presentations. They do not resonate. Duarte’s book is an inspiring resource for communicators of all sorts. Along with practical instruction for organizing, preparing and delivering material, she refers readers to some of the finest presentations ever given.
Under the heading of “Resonance Causes Change,” Duarte writes, “Resonance occurs when an object’s natural vibration frequency responds to an external stimulus of the same frequency.” P. 4.
“You are not the hero who will save the audience; the audience is your hero…You are the mentor. You’re Yoda, not Luke Skywalker.” P. 20 The presenter’s goal is to motivated people to move from “what is” to “what could be.”
A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good, by Miroslav Volf
Volf, of Yale University, presents a dense yet digestible vision of theology in action from the enlightened perspective of one who has lived a Christian life in non-Christian cultures (Croatia and Serbia.)
“Unlike those who think religion should stay out of politics, I will argue in this book that religious people ought to be free to bring their visions of the good life into the public sphere…” intro p. x
“Properly understood, the Christian faith is neither coercive nor idle. As a prophetic religion, Christian faith will be an active faith… To be engaged in the world well, Christians will have to keep one thing at the forefront of their attention: the relationship between God and a vision of human flourishing.” P. 54
And, since I love a good novel, I’ve read some of those too: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin, The Queen and the Handyman by my blogging friend Maria Tatham, 11/22/63 by Stephen King, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye by Rachal Joyce, and When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin.
What have you read this year?