Here are some of our favorite books we read and podcasts we listened to in 2016:
1. The Pastor’s Wife by Gloria Furman
I picked up this book at a conference Corey and I went to early in the year. I’d never heard of Gloria Furman and didn’t know what to expect as I sat down to read this book. What I found were many beautiful truths, reminders, and nuggets of wisdom, such as my job to be my husband’s #1 supporter and my responsibility to be hospitable. But maybe the most impactful idea I gleaned from this book is that although I am a pastor’s wife, neither I nor my family needs to be perfect. What a relief! We need only to depend upon God’s grace and to minister to people with love and compassion. While it’s clear from the title that The Pastor’s Wife was written with pastor’s wives in mind, the principles and truths in this book extend far beyond its intended audience, and all wives would greatly benefit from reading it.
2. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms by Gloria Furman
With her conversational writing style and scripture saturating the pages of all her books, Gloria Furman quickly became one of my favorite authors, so I was thrilled when Corey bought me another one of her books for Mother’s Day. Here’s a little taste of Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full:
“When I view motherhood not as a gift from God to make me holy but rather as a role with tasks that get in my way, I am missing out on one of God’s ordained means of spiritual growth in my life. Not only that, but I am missing out on enjoying God. No amount of mommy angst can compare to the misery that comes from a life devoid of the comforting, encouraging, guarding, providing, satisfying presence of our holy God.” ~Gloria Furman
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
I know, I know! I’m way late on this one. Corey encouraged me for years to read this book. I thought I wouldn’t like it. I loved it. Enough said.
4. God Made All of Me by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb
This is an excellent book to help children understand their bodies and to be able to recognize sexual abuse.
5. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
Of all the books I read this year, this one is my favorite. Rosaria Butterfield, a former lesbian and tenured English professor at Syracuse University, now a born-again believer, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, has one of the most beautiful and life-altering testimonies you’ll ever read. She is authentic, and her words are convicting and eye-opening. This is a must-read!
1. The Church History ABCs by Stephen Nichols and Ned Bustard
This is an extremely fun book for children, highlighting 26 men and women from church history ranging from Augustine to Ulrich Zwingli. Kristen and I enjoy this book more than Callen does (at least for now).
2. How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler & Charles VanDoren
This might not sound like an interesting book, especially if you can already “read”, but this book will expand your world by equipping you with the resources to truly interact with good books. How to Read a Book is probably one of my favorite books that I read this year.
3. Discipling by Mark Dever
This is a short and easy read by Mark Dever that provides practical insight into the church’s responsibility to invest in the spiritual good of one another.
4. On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius
I’ve now read this book twice, and both times blessed me as Athanasius makes the case for God becoming man. This book is both devotional and theological, and it’s short. Be sure to get the copy with C.S. Lewis’s introduction – he makes an excellent case for reading old books.
5. New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp
I recommend reading anything by Paul Tripp, not because you will love it, but because you need it. This daily devotional gets straight to the heart, at least it gets to mine.
6. The Confessions by St. Augustine
Augustine is a master theologian and philosopher who showcases the undeserving grace of God in his life. (I highly recommend books 1-9 for everyone and books 10-13 for the more philosophical minds.)
1. The Briefing from Dr. Albert Mohler
A “daily worldview analysis about the leading news headlines and cultural conversations” (albertmohler.com).
2. Mortification of Spin from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, featuring Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt, and Aimee Byrd
Good-natured sarcasm with practical and biblical insight regarding contemporary Christian topics.
1. The World and Everything in It from WORLD Radio
I listen to this 30 minute podcast Monday through Friday to get my fill of world news.
This is one of the best fictional podcasts I have listened to. The story is told from the perspective of a journalist who investigates a small town where everyone disappeared over ten years ago. (For mature audiences.)
This podcast has some vulgar language and is for a mature audience, but if you like investigative journalism this is the podcast for you. The 2 seasons are different, but I found both captivating and intriguing. I gained insight into the world around me, but my main reason for listening was sheer entertainment.
4. You Are Here
You Are Here is a sci-fi audio drama podcast that caught my attention because of its “choose your own adventure” model. If you read the Choose Your Own Adventure novels, then you will love this podcast. Plus, you will enjoy the 20th and 21st century pop culture references that the main character has programmed into her AI implant.
HONORABLE MENTION (Books):
Designed for Joy (Strachan & Parnell)
Christ or Chaos (DeWitt)
The Pastor as Public Theologian (Strachan & VanHoozer)
What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? (DeYoung)
The Big Picture Story Bible (Helm & Schoonmaker)
The Atlantis Gene (Riddle)
Seven Summits in Church History (Deusing)
Openness Unhindered (Butterfield)