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  • My Book Roundup of 2016

    My Book Roundup of 2016

    This year I finished reading sixty books from cover to cover. The goal of all this reading is to learn, to listen, to grow and eventually to share through conversation, preaching, songwriting and writing. But more to the point, I read because I enjoy it. I love learning and the input of sages, prophets and witty seminarians is my treasure.

    One of my goals for 2017 is to write more. Brenda Ueland said, “Writing is the action of thinking, just as drawing is the action of seeing and composing music is the action of hearing.” So with all this reading, I will take more time to write, thinking and composing.

    Below are listed five great books I recommend and a list of books I read in 2016

    Here are five great books I recommend from my reading.

    1. Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious by David Dark (buy)

    There wasn’t a single book released in 2016 that better connected my thoughts. Circles, highlights, markings fill my hardback copy. I found myself returning to it throughout the year and even had a sermon series riffing on this thought (I called it "The Undivided Life" part 1, part 2). If the word ‘religion’ is an ugly thing for you consider that we all, in some way, are religious. It need not bother you. Dark says, “We can’t get past religion any more than we can live without communal ties, societies, stories or symbols. It’s what we’re up to. It is, in so many ways, the human subject.” Or, for any reading that with an idea that you are free from being religious, Dark shows us that “The space of your worship is the space of your life. 

    I loved this book so much I ordered several copies, having them unsuspiciously delivered to friends. It was a sensitive mission. I had to be sure the recipients would be curious enough to open the striking, meme-like cover. In July, I invited David Dark to share with us at DreamHouse, our local church. You can listen to that HERE. As a last witness of sorts for how much I liked David’s thoughtfulness and enjoyed his writing on this strange topic of life being too short to reject a thing most people say they hate (religion, remember?), I offer this promo video to woo you into reading.

    2. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (buy)

    I read this book immediately after reading David Dark’s “Life’s Too Short...” because he emotionally connected me to the profound story while telling his own tale. Gilead is a 2005 Pulitzer Prize Winner and for good reason. Marilynne Robinson is a living force of a writer. Her book is a work of fiction written in the voice of an old preacher who is penning thoughts to be shared with his young son one day well after he is gone. The son is the fruit of a second marriage. The fear is he won't be there for him and so he writes.

    This book is a gift to me from above. In ways, it feels like the memoir my own grandfather who I didn't grow up knowing well. The truth of this fiction struck me as I read the anecdotes, apprehension, honest talk, fears and profound moments being passed from one generation to another. This is the kind of book you read and shut, closing your eyes to image yourself becoming a better man. Pick this up and enjoy.

    3. For the Life of the Word by Alexander Schmemann (buy)

    This is a classic in theology. It has changed the way I see Church and church. It has changed the way I see the world and worship and vocation. It has changed the way I see word, water, wine and bread. I plan on reading this every year for the foreseeable future. Lots to chew on.

    4. Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe by Erin Lane (buy)

    I grabbed this book for 99 cents looking for a new book to read before boarding a long flight. By the second chapter, I could've shouted 'Eureka!' as the appropriateness of reading this chance of a book in that moment of my life took me by surprise. Funny. Deep. Introspective. Challenging. Well written. The author says that she was raised Catholic, then Charismatic and now attends a Presbyterian church while her husband is a youth pastor at a Methodist Church. She shares how all that is complicated and life-giving at the same time. Much of this story is written while Lane is a seminarian at Duke University (at the time this was written). Her honesty and questions are the sort I hope many more people will read. I think what is in here is in a lot of people’s heads these days.

    5. Fidelity: Five Stories by Wendell Berry (buy)

    I found this at my local library. Wendell Berry wrote fictional stories, essays and poems about a fictional community for 35 years. I find his writing healing balm for my soul. If all the world would read Berry’s books we might all calm down a little and love a little deeper. Run, do not walk, to your library (or Amazon) and buy this beautiful book. His chapter "Prayer Without Ceasing" is a powerful opener.

    Finally, here’s my complete list of what I read last year (in alphabetical order by category). If you have any questions or comments about anything, make a comment or write to me at  scottcrowdermusic <at> gmail


    1. The Master's Men by William Barclay

    2. Letters from a Skeptic by Greg Boyd

    3. The Parables of the Kingdom by Robert Farar Capon

    4. Matthew: The Gospel of Identity by Michael Card

    5. Mark: The Gospel of Passion by Michael Card

    6. Luke: The Gospel of Amazement by Michael Card

    7. John: The Gospel of Wisdom by Michael Card

    8. His Fulness Received by Paul Graves

    9. Glorious Covenant by Stan Newton

    10. The Case for Jesus by Brant Pitre

    11. The Orthodox Pastor: A Guide to Pastoral Theology by Archbishop John Shahovskoy

    12. The Last Trial by Shalom Spiegel

    13. Matthew for Everyone (Part One and Two) by N.T. Wright (2 Volumes)

    14. Mark for Everyone by N.T. Wright

    15. Luke for Everyone by N.T. Wright

    16. John for Everyone (Part One and Two) by N.T. Wright (2 Volumes)

    17. Acts for Everyone (Part One and Two) by N.T. Wright (2 Volumes)

    18. Paul for Everyone (Romans - Part One and Two) by N.T. Wright (2 Volumes)

    19. Paul for Everyone (Galatians & Thessalonians) by N.T. Wright

    20. Simply Christian by N.T. Wright

    21. Simply Jesus by N.T. Wright


    1. The Way by Josemaria Escriva

    2. Lent For Everyone - Matthew (Year A) by N.T. Wright

    /// FICTION

    1. Fidelity: Five Stories by Wendell Berry

    2. BFG by Roald Dahl

    3. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

    /// LIFE

    1. The Culture of Empowerment by Steve Backlund

    2. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

    3. The Gospel According To America by David Dark

    4. Life's Too Short to Pretend You're Not Religious by David Dark

    5. The Invitation by Shawna Diehl

    6. Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe by Erin S. Lane

    7. 50 for Your Future by Tavis Smiley

    8. Alone Together by Sherry Turkle

    9. Dare To Dream by Mattheus van der Steen


    1. All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting by Jennifer Senior

    2. Hints on Child-Training by H. Clay Trumbull

    /// WORLD VIEW

    1. Building a Discipling Culture by Mike Breen

    2. Work: The Meaning Of Your Life by Lester DeKoster

    3. Work Matters by Tom Nelson

    4. On Christians & Prosperity by James Schall

    5. Flourishing Churches by Dr. Charles Self

    6. The Salt Covenant by H. Clay Trumbull


    1. The Tabernacle of Moses by Kevin Conner

    2. Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina by Tim Gray

    3. The Worship of the Early Church by Ferdinand Hahn

    4. The Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn

    5. Letter & Spirit by Scott Hahn

    6. Rediscovering Kingdom Worship by Myles Munroe

    7. Glorious Communion by Stan Newton

    8. The Great Giver by Matt Pastor

    9. For the Life of the World by Alexander Schmemann (I read this last year too)

    10. A Moveable Feast by Terry Timm

    11. Unlocking the Heavens by Shane Warren

    12. Preaching and Leading Worship by William H. Willimon

    13. Word, Water, Wine and Bread by William H. Willimon

    Other books I began in 2016 that I am still reading include: The Oxford History of Christian Worship (Oxford University Press); The New Testament in Antiquity: A Survey of the New Testament within Its Cultural Context (Zondervan); Kinship by Covenant by Scott Hahn; Worship in the New Testament by Gerald Borchert; The Four Witnesses by Robin Griffith-Jones and How to Speak, How to Listen by Mortimer J. Adler.

    - Blessings // SC