So yesterday I posted the Top Five Fiction Books I Read in 2014. Today I want to do the same thing but for the non-fiction books that I read. I must admit that I read A LOT more non-fiction than fiction this year so this post is decidedly hardly to write. All that said, let's get in to it!
5: Deep Comedy: Trinity, Tragedy, & Hope in Western Literature by Peter Leithart
I really enjoyed reading this book by Peter Leithart (Honestly, I enjoy reading just about anything he writes). in Deep Comedy Leithart shows how important the doctrine of the Trinity is to literature. He then goes on to show the ways that non-trinitarian cultures (classical cultures) were (ultimately) tragic; which shined through in their literature. Further, Leithart reveals how a uniquely trinitarian view of God has implanted itself in Western literature which is (ultimately) comic. For anyone who is interested in the intersection between theology and literature (which should be everyone) this book is for you!
4: To a Thousand Generations: Infant Baptism—Covenant Mercy for the People of God by Douglas Wilson
While I was already convinced of infant baptism by the time I came to this book I still found it extremely helpful. Wilson offers some unique arguments in To a Thousand Generations that I had not come across before. The most helpful thing about this book is the way it proves that a baptistic reading of the New Testament really makes no sense!
3: Through New Eyes: Developing a Biblical View of the World by James Jordan
As I said above, this post was significantly tougher to narrow down because there were about four or five books that I had to leave out that I really enjoyed. One of those books was A House For My Name by Peter Leithart. The reason why I want to bring it up here is that Leithart admits that his book (A House For My Name) serves as a "For Dummy's" version of Jordan's Through New Eyes. In other words, both books are about the same material but Jordan's book is longer and more in depth. Specifically, both books seek to take the reader through the Old Testament and provide a biblical set of lenses for reading the Bible. Jordan, specifically, is critical of a modern approach to Biblical interpretation which takes our concerns and our outlook on the world and then approaches the Bible to answer those questions. Jordan desires that we become concerned with what the Bible is concerned with and then set about to learn from it that way!
2: Against Christianity by Peter Leithart
All I can say about this book is "WOW!" Leithart really blew the doors off with this one. Now, obviously, Leithart is not "against Christianity" in the way that we would think such a title would suggest. Instead, as Douglas Wilson has put it, Leithart is against "Christianism." Against Christianity challenges so many assumptions about the Christian faith that we've comfortably embraced in America and the West in general. The book is short but it pulls NO punches. It was really hard not to put this one as #1 on my list.
1: Desiring the Kingdom & Imagining the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith
So yes, I cheated and put two books for my number 1. However, both these books are apart of a 3 volume series by Smith named the "Cultural Liturgies Series" (Volume 3 forthcoming) so take it easy on my. These books were just what I needed to read. Last year I devoured a few great books on the Christian concept of culture that really broke old foundations and laid some new ones in terms of how I saw the way the church and the people of God interact with the world. These two books by James K.A. Smith really helped me to put a lot of scattered puzzle pieces together that were scattered in my thoughts. I've written quite a lot about these two books including a "Liturgy Series" that I've been working through.
These books had a big impact on my 2014 so if any of them sound intriguing to you then I bet they will have a strong impact on your 2015 if you read them!
Michael lives with his wife (Caroline) and dog (Beau) in Athens, GA where he teaches history and economics to high schoolers. Michael enjoys reading, watching soccer, drinking bourbon, and taking walks with his wife and dog.