The end of the fall seminary semester always happily frees up extra time for personal reading projects. I have been concentrating lately on issues of Christianity and liberty at the time of the American War for Independence.
Common Sense, Thomas Paine
I read this influential pamphlet from 1776 of all places, on my phone. Welcome to the 21st Century.
The American and French Revolutions Compared, Friederich Von Goentz
John Quincy Adams found this essay so helpful, he had it translated and printed in America on his own dime. This is probably the single most helpful explanation I have read on how the American War for Independence was not a lawless revolution in the modern sense of the word, but a commitment to preserve the liberties already established in the various colonial charters, etc. This is in total contrast with the French Revolution, which sought to completely overthrow the existing society. Very highly recommended.
God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution, Thomas Kidd
A good survey of the various religious issues related to the American Revolution. Probably most helpful in explaining the concept of religious liberty, and why it was so important to non-Anglicans at the time of the war and directly thereafter.
What a Friend We Have in Jesus: The Evangelical Tradition, Ian Randall
I am reading several books on biblical spirituality in preparation for the field essay in the PhD program I am applying for at Southern Seminary. This was an easy-to-read survey of evangelical thought and practice since the Great Awakening on Bible reading, prayer, singing, missions, etc. It has been a joy to discover the deep and diverse roots of the evangelical Christian heritage when it comes to pursuing a vital relationship with God.
Bonhoeffer and Business Ethics, Walton Padelford
This book was a particular delight to read, because it was written by a personal friend. Dr. Walton Padelford has been a model of godliness to me for a number of years, and this book is the fruit of much reflection on what it means to follow after Christ in the world of business. I was struck by how very applicable this was to my own life and to my congregation here at Curve as we follow Christ in our vocations.
Selected essays by Robert Lewis Dabney
Several gems from this remarkably sharp 19th-Century Southern Presbyterian thinker, drawn from his Discussions. These included “The Uses and Benefits of Church History,” and “Civil Ethics.”