February Books and a Bonus Music Video

I can’t explain how weird it is to suddenly be a reader. I’ve always had books on my nightstand, but this crazy obsessive reading is all new. It’s so fun! All I need now is a book club. And some fiction recommendations because I wasted 200 pages of my life on a beautifully written novel that turned into TRASH by the middle. I would have burned it if it wasn’t a library book. I was so mad, guys. Help me out!

While you’re thinking of your favorite novel, here’s what I read in February:

Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism (Drew Hart)

If you’re looking for light reading, this is not the month to consult my reading list. This book especially is extremely heavy and hard-hitting. Drew doesn’t mess around. He writes passionately about racism in the American church, which can be a touchy subject for some people. I found myself cringing a few times at his tone and the occasional overzealous exclamation point, but overall I think it’s a helpful book in acknowledging the issue of racism in America/the church, addressing it, and ultimately seeking Jesus in the middle of the mess.

Some quotes that resonated:
“Churches have often been the least helpful place to discuss racism and our white-dominated society.”

“Resist normalizing your own experience, but instead seek to explore and expose your own inconsistencies. Most of all, as people surrendered to the Holy Spirit, we must all ask God to reveal those areas in our lives that need God’s transformative work. All of us need this kind of self– examination and Spirit– filled transformation in our lives.”

One Church, Many Tribes (Richard Twiss)

Richard Twiss is passionate about leading his fellow First Nations people to Jesus. He writes a little about the painful history of missionaries who forced Native Americans to adapt to european culture instead of just sharing Christ. He writes about the destruction of the Native American family that occurred when children were sent to “Christian” boarding schools in the early 20th century. But the thing I love about this book is that it focuses on the future of sharing the gospel in culturally relevant ways with indigenous people around the world. It’s a very conversational book. Heartbreaking and thought provoking.

“I would love to see some of our Anglo church leaders, when asked to help a Native church, say, “Yes, but on one condition: only if you will in turn send your pastors and leaders to come and equip us with the grace and gifting God has given you as Native people.” When that day comes, it will verify that we are seen by our Anglo brethren as equal colaborers in the mission of the Church.”

Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys: A Native American Expression of the Jesus Way (Richard Twiss)

This is another book by Twiss. There is quite a bit of overlap between the previous book and this one, but this one is more academic. There are lots of citations and thorough explanations of what it means to present the gospel in a Native context. I love his hands-on approach and his determination to share the gospel in relevant ways despite many critics who do not agree with his passion for contextualization. It made me consider my own cultural context as it relates (or doesn’t) to the gospel.

The Pursuing God: A Reckless, Irrational, Obsessed Love That’s Dying to Bring Us Home (Joshua Ryan Butler)

My mom sent me this book (thanks mom!). Since the books I’ve been reading have been heavy on cultural awareness, I have to mention that this book cover makes me (and most easterners) cringe. Feet? GOD’S FEET? Odd at best, extremely offensive at worst. But that’s a side note because the message of this book is powerful and needed. In the western church we often say things like “I’m running after God” or “I’m chasing after God” to describe our relationship with Him, but the truth is that He is actually chasing us.

Korea: The Impossible Country (Daniel Tudor)

This is such a thorough book about Korea. I’m amazed by the amount of information the author was able to cover and how many insightful conversations it sparked between me and my (Korean) husband. Especially about the church and education. If you’re interested in Korea at all, I highly recommend it.

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind (Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson)

I don’t know about you, but at the end of the day, when my kids are sleeping, the last thing I want to read is a parenting book. But this one! I read it years and years ago, but when I reread it this month I realized that it might be the only parenting book I will ever need to read. Every page is extremely practical (with cartoon summaries and a reminder sheet for your refrigerator!). Five stars for sure.

99 Poems (Dana Gioia)

Dana Gioia is one of my favorite poets. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, you can hear him read some of his poems here. Listen to the first poem he explains and reads (The Apple Orchard) and I guarentee you’ll be hooked.

Can we nerd out about poetry sometime? I need a friend who scribbles poems on napkins and memorizes lines in the middle of the night in order to write them down in the morning. Anyone?

Finally. You guys. If we were middle school/highschool kids in 90s Korea, we would have been this guy’s biggest fans. I learned about Seo Taiji in the Korea book and was horribly offended that my husband hadn’t ever sang his songs/done his dance moves for me. Are we even married?! Thankfully my husband lit up when I mentioned his name, and the rest is history. The author of the book talks about how Seo Taiji transformed Korean music and introduced western style music to Korea by adding a uniquely Korean flare.

Basically when I saw his red jacket I was hooked. You’re gonna love this:

Happy almost-March, friends ♥

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