Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Recent Recommendations

Lately I have been enjoying quit a bit of good music, literature, and some other random stuff. I thought I would share some of it with my loyal readers (both of you).


A New Kind of Christian - Brian McLaren

Okay, I have put up a fight about this whole "emergent church" and "post-modern" thing. They have become such buzz words these days, it drives me crazy. Because of this I have been avoiding McLaren as well. Well, I finally caved and check out A New Kind of Christian from the library.

What an great book! Never before have I felt so much like someone opened up my head, ripped out my thoughts, and communicated them in a much better manner then I ever could have.

I was a little anoyed with how the very idea of the book somewhat contradicts the subject manner, McLaren is defiantly more "modern" then I think he would admit, but I also think that is needed. The book really breaks post-modern thought down in a modern sort of way. For a modern to truly understand post-modernity they need it explained by someone who understands modernity, in modern terms. I could not do this, guys like Donald Miller could not do this, we are to "post-modern", but McLaren is amazing at doing this. I think he is a modern with a strong draw towards post modernity, one who kind of bridges the gap if you will. I highly recommend this book to anyone who might feel like the modern church has left them out in the cold or feeling like a misfit, or anyone who wants understand why the church is loosing my generation at an alarming rate.

Through Painted Deserts - Donald Miller

I have become a fan of Miller recently. He is most famous for his book, Blue Like Jazz which is also I great book I would recommend, but Jazz left me with wanting more from his writing, the idea of the book defiantly out shined the writing style of it. Jazz kind of felt drumbed down and simplified. Not so with Through Painted Deserts. This book to me seemed more honest and pure then Jazz. It is actually a story of a road trip Miller took with a friend earlier in his life, leading him from where he grew up in Texas to where he now resides, in Oregon.

What I like the most about this book is how he takes the simple events of this journey and really lets the reader reflect on how God moved through him during those few months. There is no set out structure of "God will do this, God taught me this, God proved that to me" it is just an honest memoir of his travels that allow the reader to learn from those experiences in any way God is teaching them through Millers story (very "post-modern"). I think that is something really lacking from books in the "christian industry" where there are way to many books that tell you what you are "suppose to" get out of them instead of letting God use the book in your life any way He sees fit. Props to Miller on this one. I recommend it, esp. for anyone in a transitional period in their life.


Ships - Danielson

This is by far my favorite new album of 2006 so far. I also can tell you right now that not all of you are going to like it. Danielson (aka: Brother Danielson, the Danielson Famile, Dan Smith) to me represents the basic musical emotion of honest child like joy and innocence. If you are someone who takes things very seriously you won't get it, so don't bother. It is the kind of music that if you can bare with for a few minutes it will force you to smile and you won't stop until the album is over. Danielson touch's on some very deep and sometimes dark subject manner with his writing, but there is a constant thread of hope and joy strung through everything he does that to me is a perfect example of that child like joy and faith that can be found in Christ. Danielson is truly one of the most creative Christian artists to come around in a long time. You can witness what an effect creativity can have when you witness how successful he has been outside the "christian industry". Sadly it is also evidence that sometimes the world values creativity more then Christians do. That needs to change.

So, if you want something completely new, completely dif rent, and completely wonderful, check out Ships esp. tracks 1-4.

The Eraser - Thom Yorke

The Eraser is Thom Yorke's (front man for Radiohead) solo debt album. It is a wonderful beautiful piece of art.

If you are a Radiohead fan, this album is a must. If you find Radiohead inaccessible or weird, this album may be a better place to start then a Radiohead album. It is basically a tamer, easier to listen to and easier to understand Radiohead. Not as groundbreaking as each new Radiohead album, but just as beautiful. Get it!

Reprieve - Ani DiFranco

Ani has never been one who was afraid to speak her mind and tell you what she thinks about something.  That alone is reason to love her music. Then she combines it with a creative brand of folk rock that only she can bring and her passionate vocals that make you believe she really could change the world.

Whether you agree with her world view or not, this is a great musician with a lot of heart that anyone could enjoy. Give Reprieve a listen.


Kansas City T-Bones baseball: Because the Royals are terrible and Independent League baseball is fun.

Mt. Magazine State Park: Because the Rockies and Cascades are to far away.

My blog (shameless plug): Because in the next few weeks I will be going through a book called Gutsy Faith (which I designed) with a group of people and discussing it each week right here.


jennylou said...

Great recommendations! As you know, still not a fan of olde Danielson--does that mean I'm too serious?

~ jessica said...

Interesting, JR. I value the thought you put into your recommendations and am willing to give them a chance. Good lookin' out. :)

Amanda said...

LOVED A New Kind of Christian ... I whole-heartedly agree with your review. I might just have to check out some of the music selections. I always a bit behind in that area.

ableknife said...

good post. thanks for the little review on miller's book(s). and also, good music choices! while i'm here, thought i might add a book to check out called Jesus in the Margins by Rick McKinley. blessings~

Monkeyfodder said...

That's funny that you listen to Danielson familie. I use to listen to them years ago. Just bought The Eraser this week. I felt like Painted deserts didnt catch my attention as much as the other Donald Miller books. I justed finished To own a Dragon and thought it was great.

Charlie said...

I'm a huge McLaren fan, I'm glad you liked his book. The next one (the story we find ourselves in) is ten times better in my opinion though. I think McLaren would be pretty honest about his "briding the gap" from Modernity to Post-Modernity though, at least that's what I've heard him say in person.