“The Best Book I Read This Year:” On Liturgy, Conversation, Hospitality, Cancer, Black Dignity

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What’s the best book you’ve read this year? We posed this question to our Intersect contributors, and we’ll share their recommendations over the coming weeks. (Read list 1, list 2 and list 4.)

Today, Intersect contributors highlight books on liturgy, conversation, hospitality, cancer and black dignity — from authors Douglas Kaine McKelvey, Sherry Turkle, Rosaria Butterfield, Kate Bowler and Austin Channing Brown.

Editor’s Note: You can download two Intersect-exclusive ebooks from Bruce Ashford for free. Details>>

Every Moment Holy: New Liturgies for Everyday Life
by Douglas Kaine McKelvey (Rabbit Room Press, 2017)

Brittany Salmon

Brittany Salmon: Every Moment Holy is a breath of fresh air in every sense of the phrase. It is a beautiful book aesthetically, but then its content is equally stunning. Every Moment Holy is a book of liturgies (prayers) that help the reader see their daily tasks and circumstances as holy.

Reading this book has made me appreciate the goodness of God in a variety of circumstances, but I never knew how much I could see his grace in my morning cup of coffee. Thanks to a Liturgy for the Ritual of Morning Coffee, I now see his goodness in the stillness of morning and have a prayer to start my day and focus my attention on Christ. I cannot recommend this book enough.

(Read Brittany’s review of Every Moment Holy.)

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age 
by Sherry Turkle (Penguin Books, 2016)

Todd Borger: Reading Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death made me want to revisit this book that came out a few years ago. Turkle, a former editor for Wired magazine, makes the point that the ubiquity of screens and the addictive relationships we have with them is fundamentally changing the way that people have or do not have interpersonal relationships.

Using Thoreau’s three chairs—one for solitude, two for friendship, and three for society—she moves through the three areas of solitude, personal relationships, and relationships in the workplace and school. She finishes with an analysis of where artificial intelligence is taking us in terms of our relationships. Turkle’s book not only presents clearly the problems we face in this onslaught against interpersonal relationships, but she also includes very practical suggestions on how to wage war against the enemy. An excellent read.

The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in a Post-Christian World
by Rosaria Butterfield (Crossway, 2018)

Ronnie Winterton

Ronnie Winterton: Describing the radically-ordinary hospitality that helped bring this radical feminist to faith in Christ, Rosaria Butterfield encourages believers to practice hospitality in a hostile culture in The Gospel Comes with a House Key.

The stories about her life and neighbors make you laugh, feel sad, be angry and rejoice. All the while, she teaches a theologically profound method of evangelism that somehow seems overwhelming, yet, by the Holy Spirit, is entirely worth it.

Everything Happens for a Reason: and Other Lies I’ve Loved
by Kate Bowler (Random House, 2018)

Alysha Clark: I absolutely loved this book. Bowler’s memoir is heartbreaking and hilarious as she explores the concepts of suffering, death, communication, the prosperity gospel and hope as she recounts her own story (so far) of struggling through cancer and the life changes that come with it.

The intersection of her academic research with her life experience provides a perfect example of analyzing the intersection between faith and culture, religion and the academy. (Full disclosure: I listened to the audiobook instead of reading it.)

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness
by Austin Channing Brown (Convergent Books, 2018)

Yana Conner

Yana Conner: Austin Channing Brown is a brilliant writer. In her memoir, I’m Still Here, she gives an honest and endearing account of growing up as a double minority in America. This book empowered me all the more to bear up under the joys and hardships of being black and female for the glory of God.

What is your favorite book of the year? Comment below and let us know!

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The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture seeks to engage culture as salt and light, presenting the Christian faith and demonstrating its implications for all areas of human existence.

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