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Thriving in a Godless Culture | Penny Keathley’s Summer Reading Recommendations

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As summer begins, we want to help you craft the perfect Summer Reading List. We asked Southeastern Seminary professors what books they would recommend, and we’ll share their recommendations in coming weeks.

Today, Penny Keathley (wife of Dr. Ken Keathley) recommends three books for your summer reading list.


Thriving in Babylon: Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture
By Larry Osborne (David C. Cook, 2015)

Keathley: Purchased to supplement a study of Daniel at our church, I couldn’t have chosen a more applicable read for 2020. Larry Osborne briefly reviews Daniel’s story, then thoughtfully and insightfully makes application.

This little book of just over 200 pages often made me laugh out loud, while deeply convicting my heart and mind. Osborne reminded me of such truths as “why our faith needs to be tested,” why “some things aren’t worth dying for,” and “why faithful is more important than successful.” During a chaotic year of information overload, this book helped me refocus on the greatness of our God rather than the size of our problems.    

The Gospel According to Satan: Eight Lies About God that Sound like the Truth
By Jared C. Wilson (Thomas Nelson, 2020)

Keathley: Do you, like me, often disregard as harmless the popular axioms we hear each day on social media or in conversation with our neighbors? Think “God just wants you to be happy,” “your life is what you make it,” or even this one often quoted by well-meaning Christian friends: “You just need to let go and let God.”  

Author Jared C. Wilson explains the origins of these statements and the ways truth has been twisted into lies. The evil one is a master of deception so we must learn to be good thinkers, able to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). This book is an engaging read and will be a resource as we seek to recognize and counter the lies propagated by the enemy.

Becoming Sage: Cultivating Meaning, Purpose and Spirituality in Midlife
By Michelle Van Loon (Moody, 2020)

Keathley: Since turning 60 a couple years ago, my thoughts often turn to how to live well and with purpose during this fourth quarter of life. Becoming Sage has 10 chapters that cover what it means to be “sage” and discusses how we can cultivate spiritual maturity in the second half of life. This would be a great little book for a small group or book club discussion as each chapter ends with questions for individual reflection and group discussion. Another 2020 read, this book helped me clarify my thoughts on shifting relationships with the church, with family and friends, and with my aging body and mind. As another reviewer said, “Becoming Sage is a journey away from the mirrors of other peoples perceived expectations about your life and toward the discovery of a true sense of purpose born out of communion with the One who created you.” 

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Penny Keathley

A native of Missouri, Penny has been married to Ken Keathley for 40+ years and has served in ministry alongside him or her pastor father since age 8. She enjoys gardening, music, reading, British murder mysteries, and sharing coffee and dessert with friends. Most of all, she enjoys time with her 4 grandchildren. She's a member at North Wake Church and serves on the trustee team and as a mentor to young moms in the LILY Moms group.

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