Below you'll find a selection of the most thought-provoking books I've read this year—each of which are helpful in understanding some particular aspect of current political disfunction, racial divides, religious liberty debates, and global movements for social justice. This list is a mix of historical, academic, and Christian theological perspectives. Each author has helped me walk through a year of intense personal reflection with more hope, clarity, context, and resolve to scrutinize my own ideological presuppositions in order to know Christ more fully and tell others of His love more humbly. May these lead you to Grace and Peace. -MC


Political Visions & Illusions: A Survey & Christian Critique of Contemporary Ideologies

David Koyzis / IVP Academic; 2nd edition / 2019

From the book:
"It is a truism that the biblical story starts with a garden and ends with a city. Redeemed humanity does not return to Eden; it enters the new Jerusalem, with the saving work of Jesus Christ paving the way, reordering our cultural activities to God's glory."

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The Civil War as a Theological Crisis

Mark A. Noll / University of North Carolina Press; Reprint edition / 2015

From the book:
"...it was not Americans’ professed desire to follow the Bible alone that wrote the moral history of the war but rather their inability to escape individual caprice and unchecked materialism."

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Free at Last?: The Gospel in the African American Experience (IVP Signature Collection)

Dr. Carl Ellis / IVP / 2020

From the book:
"If we are Christian, we should be active in our cultures, not in the name of Christianity-ism or Christianity, but in the name of Christ."

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Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope

Esau McCaulley / IVP Academic / 2020

From the book:
"What brings the warring parties of the world together is not the emergence of a new philosophy of government; it is not free market capitalism, communism, socialism, or democracy. It is a person: the root of Jesse. Isaiah then calls for Black people, in the midst of their pain, to begin to envision a world not defined by our anger. The Bible calls on us to develop a theological imagination within which we can see the world as a community and not a collection of hostilities. It does so by giving us the vision of a person who can heal our wounds and dismantle our hostilities."

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Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ (Eugene Peterson's Five "Conversations" in Spiritual Theology)

Eugene Peterson / Eerdmans; Reprint / 2013

From the book:
"Church is an appointed gathering of named people in particular places who practice a life of resurrection in a world in which death gets the biggest headlines..."

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The Federalist Papers

Alexender Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay / Signet / 1788

From the book:
"Has commerce hitherto done anything more than change the objects of war? Is not the love of wealth as domineering and enterprising a passion as that of power or glory?"

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