One of my favourite things about the blog world at this time of year is the lists of recommended books. I’m curious to see what people recommend and it’s fun to find a book that really captures my fancy.
I’ve blogged about quite a few books over the last number of months, but I’ve also read others which, for one reason or another, haven’t got a mention here. So here are two further books that I particularly enjoyed this year but which haven’t got a mention to date.
Numero uno is The Good God: Enjoying Father, Son and Spirit by Michael Reeves. (Confusingly enough, it’s published in the United States as Delighting in the Trinity.)
Yes, it’s about the trinity, but don’t let that make you think it’s dry or heavy-going or irrelevant to your day-to-day life. Rather, this brief and easy-to-read book is the most beautiful extended description of God that I’ve ever read. We say “God is love”, but this book shows you what that really means. What difference does the trinity make? All the difference in the world, Reeves says. Read The Good God to find out why.
Here is an extract to give you a flavour of what you’re in for.
The very nature of the triune God is to be effusive, ebullient and bountiful; the Father rejoices to have another beside him, and he finds his very self in pouring out his love. Creation is about the spreading, the diffusion, the outward explosion of that love. This God is the very opposite of greedy, hungry, selfish emptiness; in his self-giving he naturally pours forth life and goodness. He is, then, the source of all that is good, and that means he is not the sort of God who would call people to himself away from happiness in good things. Goodness and ultimate happiness are to be found with him, not apart from him.
The second one is C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce.
This is captivatingly written (it is Lewis, after all!) and thought-provoking, truth-filled theological fiction. Much of it is a series of conversations between people and Spirits from heaven, and each of those people has to make a decision whether to go towards heaven or turn away from it. I don’t have the book to hand as I borrowed it from a friend, but I believe that what comes out so clearly is the things people hold on to—cling to—refuse to give up—even in the face of the possibility of eternal joy that is presented to them. Lewis paints things so vividly. Our horrible, fateful self-centeredness. The glory of God and of heaven. The fact that there is no trifling and no middle ground.
This quote (thanks, goodreads!) expresses that so well.
“If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.”
So… if you were in need of book suggestions…
Why, you’re welcome!