Books I’ve Been Reading, Summer 2013

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July 5, 2013 by Jay Helms

The Rage Against God by Peter Hitchens

Written by the brother of Christopher Hitchens, this is a fascinating response to his own brother Christopher’s writings about God. Peter was himself an atheist for many years. His view of the world and of God was profoundly shaped by his experiences living in Godless Russia for a number of years as a foreign correspondent.
My take away: While not as comprehensive, Peter’s book is a legitimate equal to his brother’s book. It merits serious consideration.

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The Pirates of Somalia by Jay Badahur

It is incredible to think that the author was in his early to mid-twenties when he was roaming around Somalia, gaining access to the Somalian pirate-lords…and he lived to write the story.
My take away: it all started when the fishing trade dried up. What a shame.

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Leading Kingdom Movements by Mike Breen
This book is written by a British Vicar who is reimagining what is possible in the church.
My take away: This is easy to grasp, as well as fascinating to consider, but requires God leading the way in order to do it.

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Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

Simply a remarkable story. How it all came together is a reminder that God, in fact, is good…so good it is humbling to even consider that it is possible to have ever thought otherwise. Thanks to Anne for recommending it.
Favorite quote: From the former homeless man Denver, “I used to spend a lotta time worryin that I was different from other people, even from other homeless folks. Then, after I met Miss Debbie and Mr. Ron, I worried that I was so different from them that we wadn’t ever gon’ have no kind a’ future. But I found out everybody’s different – the same kind of different as me. We’re all just regular folks walkin down the road God done set in front of us. The truth about it is, whether we is rich or poor or somethin in between, this earth ain’t no final restin place. So in a way, we is all homeless – just workin our way toward home.”

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The Making of a Stand-Up Guy by Charlie Murphy (brother of Eddie Murphy)
Who would have imagined this would be a thoughtful and intelligent book? Detailing Charlie’s upbringing, early influences, troubles with the law, military days, and his 3 year feud with Eddie, it is ultimately about Charlie’s failures and triumphs on the road to becoming a stand-up comedian in 2007.
My take aways: 1) How to get over a brotherly feud, and 2) To overcome failures, we all really do need one or two people to coach us through the failure into success.

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Toughness by Jay Bilas
It all started with a blog post on ESPN about how toughness is not machismo or false bravado. Bilas, himself a very good former college basketball player, brings together a great deal of wisdom from a number of souces to make this book more of a reference book on toughness than simply his thoughts on the subject.
My take away: As a parent or a coach, toughness is one of the single most valuable skills you can dedicate energy towards developing in your kids or players.

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Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge

Can I say I simply loved this book? This is my favorite book about Jesus, ever.
My take away: Jesus had a full, rich personality that has been largely left flat and 2-dimensional for many a year. The stories that will remain with me are both the stories of where Jesus decided to go immediately upon his resurrection (not to show off in the equivalent of Times Square, but to people who needed his touch and love) and that of the resurrected Jesus standing by the lake shore teasing his disciples as they came up empty while fishing.

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Born to Run by Christoper McDougall
This is 6 engaging stories carried along by one fantastic meta-narrative about the greatest race on earth that no one even knows actually happened. This was one of those “can’t put it down” books. Plus, I was beside myself with laughter on several occasions as I read it. Thanks to my brother-in-law Paul for sharing this one with me.
My take away: It would be much, much more fun to run on hiking trails for hours than it is to run on roads for minutes.

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2 thoughts on “Books I’ve Been Reading, Summer 2013

  1. PopPop says:

    Good information! Wish I were a faster reader!!!

    • Jay Helms says:

      I’m still a slower reader than I wish I was. I’m sure I’m faster than I used to be, but it doesn’t feel like it. Sometimes I am slow because I don’t want new information to crowd out what I just learned.

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