Friday Random Linkness

For more than five years, I posted several random links on Fridays (hence, the title “Friday Random Linkness”).

Then, I stopped blogging altogether.

Earlier this year, I started up again but didn’t include any FRL’s.  Most of you didn’t care, some of you noticed, and an even smaller number of you missed the randomness.

Honestly, I missed it the most.  I really like having a place to post whatever I feel like each week (from the serious to the funny, the thoughtful to the trivial).  So I am bringing it back.  Of course, since I have been mostly offline since July 1, I don’t have much content.

So for this first edition of the brand new FRL, I give you mini-reviews of some of the books I read during the month of July.

A Mess of Help: From the Crucified Soul of Rock N’ Roll by David Zahl

This is hands down the best book I read this month.  Dave Zahl (of Mockingbird fame) takes his readers on a deeply personal journey through his love of popular (and not so popular) music from ABBA to Michael Jackson.  Along the way, he makes beautiful little Gospel connections that make the music come alive in new ways.  I even found myself pulling up music to listen to on Spotify after reading a few of the chapters.

I literally LOLed several times when reading this book on airplanes and the chapter on Guns ‘N Roses let me know I am not alone as a dude in the ministry who also has an Appetite for Destruction.  That may be the greatest victory of this book–I realized I don’t have to be embarrassed at the music I like.  I like it because…well…I like it.

Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides by Scott Sauls

I heard Scott Sauls speak at a conference earlier this year and I was impressed by his humility and his posture toward culture.  Knowing that I would be launching a series on engaging the culture this weekend, I eagerly dove into this book and I wasn’t disappointed.  The book tackles politics, abortion, need (or not) for a local church, money, sex, being judgmental, and more.  His premise (which he nails in this book) is

“When the grace of Jesus sinks in, we will be among the least offended and most loving people in the world.”


Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys by Kay Hymowitz

I forgot I had this book.  I downloaded it years ago but never cracked it open until I ran out of things to do on a plane and found it.  I’m glad I read it.  I am still noodling on many of the things Hymowitz said, but there are biblical implications strewn all over this book, even thought it isn’t written from a biblical perspective.

Bottom-line: men shouldn’t be passive or aggressive (or passive-aggressive for that matter).  Our culture has swung men from one extreme to another and like this book or not, it does a decent job diagnosing the issues.  I’m not sure it does the best job painting the answer, but that’s what the church is for.

Small Town Jesus: Taking the gospel mission seriously in seemingly unimportant places by Donnie Griggs

This decent little book tackles a problem–namely, there are not enough church planters willing to start churches in decent little towns.  Griggs does a good job making a case for why that should change.



Unchained by Noel Jesse Heikkinen

Yeah, this is my book.  I know I shouldn’t review my own book, so I won’t. But to be fair I did read it this month (for a final edit) even though you can’t, yet.  You can, however, preorder it, so there’s that…