/ Gentle Reformation

So You Want to Start a Book Club

Or at least I do. In fact, this year I've put out the call to my local church, assembling into one glorious band of reading brothers all those who have shown interest, or even partial interest, seeing how I'm not above cajoling the hesitant.

I've never done this before. Nor have I been a part of one. So it's uncharted territory. But it sounds like fun.

Here's how I envision it (and perhaps such visions of grandeur will inspire someone in another local body of believers to start a book club). I imagine us men tackling a book a month. The text could be political in nature, or theological, or cultural, or historical or whatever. No door stoppers. No arcane manuscripts from days medieval. Just good, thought-provoking books that not only challenge the mind, but sharpen the spirit. Or simply elicit joy.

I then imagine us sitting around together, once a month, like Oxford dons ornamented with cigars and golden drinks. As the evening waxes long, and as the shadows from the suit of armor in the corner deepen, we continue to pontificate into the night, solving the world's problems and cracking the deep mysteries of life.

So that's basically the format. A pre-chosen book a month. Half a dozen or so questions accompanying the book, in order to prime the pump of discussion. And then the meeting itself. Whether at someone's home or at a restaurant, it matters not. The idea is to work off intellectual cellulite and forge relationships with brothers in Christ.

If you are curious what our list looks like, allow me to add it below. It might change, however, as I am currently asking the men what books they have already read, and what of those they wouldn't mind covering again, in the event that they alone have read it.

  • The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert - Rosaria Butterfield
  • Desiring God – John Piper
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption – Laura Hillenbrand
  • When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor and Yourself - Steven Corbett and Brian Fikkert
  • The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  • Infidel – Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  • The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions – David Berlinski
  • Outliers: The Story of Success – Malcolm Gladwell
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindess – Michelle Alexander
  • A Peculiar Glory – John Piper
  • Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community – Wendell Barry
  • The Stain that Stays – John Armstrong
  • Above all Earthly Powers – David Wells
  • American Colonial History – Thomas Kidd
  • Courage to be Protestant – David Wells
  • Out of the Silent Planet (book 1), Perelandra (book 2) – C.S. Lewis
  • Think Better, Live Better: A Victorious Life Begins in your Mind – Joel Osteen (Just Kidding! I merely wanted everyone's heart to skip a beat!)