I have read 3 books lately that have been rocking my heart and mind like an earthquake and flooded me with thoughts like a Tsunami. They have had such an effect on me that it has taken me a few months to really talk about them.
Ok 2 of these books hit me harder than the 3rd one and I would like to recommend them to you. Ok so here goes some short reviews.
The first one I would like to present to you is "Unchristian: What a new generation really thinks about christianity and why it matters" By David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons
I really liked this book because it was based on some research to find out the attitudes and perceptions of people about Christianity in America, now whether such research is 100% accurate is questionable but for the most part if one is honest their findings do hold a lot of water and can apply in any context. This is a good book and a reality check. It is definitely humbling to know what people who are on the outside looking in really think about Christians and Christianity and there are real stories that will definitely strike a chord with any Christian really ready to face reality about how their attitude and conduct could be blocking people from seeing what Christ is really about. I HIGHLY recommend this book.
The next book I've read lately that has an ENORMOUS effect on me is "Imagine: A Vision of Christians in the arts" by Steve Turner
I found out about this book when I was on twitter and Sho Baraka the American Christian rapper tweeted about it. I bought it immediately and if you are a Christian who is a singer, rapper, producer, songwriter, dancer, sculptor, poet, instrumentalists or even if you're not, YOU NEED THIS BOOK IN YOUR LIFE! For many of you it will give you a perspective that will SET YOU FREE from certain legalistic thinking when it comes having a creative gift. I say this especially if you have been in a church that is very strict and legalistic.
One thing I have learnt is when it comes to the creative arts, the church doesn't for the most part know how or where to place those who have been blessed with creativity
(unless they are evangelical and using their gift as a tool of evangelism that is) In this book you will have a lovely and fresh perspective on this from Steve Turner and also a little history lesson to show you that the issues of secular vs scared have been around for a long time and for Christians you will see how this split and conflict originated. Take this from me, YOU NEED THIS BOOK IN YOUR LIFE! It's like when I see the same old positive/inspirational music vs gospel music discussion/argument break out all I think now is stop the talking READ THIS BOOK then come back and discuss! I highly RECOMMEND this book, it is a fun and enjoyable read, you won't even know when you get to the end because it is so engaging and gripping! Get it today!
The last book I recently read that really made an impression on me is "British Black Gospel" by Steve Alexander Smith
I think this is a great attempt at trying to trace the journey of gospel music genre in the UK to where it is today. I had been crying out to know what had happened before and this book answers a lot of my questions. Also it showed me that all the issues that exist today in the gospel music scene have appeared before. Nothing is new under the sun really. The whole desire to crossover into the mainstream, the conflict of traditional vs contemporary styles of music being incorporated into gospel artist's sound and more or less every kind of issue that springs up now has been around for years and years. It was very interesting and I recommend this to anyone ESPECIALLY gospel artists of today. You HAVE to read this book and know what came before you.
Anyway I think a separate blog about where my head is at now with everything I am learning needs to be done another time. I think I might even video blog it because as folks say "it is a lot"
Next on my reading this list is:
The Mis-Education of The Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
The Business of Urban Music by James L. Walker, Jr. Esq
Velvet Elvis: Repainting The Christian Faith by Rob Bell