Books I’ve Read in 2009
Here’s a list of books I’ve read in 2009. More a list for myself than for the rest of the world but feel free to offer comments if you’re so inclined.
- Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges
- When People Are Big and God Is Small by Ed Welch (3rd read)
- God’s Plans For You by J. I. Packer
- Relationships by Tim Lane & Paul Tripp
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- Holy Ground: Walking With Jesus as a Former Catholic by Chris Castaldo
- It’s Your Time by Joel Osteen
- Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
- Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross by Nancy Guthrie
- Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus by Nancy Guthrie
- Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
- Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller
I actually think I’ve read more than that but that’s what I’ve got off the top of my head for now. I’m actually surprised at how much I’ve read this year. I usually start a lot of books but never finish them but with the exceptions of those noted “in progress,” I’ve completed the reading of all those other books this year in their entireties. Also, I most recently enjoyed Holy Ground (which is the book I’ve most recently completed). Here’s a brief commentary:
The author, Chris Castaldo, and I share similarities even though we’re separated by at least 20 years:
- grew up on Long Island
- part of the Roman Catholic diocese in metro NY
- attended Catholic schools
- (and, I find this eerie) turned to transcendental meditation before finding evangelical Christianity (probably more relevant for his time than mine but still odd…)
There’s probably more I haven’t discovered yet. I knew I *had* to keep reading after the first two paragraphs:
We have free-floating guilt, can identify the Ave Maria within three notes, and likely have rosary beads somewhere in the attic. We also own at least one study Bible, listen to sermons in the car, and know that a “quiet time” is different from a nap.
We are followers of Christ who grew up Roman Catholic and are now Evangelical Protestants.
And when I’m in dire straits, I STILL find myself doing the sign of the cross. Old habits truly die hard. Now, I am curious to see where those glow-in-the-dark rosary beads from first grade went…
But he’s identified five main points on why many Catholics move to Evangelical Christianity:
- Every believer is called to full-time ministry.
- Relationship with Christ must take precedence over rules-keeping.
- We enjoy direct access to God in Christ.
- There is only one proper object of devotion–Jesus the Savior.
- God’s children should be motivated by grace instead of guilt.
An excellent, easy read. I recommend it for any evangelical who has Roman Catholic friends or wants to know the appropriate conduct for speaking to Catholics about spiritual topics. He identifies three main types of Catholics and dismisses the notion that Catholics cannot be “born again” (as we like to put it in evangelical terms) and remain in the Catholic Church. He also provides some perspective on how Roman Catholics view evangelicals (with a dose of skepticism, and in many instances, think they can be too irreverent).
Castaldo navigates his way through this topic with an immense amount of tact, respect, and even reverence for the long and rich Roman Catholic traditions and history. I can say without a doubt that this book has given me a higher regard for Roman Catholicism although Castaldo is very good at delineating the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism, reminding me why I can never return to the Catholic Church.
I hope to use this book as a tool in tactfully witnessing to my Roman Catholic family members who are, as Castaldo puts it, cultural Catholics.