reading summer 2023

My Summer Reading List

July 13, 2023
Rob Cattalani
Rob Cattalani

I love to know what people are reading — and why. Are they looking to learn something new, to get lost in a story, or to be inspired by someone else’s life?

Some Browncrofters have expressed interest in my own reading lists in the past, so I thought I’d share a bit more about my top 10 books this season. This includes books I recently read, am reading now, or hope to read or start by summer’s end.

The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis

This is a Lewis book I had never read until now. It is a book about values and education for its day (the 1940’s) but reads like a prescient warning for our time.

 “The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of imagining a new primary color, or indeed, of creating a new sun and a new sky for it to move in.”

Timothy Keller, His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation by Collin Hansen

Published just a few months before Keller’s death, this book shares some of the key influences of this ordinary man who was used by God in extraordinary ways to shape a generation of Christian leaders.

Dynamics of Spiritual Life, An Evangelical Theology of Renewal by Richard F. Lovelace

Lovelace’s book is a classic work on spiritual theology and the nature of renewal. I picked it up 30 years ago to try and learn more about revivals in American history. Now I am re-reading it with hopes of experiencing a revival in the church today.

“Few know enough to start each day with a thoroughgoing stand upon Luther’s platform: ‘you are accepted,’ looking outward in faith and claiming the wholly alien righteousness of Christ as the only ground for acceptance, relaxing in that quality of trust that will produce increasing sanctification as faith is active in love and gratitude.”

Why I am A Christian by John Stott

This small book by one of the most distinguished pastors, writers, and theologians of the last two generations is a very readable and thoughtful answer to the most important question every person who claims to follow Jesus must answer.

In looking for transcendence people are seeking God, in looking for significance they are seeking themselves, and in looking for community they are seeking their neighbor. This is humankind’s universal search—for God, for neighbor, and for ourselves.”

This small book is a very readable and thoughtful answer to the most important question every person who claims to follow Jesus must answer.

Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds

Written by a Civil War chaplain, this very short book — still in print — is considered by many to be the greatest book on prayer ever written.

Evangelism in the Early Church by Michael Green

A seminal work on the importance of relationships and conversation in the spreading of the Gospel.

“Early Christianity’s explosive growth was accomplished by means of informal missionaries. That is, Christian laypeople, not trained preachers and evangelists, carried on the mission of the church not through formal preaching, but informal conversation — in homes and wine shops, on walks, and around market stalls … they did it naturally, enthusiastically … Having found treasure, they meant to share it with others, to the limit of their ability.” 

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

Rushdie’s work here became an instant classic about India’s independence from Great Britain that made the young author a household name. After years of sitting on my shelf I decided to pick it up this summer. The book is most often compared to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, which took me three tries to finally complete. Hoping for a better outcome here.

Chronicles, Volume One by Bob Dylan

A memoir by the American musician and Nobel Prize winner about three selected points from his long career: 1961, 1970, and 1989.

Dominion, How the Christian Revolution Remade the World by Tom Holland

This is a sweeping tour of the indelible influence of Christianity on the core values found across the belief systems (religious and secular) of the world. A tome (500+ pages), but well worth the investment.

Biblical Critical Theory, How the Bible’s Unfolding Story Makes Sense of Modern Life and Culture, by Christopher Watkin

Watkin’s attempt at an update on Augustine’s City of God is a must-read for any Christian who wants to think biblically about our de-Christianizing world. I’m reading this over the next few months as part of a cohort of pastors and leaders led by the author.

…a must-read for any Christian who wants to think biblically about our de-Christianizing world.

Well, that is my list. What is on yours? May the Lord bless you this summer with moments of reading, reflection, and refreshment.

About The Author

Rob Cattalani
Rob Cattalani

Pastor Rob grew up in Rochester where he came to know Christ in his first year of college. After a couple years at the Xerox Corporation he decided to pursue a Masters of Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. Pastor Rob was a pastor in Texas for nine years and then served as a missionary in Europe for a year. He answered the call to be Browncroft’s Senior Pastor in 2005, and his favorite part of his job is teaching and preaching God’s Word.

Further reading

Jesus Culture: Restoring the World Through Ordinary Life

The Church of Jesus is called to be light in a dark world—a world that has always been at odds with the kingdom of God. We are called not simply to defend our faith, but to bring it to life in our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities. Over the month of June, we will be discussing practical ways that we can do this in our everyday lives.
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Our Newest Global Partnership

I am excited to share that, by the generosity of our Browncroft congregation through the Reach 2024 campaign, and by the blessing of God, our church has recently developed a partnership with the Dardania Network, a church-planting movement in Kosovo!
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Survey Says…

Last month, our Discipleship Team created a survey that we sent out to the entire church. Over 500 of you gave us your input! The feedback you contributed is invaluable as we move into planning our next program year.
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