Hearts & Minds BookNotes

annotations, blurbs and ruminations

to enlarge the heart & stimulate the mind

and to happily generate mail order business for Hearts & Minds bookstore

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Location: Dallastown, PA

My lovely wife Beth and I own and operate--proprietors makes us sound more classy than we really are--a cluttered, diverse and independent bookstore in Central Pennsylvania. After well over 20 years, we are still not sure what to say when people ask if our shop is a "Christian bookstore." I do a monthly book review column over at our website; we hope that these new blogged bits will afford friends and customers the chance to see other books I happen to be reading, wishing to read, pretending that I read or at least believe that others should, if not read, know about. We have three children, attend a Presbyterian church in York, PA and have no hobbies.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Top Ten Books on a Christian Worldview

This was part of a bibliography I gave out in my presentation at Geneva earlier this week. Hope you read my last post, as it is a heart-felt cry about integrated Christian living and the call to develop a "thick" reading of a Christian worldview. Even though I wrote this for college professors, I think anyone interested in social action, cultural engagement or church renewal should own a few of these essential, life-changing books. Let us know what you think.

Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview Al Wolters (Eerdmans) $12.00 Often cited, this is truly one of the most succinct, insightful, Biblically-based and philosophically thoughtful books on the topic; a must-read. The second edition includes a newer chapter, relating his neo-Calvinist reformational perspective to the missional vision of Newbigin and the narrative theology of N.T. Wright. Classic.

The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian Worldview Brian Walsh & Richard Middleton (IVP) $15 Perhaps my favorite single worldview book, this (briefly) traces the rise of dualism, brings diagnostic insight into the nature of the problem, shows the resultant rise of secularization and idolatry, and calls for a wholistic and culturally-engaged Kingdom vision, starting with a philosophically-aware and Biblically-faithful recovery of the Christian mind amongst collegiates. Wow.

Subversive Christianity: Imaging God in a Dangerous Time Brian Walsh (forward by N.T. Wright) (Alta Vista Press) $10.95 Four stunning talks, sermonic in their passionate delivery and insightful in their academic rigor, these Biblical studies are largely asking the big question: is a refinement of our worldviews what is needed, and how can “worldview studies” actually help bear fruit in faithful ways of life? Hint: unlike some voices in these conversations, he is particularly interested in the role of the Bible, and how it shapes our imaginations.

The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog James Sire (IVP) $17 Now in it’s 4th edition, this handbook describes the way the most prevalent worldviews answer the most deep human questions. Not quite a guidebook to world religions (he looks at naturalism, nihilism, new-age pantheism, postmodernism and such) it is arranged as a fairly standard text showing comparative views. Very useful.

Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept James Sire (IVP) $15 After being widely known as a scholar of worldviews, Sire tells of his growing awareness that he never fully explained (in fact, never settled in his own mind) just what worldviews are. A philosophy of life? A set of presuppositions? An imaginative construct? Here, he dissects the concept and offers helpful reflections on this very important matter. And, he offers his revised definition of worldviews. He jokingly calls this “Naugle for Dummies.”

Worldview: The History of a Concept David Naugle (Eerdmans) $26 Magisterial, thoughtful, researched with extraordinary insight and grace, this is the definitive book about the rise of the word “worldview”, the use of the idea from it’s first coinage, the different ways in which various Christian writers have used the notion. Al Wolters has called it “a tour de force.” Visit the wonderful website of Dr. Naugle for bonus material, lecture transcripts, bibliographies and other cool stuff. http://www.dbu.edu/Naugle/index.asp

Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity Nancy Pearcey (Crossway) $25 A thick and fascinating hardback, with a useful study guide in the back, this is one of the important, popular guides to the fact/value split, the consequences of this dualism, and the call for an integrated perspective. As with the popular book she co-authored with Charles Colson, How Now Shall We Live? she uses as a case study the impact of naturalism in the sciences. A very important work.

Heaven Is a Place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters To God Michael E. Wittmer (Zondervan) $16.99 Delightfully written, theologically insightful but very sound, this pleasant and helpfully Biblical work includes a great study guide and reflective case studies for further conversations. Although thoroughly covering the standard material this may have an appeal to those not used to deeper theological, philosophical or worldviewish texts. Nice!

The Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving Together Belief and Behavior Steven Garber (IVP) $16 Although initially written to be helpful for developing a serious and coherent view of university education, the newer chapters and the change in sub-title indicates that the book is not just for students, and is more broadly about finding a worldview and way of life that can be sustained as followers of Christ allow their deepest convictions to energize them as agents of cultural transformation over the longer haul of their lives. Truly one of the most important books of our time, to be read and re-read, cherished and discussed. See his wonderfully crafted essays at http://washingtoninst.org

Heaven Is Not My Home: Living in the Now of God’s Creation Paul Marshall (Word/Lightening Source) $19 With playful illustrations, great stories and a wholistic vision of integrated Christian living, Marshal offers chapters on “thinking Christianly” and living joyfully in various sides of life. A veritable worldviewish handbook for considering work, leisure, art, politics, science, technology, business, worship and more. What a fun and radical guide to Kingdom living in every sphere of life.