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The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston

The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston is senior pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York, NY.

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Scott Black Johnston: Summer Reading Stack

June 15, 2012


Summer is upon us.  With the promise of hot days, iced tea (with mint, of course), and a break from the hectic pace of this hard-driving city comes one of the great pleasures in life:  summer reading.

Here are a few of the things in my hammock-ready stack:

Alain de Botton, Religion for Atheists, Pantheon, 2012.

We have entered into a second, more reflective, moment in the recent surge in atheist thinking.  In act one, we heard, "Religion poisons everything."  In act two, a new set of participants have begun nuancing the conversation.  This book in particular lifts up aspects of religion that are beautiful, caring, and even necessary for living together in community.

Alan Lightman, Mr. g: A Novel about Creation, Pantheon, 2012.

A physicist decides to write a novel about the creation of the cosmos.  When I picked up the book and read the first line, I knew it had to be on my summer stack.  It begins:  "As I remember, I had just woken up from a nap when I decided to create the universe."

Thomas G. Long, What Shall We Say?  Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith, Eerdmans, 2011.

I heard this book delivered as a series of stunningly profound lectures at Austin Seminary.  Long examines one of the perennial questions for people of faith:  "How can God be good, and there be so much human suffering?"  This book is for anyone who has ever asked "Why?"  The answer Long provides is steeped in the power of the cross, and the power of Christ's love.

Tripp York, The Devil Wears Nada: Satan Exposed!  Cascade, 2011.

I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book.  York is a philosophy professor and he begins by describing an exchange between two young people-a Christian woman and an atheist man-in one of his undergraduate classes.  The argument is about Satan.  Does he exist?  Their exchange sends York off to investigate Satan and our fascination with the prince of darkness.  I haven't finished it yet, but (thus far) it is an interesting (and sometimes very funny) read.

If you have a book to add to my summer stack, I still have room.  Please post your faves and raves here.  Like introducing someone to a new friend, there are few things better than the suggestion of a good book.

Taken with permission from Scott's blog, "Sharp About Your Prayers."


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