Books and Pods

The Memorial Day weekend signals for many the beginning of summer. We may well find ourselves with some extra time for play, rest, and rejuvenation. This is a great time to catch up on reading and listening. Here are some books and podcasts I’ll be checking out this summer.


Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage of Revolution by Amber Tamblyn- I loved Joan of Arcadia back in the day. The show illustrated so beautifully how God works in the world. Now grown, Amber Tamblyn shares a prophetic word for today. As a straight white male, her perspective is one I needed to hear.  She writes, “No longer stuck in a past we can’t outrun and a future we must outgrow, we are a nation that is actively confronting our values and agitating for change. I found myself both challenged and encouraged by her perspective as a bold and respected advocate for women’s rights.


The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks- As one who subscribes to the journey metaphor and someone who is in the midst of their own ‘”second mountain” journey, I have read with this book with great interest. Brooks describes life as two mountains and the move from being self-centered to other-centered. Not only does the book provide great personal insights, but it is also a social commentary on our troubled times.


Accidental Presidents by Jared Cohen- I enjoy politics and presidential history and this book carries a healthy dose of both. The book examines the eight people who came to the Presidency without being elected. Chock full of history and stories, this book has something for everyone. In our troubled political times today, it’s almost comforting to know that the executive and legislative branches of our government have always experienced some level of dysfunction.

Holy Envy

Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others by Barbara Brown Taylor- I’ve never understood the need some have to diminish the faith of others because it is different from their own. BBT recounts her experiences teaching college-level world religions in rural Georgia. Her book helps open our hearts and minds to the possibility of experiencing God in ways we have not imagined.


Becoming by Michelle Obama- I admit I am late to the party on Michelle Obama’s memoir. As the parent of two girls, I appreciate the role model that she has become for both of my children. The First Lady is a wonderful storyteller who openly shares her life with the reader.


Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler- How do we make sense of something that makes no sense? Sometimes we put God on the hook through statements that are meant to provide comfort but have little to do with the Bible or the character of God. Bowler, a professor at Duke Divinity School, is diagnosed in her mid-thirties with stage IV colon cancer. Her book invites us into her life and her truths about how dying has taught her to truly live.

Here are several podcasts I’ll be listening to this summer:


Pod Save the People- You may know its cousin, Pod Save America, but you should get to know Pod Save the People. Hosted by activist DeRay Mckesson, the pod takes a principled look at issues of the day, primarily through the lens of racial justice. This show always makes me think.

 Dream Big Podcast- Bob Goff talking to friends about the dreams God has for us and within us. Enough said.

Burn It All Down- I like sports podcasts and I really like this one that breaks down sports news and happenings with an all-female cast and a feminist perspective. It’s entertaining and challenging.

Up First- This is an everyday listen for me. It enables me to catch up on the top news stories of the day in under 15 minutes.

The Leader’s Journey Podcast- The hosts share simple but complex leadership principles. I’ve been challenged and affirmed by this podcast.

Another Name for Everything- Two of Richard Rohr’s students discussing the chapters of his new book The Universal Christ with him. Deep theological thought, yet an easy entry point for those new to Richard Rohr’s work.

Armchair Expert with Dax Shepherd- I can’t believe I just typed this; this is a really good podcast with the actor interviewing a variety of people about their craft. Seriously entertaining and informative.

That’s my list. I’d love to know what you are reading and listening to this summer.

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