Pastoral Reading Reflections

This is a space for our pastoral staff to reflect on what they are reading. These are not reviews, recommendations, or summaries, but short reflections on books they've read.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stephenson

By Brian Gault | June 29, 2020

Just Mercy is heavy. Really heavy. It’s a compelling read—a real page turner—but it’s filled with injustice and brokenness. And that fills my soul with grief. Bryan Stephenson tells the story of how he founded the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama in 1989. It’s a story of fighting injustice. As a Harvard Law student…

Mother to Son by Jasmine Holmes

By Brian Gault | June 17, 2020

Jasmine is married to Phil and they have two boys: Wynn and Langston. They’re members at Redeemer. Wynn, now 4, is named after Wynn Kenyon, who was an Elder at Redeemer in the early days and Phil’s professor at Belhaven. Langston, just 18 months, gets his name from Langston Hughes, an American poet and novelist.…

Telling the Truth by Frederick Buechner

By Brian Gault | June 10, 2020

This book is for preachers. Some of you just stopped reading—but may I suggest that we’re all preachers? Martin Luther said we are to preach the gospel to ourselves every day. In this little 1977 book, Frederick Buechner says the preacher’s task is to tell the truth (1) about the world around him, (2) about…

Good to Great by Jim Collins

By Brian Gault | May 26, 2020

Jim Collins’ book Good to Great is a study of what distinguishes successful companies from the rest. For this study, a great company had to beat the market and comparison companies for a duration of 15 years. They didn’t start with a hypothesis, but they took the 11 qualifying companies and determined what those companies…

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

By Zack Owens | May 19, 2020

I was first exposed to Jesmyn Ward while sitting under the teaching of Dr. Patrick Alexander and Dr. Otis Pickett (one of our elders). Lecturing in one of the only air conditioned buildings of Mississippi State Penitentiary (Parchmen) as part of the Prison to College Pipeline, Dr. Alexander masterfully unpacked Ward’s memoir Men We Reaped.…

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

By Brian Gault | April 30, 2020

“It’s day 45 of quarantine, and I’ve finished Nexflix,” the joke goes. In these days of physical distancing to protect life and flatten the curve, our working, studying, exercising, shopping—and even connecting—are now done behind a computer more than ever before. We’ve moved online. Of course, with the advent of the iPhone in 2007, we…

Parenting by Paul David Tripp

By Brian Gault | April 22, 2020

I believe the gospel; sometimes it just doesn’t show in my parenting. You know what I mean, don’t you? Some days, in my sorority house of 6 girls ages 11-18, I can get a little cranky and controlling. I just want knickknacks picked up, general obedience, a little peace and quiet, and some manners. Those…

Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend

By Brian Gault | April 14, 2020

“I wish I had read this earlier.” It’s the sentiment of many who read this book. Imagine living with an aging mother who manipulates with guilt, a 9-year-old son who throws tantrums when disciplined, a husband who doesn’t text when he’s late, and a boss who gives you more work than you can do. You…

Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft

By Brian Gault | April 8, 2020

Abuse is prevalent in our culture. [1] Perhaps you’ve seen pictures of bruised bodies and broken bones from domestic violence. Maybe you’ve read of deaths. But abuse is more than that. Psychological, verbal, and emotional abuse may not show up in a picture, but an abuser slowly dismantles your identity in a way that can…

Grace Unknown by RC Sproul

By Brian Gault | March 23, 2020

We all have a theology—an understanding of the Bible out of which we answer life’s big questions and think about the world. What’s your theology? In Grace Unknown, R.C. Sproul presents Reformed Theology or the doctrines of grace. It’s an accessible explanation of an elegant system that revolves around the Sovereignty of God. The book…

What’s Best Next by Matt Perman

By Brian Gault | February 27, 2020

At the beginning of each year, I like to read a book on productivity to shape the year ahead. This year, I reread one of my favorites, What’s Best Next, by Matt Perman. Perman takes a ‘Christian’ approach to productivity, and he builds his system from David Allen’s Getting Things Done (stronger in projects and…

Setting Parents Free by John Cox

By Zack Owens | February 24, 2020

When I first started reading Dr. John Cox’s book Setting Parents Free, my 7-year-old daughter sat nearby finishing her homework. As my mechanical pencil went wild, she looked up from her notebook and asked, “Why are you underlining?” “Because I want to remember certain things.” “Are you going to put it in a bible lesson…

New City Catechism (with Children’s Mode)

By Brian Gault | November 22, 2019

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. When this goes out on the Wednesday Update, you may find yourself travelling in the car for several hours. Perhaps you’re looking for a way to pass the time. Here’s an idea that’s fun for the whole family: Catechism! Some of the best…

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni

By Elbert McGowan | November 7, 2019

Have you ever been on a team? Maybe you were on a sports team growing up. Maybe you were put on a team by a professor and tasked with doing a group project. Maybe a boss nominated you to serve on a transition team to help the company roll out a new product. Maybe you…

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

By Brian Gault | October 23, 2019

I love the Chronicles of Narnia. They’ve been called children’s stories, and they are. But they’re so much more. C.S. Lewis communicates the wealth of the Gospel with childlike simplicity, in a way that breaks our paradigms and penetrates our souls. I still remember reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for the first…