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.

Right Color, Wrong Culture by Bryan Loritts

By Brian Gault | May 19, 2021

We’re narrative creatures, and sometimes the best way to make a point is by telling a story. Bryan Loritts calls his book Right Color Wrong Culture a ‘Leadership Fable.’ It’s a fictional account of a Christian school wanting to move out of a ‘transitioning’ neighborhood to a better part of town. They would do a…

Grace Defined and Defended by Kevin DeYoung

By Brian Gault | May 3, 2021

The Canons of Dort were written in 1619 in response to the Remonstrance of 1610. Hey, wake up! Did I lose you? Sometimes we have a “present bias” where we give more weight to things in our particular period or time and discount things from another era. But Kevin DeYoung wants us to cherish this…

A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt

By Brian Gault | March 23, 2021

“I’m sorry.” “It doesn’t make any difference.” These were the two lines that Jeff Green learned to use at age 7 when his mom left. He felt invisible. He didn’t want his dad to leave too. When his mom, Melody, left, she left a note. There are some hot dogs in the refrigerator, she wrote.…

Think Again by Adam Grant

By Brian Gault | March 5, 2021

Red Sox fans hate Yankee fans. And Yankee fans hate Red Sox fans. How would that change? Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and hosts an excellent podcast entitled WorkLife. His new book, Think Again, caught my attention when movie producer JJ Abrams came on to Adam Grant’s…

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…