Good books. Even as I whine about not having time …

Good books. Even as I whine about not having time to read, I find time to read. Lately I’ve read a few books that I’ve found helpful as well as enjoyable.

  • Doug Wilson’s ‘Reformed’ is Not Enough taught me a number of things about the nature of baptism, the covenant, and the visible church; I don’t know whether it is an adequate answer to his recent critics, not being very well versed in the substance of their criticism, but I didn’t find anything objectionable in what he teaches here.
  • Steve Wilkins’ Face to Face is a good short book on matters of friendship and hospitality. As he points out, it is only recently that teaching on this topic would be considered anything but a waste of time; the importance of Christian friendship and hospitality was well understood and taken for granted. But nowadays these things are either despised or unknown, and so the need for books like this. Wilkins is particularly good at asking the hard questions, e.g. to those who whine about their friendlessness, he asks: have you worked to become the sort of person a Christian should befriend?
  • I’m not yet finished with Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace by Joseph Williams. It’s a guide to revising your writing for, well, clarity and grace, and the advice is not only sound but edifying. Williams explains a few principles in detail and at length, so that you can gain a thorough understanding of what the principle is for and why it works. And he summarizes the principles so well that you are likely to remember them while in the midst of writing and revising. This is the book that Canon Press recommends that you read before writing for them. (Not that such is in my plans, it’s just how I learned of its existence.)
  • OK, these were just enjoyable. While at the Green Valley Book Fair I picked up 50th anniversary facsimile editions of The Mad Reader, Mad Strikes Back, and Utterly Mad, collections of material from Mad magazine from when it was not only funny but something that had never been seen before. I’ve owned copies of these before, and it’s true that they didn’t make me laugh like they did in earlier years. But I’m still amazed and amused by the ideas, the writing, and especially the drawings.

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