Books for Deeper Thinking
Human nature craves what it can understand and often defers to what naturally fits into preconceived ideas, structures, and systems of thought. New information that comes at us (of all sorts, but uniquely from media) usually either fits our framework or doesn’t and if it doesn’t, it irritates us. At this point we have a choice. Ignore complexity and run from “hard work thinking” or face it and dive in, not knowing where we will end up. The former keeps us in a safe place the latter disrupts us at deepening levels, depending on how long we stick with it.
To me, good education is a disrupter and I have always been drawn to it (probably because I come from a family of educators). Reading books that challenge my thinking has always been a good way to keep me honest and expose me to things that push me out of my “mental comfort zone.” Christians ought to be free in this area, using Holy Scripture, historically anchored doctrine (e.g. Nicene Creed), and the Holy Spirit as a grid in the search for truth during complex and challenging times in which we live—which, by the way, is nothing new in the history of the world!
Recently, there have been two books that have been a blessing to me as they encourage deeper level thinking as it relates to two major issues going on in our society today:
The Great Influenza – Written by author and historian, John M. Barry, this book dives into the beginnings, extent, and aftermath of the Spanish Flu which was easily the deadliest pandemic in history. It is a technical read that involves a lot of biology but truly helps the reader understand what a pandemic is and how truly vulnerable and resilient God created the human body. There has been great fear in our world due to the COVID-19 virus. Reading this book helped me learn more about viruses. I believe the more you know about something, the less you fear it.
Black and Human – Written by World Impact’s own Rev. Dr. Don L. Davis, this book is a rediscovery of the beliefs and writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. as it pertains to the Black experience in America. Dr. Davis covers a lot of ground but focuses in on how the oppression of our African-American brothers and sisters is something that ought to be looked at in an honest way as we address the injustices and inhumane ways of treating people – human beings made in the image of God. He encourages us to use the things we learn from the Black experience in America for the benefit of the global community, wherever oppression and mistreatment might be found.
I love good quotes. These words hit me in a deep way that causes me to push into this harder work of deeper thinking and hopefully they are helpful to you.
“Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” -George Santayana
“Most men would rather die, than think. Many do.” -Bertrand Russell
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth...” -Jesus