What I Read in 2022: 3 Books You Might Also Enjoy

Three of my favorite books from 2022, plus I'm giving one of them away!

Update, 1/25/23: Congrats to Thomas from Spain on winning the book giveaway!



I GOT AMBITOUS in September of 2021 and decided to pick up Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

I remember my first exposure to the book. I was in high school and a I spied a guy a grade ahead of me buried in the novel. Although I didn't know him well, he had a reputation as a superior intellect.

I love reading, as you know, and I've always admired a good intellect, so seeing Atlas Shrugged in this high school senior's hands was reason enough to add the work to my mental to-be-read list. That was in 2001.

Twenty years later I had occasion to pick up Rand's magnum opus. I am in graduate school at the moment, and a scholarship opportunity arose involving the reading of and writing an essay about the book. Those interested received a complimentary copy of the book in a digital format.

Although I knew the book was long, the electronic format masked its true girth. The English Standard Version of the Bible contains 757,439 words.[1] Atlas Shrugged, in comparison, contains an estimated 645,000 words.[2]  Within a couple of weeks my coursework overtook most available free time for reading. But as the scholarship deadline came and passed me by, I found myself enthralled in Rand's book. So from September to May I read until I worked my way through the novel.

Alas, I cannot recommend Atlas Shrugged in my annual roundup of books I read. I had high hopes for the book, and the work was compelling much of the time. In the end, though, only strict adherents or new converts to Rand's objectivism philosophy will probably consider a book of such length worth the read. Although I resonate with much of Ayn's worldview, she makes zero allowance for either God or for charity of any kind. Additionally, portions of the bookthe Galt speech, for exampleare so long as to become repetitive.

I only bring up Atlas Shrugged as context for my year of reading; I spent almost half of the year finishing up the book. With that background established, here are three books I think you might enjoy.

No, Turning to God Isn't All Roses

 A preview of October's email-only article.


Pedro Vergara

TURNING TO JESUS means you'll be happy and prosperous the rest of your life, right?

Therefore, if you're unhappy or less than wealthy, it probably means you don't have enough faith.

You see where one can run into trouble with this line of thinking.

Every month I publish an exclusive article for my email subscribers, and this month we're talking about the reality of turning to God in the context of the book of Job. If you'd like instant, free access, fill out the form below. (If you are already a subscriber, check your inbox!)

Here's a snippet of this month's exclusive:

I've written it in numerous places, but once more for effect: bad things do happen to decent people all the time. The fall ushered in an era where entropy reigns supreme (for a time) so that even were sin not present, the pure randomness of lightning or gravity would still cause pain and suffering. 
Cast out of God's Edenic hedge, we no longer enjoy protections from the negative aspects of thermodynamics. In short, there's no escaping the heat death of the universe sans the intervention of the Almighty. Adam made humanity's bed, now we must lie in it.

 
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The Lasting Impact of Godly People

Focusing on things that last.





 

AS MY TWO oldest boys and I were preparing for a mission trip with my church to Jamaica this past year I couldn't help but get swept up in the logistics of it all.

How would we get all our supplies to Montego Bay?
How much would everything cost?
How long will it take to get a passport?

The fifteen of us planning to go held monthly meetings to discuss these questions and more. And as the days went on, I wanted the whole thing to be over.

What You Need to Know about Bildad's Influences

A preview of September's email-only article.


Bernard Tuck

Wisdom is a great thing, but as Job's friend, Bildad, found out, relying on even the wisest of humans can get you into trouble.

Just who were these influences of Bildad, and why did he trust them wholeheartedly?

Every month I publish an exclusive article for my email subscribers, and this month we're talking about worldly wisdom and the limitations thereof. If you'd like instant, free access, fill out the form below. (If you are already a subscriber, check your inbox!)

Here's a snippet of this month's exclusive:

No matter how old or wise Bildad and his friends were, their lives were but a breath compared to the ancients who lived hundreds of years. And during those centuries, these people would have acquired great wisdom as a faculty of experience.

Nevertheless I'm inclined to believe Bildad did not misappropriate ancient wisdom, but rather that the sages of old failed him in this case. Who, no matter how long he lived, could account for a case like Job's? Bildad thought he knew the answer—that Job had sinned—but he was wrong in spite of consulting the wisest of men. And therein lies a critical lesson we should take to heart. The wisest of humans is a fool compared to God.

 
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Sometimes, People Don't Need More Theology

You can be right and still be wrong.


Nina Strehl


 

WHEN PEOPLE ARE HURTING, it can be difficult to know how to help them.

I read a good book a few years ago called When Helping Hurts that details instances in which charitable contributions actually do more harm than good. Don't misread me, generosity is a great thing. It encapsulates the very heart of God, who is a giver. But gifts that create dependency or are simply Band-Aids for more serious symptoms could actually hurt in the long run.

Money matters aside, how do we help people who are suffering? Many times I think we, not knowing what else to do, toss theology at people when what they really need is a hug or the mere presence of a friend.

Job's friends started off right when they sat with him in silence for seven days. After a week Job spoke up, lamenting his birth. He was in so much anguish he said, "Why did I not die at birth, come out from the womb and expire? … Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child, as infants who never see the light?" (Job 3:11,16).

That's dark.

You've gotta be in a pretty grim frame of mind to utter these kinds of words.

How would you respond?

One Harmful Consequence of Sin

A preview of August's email-only article.


Philipp Pilz

It would be kind of obvious to say sin is harmful, wouldn't it?

Nevertheless, I think sin has a consequence we often don't recognize until it's too late.

Every month I publish an exclusive article for my email subscribers, and this month we're talking about this consequence, and how to reclaim your peace. If you'd like instant, free access, fill out the form below.

Here's a snippet of the article:

YOU KNOW SIN IS BAD; nothing revelatory there.

God is the definition of good, and sin is the antithesis of God. Therefore sin is decidedly ungood. In fact, transgressions separate us from God which leads to death because God is also life.

Surely you know all of this.

But wrongdoing is even worse than we probably realize. Not only do we suffer the immediate consequences of a broken relationship with God, we also experience the compound effect of evil.

Proverbs 13:21 warns of this phenomenon.

 
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