The Book Shelf

Welcome to the Book Shelf!  I’ll be posting info on recommended books in the areas of Parenting, Families, Youth/Teen Culture, as well as a few books outside those ‘genres’ that have impacted me, as well as fellow colleagues and partners in ministry and life.

If you’ve read any of the rec. books, please feel free to post any constructive comments you may want to share.  Happy reading!

Featured Reading   (The ‘Back Shelf’)

Hemorrhaging Faith: Why & When Canadian Young Adults Are Leaving, Staying &
Returing to the Church  NEW
Young Canadians are leaving the church in unprecedented numbers, and this newly released study examines many of the issues causing youth to turn their backs on church.  Hemorrhaging Faith is both good & bad news to Canadian churches, as although many youth/young adults are leaving, there is now hard facts on why, and how we can examine these issues to determine what we can do to reverse this trend.  Here’s just some of the research found within this study;

  • One-in-three Canadian young adults who attended church weekly as a child still do so today.
  • Of the young adults who no longer attend church, half have also stopped identifying themselves with the Christian tradition in which they were raised.
  • Hypocrisy, Judgement, Exclusivity, and Failure were noted as the four primary ‘toxins’ that keep young people from engaging with the church.

Not a Fan: Completely. Committed. Follower– Kyle Idleman  NEW
This is probably the best book I’ve read so far in 2012, and I would tag it a ‘you better read it’ book for anyone who calls themselves a Christian.  Kyle Idleman calls believers to be committed followers of Jesus Christ, not just casual and eccentric fans of Jesus. He breaks the terms down like this…fans follow on their terms, while followers follow on Jesus’ terms. It’s like a mirror is held up to your face and you have to ask yourself some very challenging questions…Am I a fan or follower of Jesus?  Fans follow when it’s convenient for them, but when the hard sayings of Jesus come along…the ones that make you squirm & feel awkward because you’re really not sure what to do with them, they turn away. Fans follow superficially. Followers are committed no matter what.

Not a Fan is a very easy-to-read book (no seminary courses needed!), and Idleman is very engaging in his style, illustrations and his respect for and handling of the scriptures. While Idleman gives some excellent insight into what it means to be a true Christ-follower, he calls us to decide for ourselves as to where we stand.

The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About ItPhilip  Zimbardo @ Nikita Duncan  
“Every­one knows a young man who is strug­gling. Maybe he’s under-motivated in school, has emotional dis­tur­bances, doesn’t get along with oth­ers, has few real friends or no girl friends. Maybe he’s your son or rel­a­tive. Maybe he’s you.

Ask­ing what’s wrong with these young men or why they aren’t moti­vated the same way guys used to be isn’t the right ques­tion. In our book, we focus pri­mar­ily on guys invest­ing too much time and energy in two areas: play­ing video games and watch­ing freely avail­able Inter­net porn. We also dis­cuss wide­spread father­less­ness and chang­ing fam­ily dynam­ics, media influ­ences, envi­ron­men­tally gen­er­ated phys­i­o­log­i­cal changes that decrease testos­terone and increase estro­gen, the prob­lem­atic econ­omy, and the dra­matic rise of gals, tak­ing high­lights from our 20,000 per­son survey.  Then we present sev­eral prac­ti­cal sug­ges­tions for teach­ers, par­ents, and guys them­selves about how they can bal­ance their lives and envi­ron­ment in order to thrive.” (taken from the Demiseofguys website)

The Hunger Games Trilogy– Suzanne Collins
So why am I recommending a fiction series to you?  Well, besides the fact that almost everyone and their step-grandmother is or will be reading it, you can bet the majority of teenagers out there will be for sure! Don’t just read it because it’s popular, but use it as a chance to relate to the culture of our youth…to get into the world, motives, and heart they are reading. It’s a fascinating story and bound to be one of the biggest franchises is movie history.  The basic gist is this…North America goes to war…smaller guys lose out to bigger guys (the wealthy and elite)…then they rebel…they get a second chance from the big guys, but have to ante up 2 youth (one guy and girl 18 and under) to fight to the death.  In what starts out as an ugly reflection at what corporate North America looks like and how brutal and desensitized they’ve become as a society, the pendulum shifts full circle by the end of the trilogy.  At first there’s a defined line between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ guys…but that line is blurred by the end.

Time for the Talk– Steve Zollos
“This book belongs on the bookshelf of every father. As a father myself, our sex-saturated world makes the prospect of having “the talk” a terrifying one. That is why I am thankful for this book.—“the talk” is about much more than anatomy and physical changes, it is about instilling godly character and teaching God’s good intention for his creation. Time for the Talk is an invaluable resource filled with wisdom and practical how-to’s that will guide and encourage a father in his relationship and responsibility to his son. Even though my son is only four, this book has given me hope that I can faithfully and honestly have “the talk” with him when the time is right. I look forward to revisiting this book as my son grows, and pray that God will use Time for the Talk not only in my family, but in every family who can get their hands on it.”  – Micah Bickford, Westminster Bookstore Staff

Get Offa My Case – Rick Horne
Author, counselor and speaker Rick Horne‘s soon-to-be released book (April ’12) is his follow-up to Get Outta My Face (’09), and deals with the ways in which parents engage angry, hurt and unresponsive teens.  According to Shepherd Press, “this is a book about transformation — the transformation, sometimes sooner and sometimes later, of an angry, defiant teen…and the transformation in that teen’s fearful, exasperated, and hurting parents. There is no silver bullet that will transform an angry teen into a respectful, responsible young adult. However, there is a God who can transform us, the way we parent, and the atmosphere of our home. This book draws parents’ attention to their need to pursue and be satisfied with God’s glory, which in turn allows them to seek change in their teenager’s heart.”  From the pre-release reviews I’ve read, there is no sugar-coating here, nor in his other book, but real solutions you can use and adapt!  You can also listen to a Feb. 28th live interview that True Worldview Cafe did with Rick Horne re: his newest book.

Get Outta My Face– Rick Horne
I usually don’t post a book recommendation without having read the book myself, however I do trust the source!  Tim Challies offers a great review of Rick Horne’s 2009 gem on how parents can gain a realistic view about teens “…as they are going to be, not wistful as to what they might be.”  Challies goes on to reveal this is not an …”idealized view of teenagers. Rather, it is realistic, giving an assessment of teens that rings true while providing solutions that can actually work. It teaches a parent to do more than react to a sinful teen, but teaches him to be proactive in approaching the teen, in reaching out to him, and in shepherding his heart.”  Both the above books are from Shepherd Press Publishing, and although by the title of the two books would suggest they cover the same content, the difference between the two is explained in this interview by Horne.  You can be assured both these books are on my ‘Urgent:Read Next‘ list!

Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working– Craig Groeschel
Let’s face it, if you’re a Christian you’ve likely been referred to as ‘weird’…or at least its been referred to the faith in Christ you claim!  But for the true Christ follower, well there is no such thing as ‘normal’, in fact there was nothing ‘normal’ about the life and ministry of Jesus…it was…uhhhh…weird!  Author Craig Groeschel challenges readers to stop chasing after the so-called ‘popular standards’, and instead pursue habits that actually lead to biblical holiness.  Groschel covers areas such as being ‘weird’ with our time, money, relationships, values, and…sex!  It’s about not letting our desire to fit in, to belong, and to conform in this world, usurp our desire to follow God and do what’s best…“Normal is to strive for the center of what the world lives like. Weird is to live to be in the center of God’s will.”

  Real World Parents– Mark Matlock
Founder and president of Real World Parents & Planet Wisdom, Mark Matlock brings us a   solid guide for parenting in the real world our teens, and families are living within.  RWP’s offers a perspective that directly contrasts the usual fear and guilt-based parenting programs that focus on shielding kids from the ‘evils’ of the world and producing good behavior.  It’s an authentic, proactive book that encourages families to identify the story they are living in, and for parents to be engaged in the story of their children.

What you won’t find in the pages of RWP’s is a rigid program or ‘magic formula’ for churning out good kids because this book is not about what parents do…it’s about who they are. You can learn more by visiting the RWP seminar page.

  1. ajb47 says:

    hey Shawn, great book selection here. i clicked on “pastor dad” by Mark Driscoll but i can’t seem to find the book on the page it links me to. can you help me out here? cheers.

  2. actually, you have to click on the book title…for some reason it won’t work with the book image (just re-directs to resurgence book page).

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