As a Child: God's Call to Littleness by Phil Steer. I was drawn to this book because of its subject matter and its delightful cover. As a Child focuses on the theme of God calling us to become like little children, and what that might look like in our lives. Each chapter unpacks a single word from Scripture about this concept of child-likeness. For example, the first chapter explores the word "greatest" (from the disciples' question to Jesus about who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven); another is "belongs" (from Jesus' comment that the kingdom belongs to little children). This structure -- twenty short chapters each examining a specific concept in depth -- makes this book well suited for personal reading or group study. Steer writes in a warm, clear style, as in this passage early in the book:
"Too many of us have lost touch with the child that we once were: left behind in our rush into the adult world, forgotten in our fascination with adult ways, banished for fear they might make us look foolish and neglected when it seemed they were no longer needed. Others, I know, will have been forced by circumstance to grow up far too quickly, never having the opportunity truly to live as the child that God created you to be. As a consequence we live our lives largely separated from our childlike self. But this is not the way we are meant to be."
I'd highly recommend this book to anyone interested in exploring more about what it means to truly be a child of God. (I read this as an e-book, but it's also available in paperback.)
The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. I've read a number of books on the Enneagram system of personality types, and this one is the perfect combination of in-depth and accessible. The descriptions of the types and variants are clear and engaging, and the suggestions for spiritual transformation provide hopeful direction. As the authors put it, "The Enneagram is not exclusively psychological, nor is it feel-good, self-help pabulum when taught correctly.... The true purpose of the Enneagram is to reveal to you your shadow side and offer spiritual counsel on how to open it to the transformative light of grace." If you're interested in becoming familiar with the Enneagram, this book is a good place to start; and if you've already explored it, this is a helpful addition to the literature.
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. Frankl, a psychiatrist, spent three years in German concentration camps. His book (which was written in 1946 and has become an influential classic) describes daily life in the camps and expounds his belief that meaning can be discovered in all human experiences, even suffering. Frankl challenges us, regardless of our life situation, to focus not on what we expect from life, but on what life expects from us -- and to accept the responsibility to fulfill the calling we have been given. A small but dense and thought-provoking book.What have you read this month? What book would you like to see under the Christmas tree with your name on it?