I have always liked to read. Reading relaxes me and it gives me a chance to learn something new, to gain insight in any topic I am interested in at any given time. I usually read a number of books on the same topic, or in the same area. I like to dive deep into in, think about it, compare different views, and then write about it; to share what I have learnt, or to share my opinion. I have read (and written about) books on development economy, history, child raising, education (homeschooling in particular), faith and food. And the occasional novel, of course. At the moment, I am into 19th century English novels. I am working my way through David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, a very lengthy book, but interesting enough. Although I must say I liked Oliver Twist better. For a complete list of the best books I have read over the years, go to my Books page.
On my last trip to The Netherlands I went with two basically empty suitcases and returned to Tanzania with two suitcases full of goodies. Food, some clothes, and of course… books! I often read books on my Kindle, but I also like to have ‘real’ books to fill my bookshelves with. I like to have them around, as a reminder of the times when I read them. The books I brought home this time are all about faith. Over the last few years, I have read a lot about Christian faith and especially about what it means to follow Jesus and be his disciple. Among my favorite Christian authors are Timothy Keller and Shane Claiborne. After reading Claiborne’s book Jesus for President, I became interested in nonviolence. Therefore, I was glad to find the book Fight – A Christian case for nonviolence, by Preston Sprinkle, with a foreword by Shane Claiborne. The book examines what the bible says about warfare and violence. It shows that nonviolence is at the heart of the bible, and should be at the heart of Christianity. I find it very interesting and Sprinkle makes a very strong case for nonviolence.I also brought two books by Tom Wright. This New Testament scholar is starting to become quite famous. He wrote many books, both popular and academic. Since his recent visit to The Netherlands, on October 31, his ideas and theology are being discussed by many (see a.o. Jos Douma’s blog and magazine De Nieuwe Koers). I am interested in his books – I will start with Simply Jesus and Surprised by Hope.
Another book that I am looking forward to read (although it might take a while before I get to it) is The Divine Conspiracy – Rediscovering our Hidden Life in God, by Dallas Willard. This book is about Christian discipleship and how Jesus is relevant to our everyday life.
The last book I want to mention is probably the one that is most linked to our life here in Tanzania: Walking with the Poor – Principles and Practices of Transformational Development, by Bryant L. Myers. We see poverty all around us and many people and organisations work hard to do something about it. This book looks into what poverty is, what causes it and what we can do about it, from a Christian holistic perspective. One of the recommendations says: ‘A must read for anyone who want to carefully connect theology and development economics’. And that is exactly what I would like to do.
For my Dutch readers:
Some of the books I mentioned have been translated in Dutch and are all easily available:
- Gewoon Jezus – Een nieuwe visie op wie hij was, wat hij deed en waarom hij ertoe doet, Tom Wright
- Verrast door hoop, Tom Wright
- Gods geheime plan – De herontdekking van een leven met Jezus, Dallas Willard