What are you enjoying right now?
Sometimes, we need to step back and ask a question like that.
Philippians 4:8 challenges believers to think and dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable.” So each week the Facts & Trends staff would like to share our “Favorites” at the moment.
It might be a new book or podcast we’re enjoying or something going on in our lives we want to share. Hopefully, you’ll think about things that are your favorites right now and maybe find something else to add to that list.
Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor), online editor: Besides having some time away with my family at the beach, having a new book about C.S. Lewis is making me smile this week.
The Romantic Rationalist, edited by John Piper and David Mathis, is a collection of essays interacting with Lewis, his writings, and his theological leanings. As one who’s life was shaped in the shadow of Narnia, I appreciate scholars who handle Lewis honestly for who he was—a fallible human being but one with a rare mind and an incredible gift for communicating.
Too many books either shy away from the areas where conservative evangelicals would disagree with Lewis or they devote all their attention on those issues and miss out on all that can be gained from careful reading of his works and evaluation of his life. Romantic Rationalist avoids those errors and gives a great picture of Lewis and why he continues to be relevant today. (You can download a PDF of the book for free at Desiring God.)
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: I listen to several podcasts during my morning and afternoon commute. One of my favorites is Todd Henry’s “The Accidental Creative.”
This podcast is great for anyone who has elements of creativity or problem solving in their job. Henry gives a lot of practical advice on how to incorporate practices into your daily life that help you develop and maintain your creative process. “The seeds of tomorrow’s brilliance are planted in the soil of today’s activity,” says Henry. “What we do today yields insight tomorrow, the next day, and three months from now.”
He’s the author of two book, The Accidental Creative: How to be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice (kind of a Getting Things Done for creative types) and Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day.
Matt Erickson (@_Matt_Erickson), managing editor: I just started reading Tim Keller’s new book Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God.
Keller says he discovered prayer in the second half of his life out of necessity. Crushing circumstances, including his own battle with thyroid cancer, left him feeling overwhelmed and in great need. When our backs are against the wall, we learn that prayer is a lot more than a last resort—it’s our lifeline to God and His infinite resources.
Keller says that prayer is both a conversation and an encounter with God. It’s not just talking to God; it’s experiencing the presence of God. Like all his books, I expect it to be thorough, insightful, balanced, and gospel-centered. I can’t think of a more important topic.
Bob Smietana (@BobSmietana), senior writer: X-Men: Days of Future Past is out on DVD this week, and it’s a keeper.
Back in my younger days, I was a comic book fan and the “Days of Future Past” story line from Uncanny X-Men was one of my favorites. The movie changes the story a bit, but gets the big picture right by showing the consequences of fear and vengeance.
Not to give the whole thing away, but the movie depicts a future where normal humans and a small minority of “mutants”—a stand-in for anyone who is different—have been at war for years, and both groups suffer as a result. Fan favorite, Wolverine, goes back to try and change things. At the climax of the movie, one character chooses not to take revenge against an evil scientist, but his life is spared and that changes everything.
As an added bonus, there’s a fabulous scene featuring Quicksilver—Marvel’s version of the Flash—and Jim Croce classic “Time in a Bottle.” It’s rare that a movie shows you something surprising these days—and that scene pulls it off.
Katie Shull (@KShull), graphic designer: After seeing it on a friend’s blog, I decided to start reading Enough by Kate Conner. I have two daughters and teach 7th grade girls at church, so this book really speaks to me. The author has great insight into the teen girl mind. I highly recommend it.
What has made you smile so far this week? What would be your favorite today?