Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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My 2020 Favorites

As has been my practice for several years, I want to share with you my favorites for 2020 in a variety of categories. (Here is my list from 2019). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s list will look very different from past years, as concerts and conferences have been cancelled and movie theatres have been closed.

Except for books, and the film A Hidden Life (a 2019 film that wasn’t available for me to see until 2020), these are all items that were released in 2020. For books, I include my favorite books that I read during 2020, regardless of when the book was published.

Enjoy, and please let me know what you think of my list, as well as what would be on your list.

Movies

Top Pick: A Hidden Life (read my review here).

Other films I enjoyed, in no particular order, were:

      • Hamilton
      • Just Mercy
      • 1917

Music: Albums

Top Pick: Patient Kingdom – Sandra McCracken (read my review here)

Here are the rest of my Top 10 albums of 2020:

  1. The Life of Christ Quintology – Keith and Kristyn Getty (and friends)
  2. Rough and Rowdy Ways – Bob Dylan
  3. McCartney III – Paul McCartney
  4. Restoration – Lecrae
  5. Out of Body – NEEDTOBREATHE
  6. Chris Tomlin and Friends – Chris Tomlin
  7. Live from the Forum MMXVIII – Eagles
  8. Blues with Friends – Dion
  9. Let There Be Wonder – Matt Redman

Other albums I enjoyed, in no particular order, were:

  • American Standard – James Taylor
  • Christ Be All EP – Grace Worship
  • The Lost Demos EP – TobyMac
  • Evensong – Hymns and Lullabies at The Close of Day – Keith and Kristyn Getty
  • Letter to You – Bruce Springsteen
  • A Drummer Boy Christmas – for King & Country
  • Vintage – Shane and Shane

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund. Crossway. 224 pages. 2020
****

Every once in a while, a book comes along that just blows you away. Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund is one of those books. This was a book that I was influenced to read because so many people I respect were writing good things about it and recommending it. As a result, my wife and I read and discussed the book, which is comprised of relatively short chapters.
Ortlund tells us that the book is written for the discouraged, the frustrated, the weary, the disenchanted, the cynical, the empty. It is written, in other words, for normal Christians. In short, it is for sinners and sufferers.
In the book, the author simply asks what the Bible says about the heart of Christ, and considers the glory of his heart for our own up-and-down lives. The author takes either a Bible passage or a teaching from the Puritans (especially Thomas Goodwin), and considers what is being said about the heart of God and of Christ. He doesn’t focus centrally on what Christ has done, but instead who he is. The two matters are bound up together and indeed interdependent. But they are distinct. Letting Jesus set the terms, the author tells us that his surprising claim is that he is “gentle and lowly in heart.” The point in saying that Jesus is lowly is that he is accessible. He tells us that for all his resplendent glory and dazzling holiness, Jesus’ supreme uniqueness and otherness, no one in human history has ever been more approachable than Jesus Christ.
The message of the book is that we tend to project our natural expectations about who God is onto him instead of fighting to let the Bible surprise us into what God himself says. The book reads almost like a devotional. One way to approach it is to read a chapter a day over your morning coffee. Another is to read and discuss with others.
Here are 20 of my favorite quotes from the book:

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BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review and reviews of…

  • The Gathering Storm: Secularism, Culture, and the Church by Albert Mohler
  • Before You Open Your Bible: Nine Heart Postures For Approaching God’s Word by Matt Smethurst

BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur
I’M CURRENTLY READING….
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My Summer Reading Plan

I love to read, and enjoy books in a variety of genres – theology, Christian living, biography, leadership, professional and personal development, sports, etc. Here are the books I’m planning to read this summer along with a short synopsis of each:

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