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Notable Books

Books on cultural conversations and challenges

Notable Books
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Lind grew up reading Peanuts and wondering about Charles Schulz’s religious beliefs. His book tries to answer two basic questions: “Was Charles Schulz a religious man?” and “Is there really much religion in Peanuts?” The book offers a compelling picture of a complicated man who found joy and comfort in Christian beliefs but never fully committed himself to them. His at times rocky personal life led Schulz to turn away from many core Christian beliefs at the same time he was bringing Christian ideas back into the cultural mainstream through his cartoon strips and Christmas special.

Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS

Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick tells the story of ISIS by tracing the biography of the brutal Jordanian Abu Musab Zarqawi, the architect of the movement. ISIS lived on after Zarqawi’s death and continued to expand its territory and attract followers. Warrick tells the tale from the perspective of the American and Jordanian counterterrorism experts who hunted Zarqawi and now attempt to bring down the rest of the organization. He gives the reader a riveting account of this dangerous organization and what it intends to accomplish.

Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race—And Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us

NFL standout Benjamin Watson, an African-American and Christian, brings wisdom to current conversations about race. He explains how the African-American experience is unique, and shows why two people can live in the same city—or neighborhood—and have different experiences because of race. The discussion of police authority is particularly helpful: “White people look at law enforcement and assume it is good, based on their experiences and interactions with the police. … Black people look at law enforcement and assume—based on patterns and history and experience—that someone is out to get them. I believe both are true.”

Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath

Koppel worries America’s power grid is vulnerable to attack, either by sabotage or cyberterrorism: “We literally have no count of how many groups or even individuals are capable of launching truly damaging attacks on our electric power grids.” It is easy to dismiss books like this as pessimistic speculation, but newsman Koppel convincingly highlights the grid’s vulnerabilities and makes a strong case that enemies are already probing these vulnerabilities. A book like this should motivate the right people to begin addressing the concerns.


In We Choose Life (Hendrickson, 2016), editor Dave Sterrett collects the stories of a diverse group of activists who describe how they became pro-life. For self-proclaimed “liberal atheist professor” Mike Adams, the change began when a faithful friend told him about Bernard Nathanson and the power of ultrasounds. That became “a stone in his shoe” that he couldn’t get rid of. Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins describes how she went from being pro-life to passionately pro-life—and how that led to her campus work.

Scott and Katherine Rosenow have demonstrated a different kind of pro-life faithfulness. They have adopted 18 children (in addition to their four biological kids), and most of the adopted kids have serious medical conditions. In Swaying in the Treetops (Xulon, 2015), the Rosenows provide a window into their adoptions with a special focus on God’s grace as they traveled to bring the kids home from around the world. —Susan Olasky

Tim Challies

Tim is a pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto and a former WORLD correspondent.


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