In Common – January 4th


New year – new reading goals!

Last year my goal was 52 books and I finished the year strong with 67 books read.

I’m going to push myself a little more and try to get through my official Goodreads Challenge goal for 60 books, but try to beat my goal again.

I’m working on my January stack this month – several longer term reads, including reading from the New Testament (the Jewish Annotated New Testament) and Old Testament (reading in the New American Revised – Catholic Bible). I’m at the beginning of Grudem’s Systematic Theology  – at around 1200 pages, I expect this to be a year-long read for me. My full reading list, including family read alouds are included below.

I’ve got a good reading routine established at this point, though I am working on getting started a little earlier each morning to get more done before the day gets going. I always read scriptures, theology and Christian topics in the morning, and move on, as time allows, to education and reading topics. In the evenings I try to get through my daily checklist (or as far as possible).

This month, I am reading through Eric Mason’s Woke Church. In this book, he challenges Christians to stand up to indignities and injustices in our world, where traditionally we (the church) have been unengaged.

Mason addresses the importance of community to the body of believers.

But in the gospel, man is not just reconciled to God by faith. Man is also reconciled to man by faith. (p. 41)

We are the sheepfold, the body, the new humanity, chosen race, new creation, the elect, exiles, royal priesthood, living stones, and temple of the living God! All this speaks not of our individuality, but of our connectivity through Jesus’ death by faith. (p. 43)

Mason speaks of the importance of proclaiming the gospel and the important of kingdom activity.

Regeneration is a motivation for good works. It is a fruit of gospel transformation. … He [God] expects us to be active in good works for His glory as a response and proof that we have been transformed. … Being transfomed by the gospel means that we as the covenant community bring that newness of life wherever we go. Our desire should be for our kingdom activity to point to the need for the soul to be changed. (p. 47)

After stressing the importance of community and action, Mason then gets into Justice as a character of the church.

We are called to follow His example of caring for the physical needs of others in order that the gospel witness of the kingdom might saturate the earth. (p. 55)

As exiles in the world, we must see ourselves as incarnational missionaries in the world for justice. (p. 55)

Our witness depends on our commitment to showing off the glory of Jesus in how we work in the world to be agents of change. Being agents of change means speaking to its brokenness, but also having the skill to use the truth to serve in bringing solutions. (p. 57)

Two final quotes from Woke Church …

… you’re supposed to be opening up your life so God can give you common ground with people who are not like you. This is where we live out the gospel. The gospel is supposed to bring people together who wouldn’t naturally be together. That’s the nature of it. (p. 57)

And finally,

I’m glad that when we see the injustices and the brokenness of our society we have the tool of God’s Word to help us become change agents – to make a difference in our spheres of influence. The gospel is the truth that unites us. It is the common ground that knits our souls together as one. (p.58)

I’m rereading Karen Glass’ Consider This, which explores Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition. This book was so helpful when I read it last year, and I was excited when an opportunity to read it again in our book group came up. There is so much good stuff to glean from this book!

Glass introduces Mason’s first two principles, that children are born persons” and “they are not born either good or bad, but with possibilities for good and for evil. Mason believed that  “educational philosophy begins with a conception of man.” (p. 13) Her principles were contrasted with some prevailing ideas of her time that supposed that “a person could be born good or born bad, and that education could not change his nature.” (p.14)

Glass writes about Mason’s view:

…all possibilities are present with a child – and educational endeavors must take a different turn. If a child’s character has possibilies for both good and evil, then care must be taken to lay a foundation of good principles and nurture them, while at the same time helping the child to see and correct his own faults of character. (p. 16)

In discussing the classical purpose of education, Glass quotes David Hicks in Norms and Nobility (on my TBR someday list!)

‘The purpose of education is not the assimilation of facts or the retention of information, but the habituation of the mind and body to will and act in accordance with what one knows.’ … When our knowledge is transformed into action, It becomes virtue, and virtue was the goal of classical educators. (p. 18)


Education, in antiquity, was never separated from the larger purpose of forming a virtuous person. (p. 22)

Speaking of virtue, I have started On Reading Well this week, and Karen Swallow Prior explores 12 virtues that are exhibited in classical works of literature. Each chapter focuses on one book and one virtue. The virtues she examines are Cardinal virtues (Prudence, Temperance, Justice, Courage), Theological virtues (Faith, Hope, Love) and Heavenly virtues (Chastity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, Humility). This is a slower read – I expect to read over the course of the Winter and Spring, so as I go through each chapter, I’ll share some notable quotes.


Current (Personal) Reads:

Current Read Alouds:


2019 Reading Plan

I am finishing up 2018 strong – I’ve got three books I expect to finish up before the new year, but my official count is 62 books – with a goal of 52 books.

I do think my 2019 reading plan is AMBITIOUS – but I want to keep these titles at the front of my list, so even if I don’t get through half of these titles, they will roll over into my 2020 list.

I’m excited to get started on my 2019 list!


Laying Down The Rails by Sonya Shafer 
The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer
Heartfelt Discipline by Clay Clarkson
The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour

Special Needs Parenting – Autism/ADHD/SPD

Taking Charge of ADHD by Russell Barkley
The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up by Carol Kranowitz
Raising a Sensory Smart Child by Lindsey Biel
The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin

Christian Topics

The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
Miracles by C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
Woke Church by Eric Mason
You and Me Forever by Francis Chan
Letters to the Church by Francis Chan
The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
The Prodigal Prophet by Timothy Keller
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul Tripp
Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson
Daughters of the Church by Tucker and Liefeld
The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher
Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill Perry
The Gospel Comes With a Housekey by Rosaria Butterfield
Understanding Gender Dysphoria by Mark Yarhouse
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield
Notes from the Tilt-a-whirl by N.D. Wilson

Educational Philosophy

Climbing Parnassus by Tracy Lee Simmons
How to Speak, How to Listen by Mortimer Adler
Aristotle for Everybody by Mortimer Adler
How to Think About the Great Ideas by Mortimer Adler
Home Education by Charlotte Mason (Vol 1)
Ourselves by Charlotte Mason (Vol 5)
Reading People by Anne Bogel
On Reading Well by Karen Swallow Prior
Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson
I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel
Rethinking School by Susan Wise Bauer

Science/Natural History/Math

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloof
What a Fish Knows by Jonathon Balcones
The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery
The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip Hoose
A Crack in Creation by Jennifer Doudna
What a Plant Knows by Daniel Chamovitz


John Adams by David McCullough
My Dearest Friend: Letters of John and Abigail Adams
Gettysburg by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen
Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Fingerprint of the Gods by Graham Hancock (ongoing)
Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings by Charles Hapgood


Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton
Unbowed: A Memoir by Wangari Maathai

Current Events/Culture

Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance
Political Tribes by Amy Chua
Out of the Ashes by Anthony Esolen

Literature Study

A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz
The Soul of Wit by G.K. Chesterton

Great Books/Classics

The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Plutarch’s Lives
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Richard III by William Shakespeare
Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
The Iliad by Homer
The Odyssey by Homer


Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Father Brown Mysteries by GK Chesterton
1984 by George Orwell
Eight Cousins by L.M. Alcott
Rose in Bloom by L.M. Alcott
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson (series)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Downbelow Station by CJ Cherryh
Regenesis by CJ Cherryh