Outside of talking to my closest friends, books, podcasts, TV shows, and movies are the tools that help me slow down and process my life. It’s not that they help me escape my life, but rather quite the opposite. They help me work through my own story and narrative with more clarity and insight.
Here are some of the resources that have helped me recently:
- The Robcast
Hands down the most helpful resource I turn to in my life is Rob Bell’s podcast. Just a few years ago if I would be afraid to say such a thing. The circles that I have come from view him as a heretic and dangerous. I heard so much about Rob Bell when I was in seminary. I made the mistake back then of hearing about Rob Bell rather than hearing from Rob Bell.His podcast is life-giving to me. His attitude and personality are so encouraging to me. His interviews and insights are insightful. His sermons bring clarity to my sometimes fuzzy faith.
There was a recent documentary that came out about him that I liked called “The Heretic.” It’s on iTunes and Amazon if you want to watch it.
- Tell me More
This book by Kelly Corrigan was one of the most truly authentic books I’ve ever read. It had an incredible balance of being vulnerable and honest about the messes while also not coming off smug about being vulnerable and authentic. It’s a fine line, and Kelly is incredible at telling her stories of struggle and mishaps in a way that doesn’t come off as “Oh look at how authentic I’m being by telling you this messy element of my life and personality!”
I found her book incredibly validating and helpful as I’m processing through a number of things myself.
- Frederick Buechner
Another author whose transparency is life-giving. I’ve read a couple of his books, and am currently reading another. He reflects on his life a lot, but how he handles the events of his life impacting his thoughts about faith and God are extremely honest and helpful. He challenges me to truly be honest about my own faith.
- Everything Happens for a Reason (and other lies I’ve loved)
I’m not a fan of empty platitudes. And neither is Kate Bowler, the author of this book I read in one day. A day in which I was extremely stressed and upset about my children destroying my kitchen one morning. It was timely and helpful in my processing of the elements of my life these days, and how I process God’s involvement and goodness.
- Lady Bird
I’ve now seen this movie twice. Once in the theater, and once with my wife a few days before the Oscars. Living with teenage girls, this was a fun one to watch, yet it was hard to see how her mom talked with her. It seems very similar to many of the moms of our girls that we work with.
- Sci-Fi shows
For whatever reason I’ve been really into sci-fi shows and a few movies recently. And there seems to be more and more coming out. I must not be the only one. Sci-fi shows are usually dark, though. It must resonate with the elements in my psyche that maybe can’t deal with the fact that Donald Trump is our president and I don’t really understand the world around me that would continue to defend his behaviors.
This show on Netflix is funny and frustrating. But Sarah and I just binged the final season this week. And it’s sad to say goodbye to characters I’ve learned to frustratingly root for. But I love a story which makes you root for people, and Love definitely capitalized on that. The show is now done, and I already miss it.