Five Books on My Summer Reading List

The next time you start staring at the Netflix menu or go to pick up your phone, try picking up one of these books instead.

Miriam Lancaster


Bodie Thoene books C.S. Lewis Hudson Taylor Jonathan Sacks reading summer Zach Hoag

As you mapped out every adventure you hope to have this summer, you probably didn’t include “read through a thick stack of books” anywhere in the plan.

Or maybe, like me, you were already eagerly anticipating filling every moment between the adventures with pages and chapters. Either way, there is undeniable value in expanding your mind by delving into an ink and paper world. So the next time you start staring at the Netflix menu or go to pick up your phone, try picking up one of these books instead.

The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Crash of Civilizations

In the Dignity of Difference, Jonathan Sacks proposes a shift in our perspective on religious coexistence and a method for reconciling the hatred that so often rises around religious and cultural differences. Arguing that we must do more than seek out common values, Sacks seeks to answer the question “Can religion become a force for peace?”

You might be wondering why I’m choosing to start off the season with two hundred or so pages of ethics and social theory. Truthfully, if you’re hoping for a typical summer vacation paperback novel, you will be deeply disappointed. But, as members of a religion that is notoriously different, I’m sure that a book devoted to understanding differences is well worth our time.

The Screwtape Letters

For those of you who have yet to be raptured away into the mesmerizing world of C.S. Lewis’s creative writing, you’re in for an adventure. The Screwtape Letters follows the correspondence between Screwtape, an experienced tempter, and his young nephew in what is sure to be a marvelously entertaining dialogue. As a whole, the book promises to be a captivating exploration of temptation that will undoubtedly leave readers with a heavy dose of Lewis’s profound insights on the subject.

The Gates of Zion

The first book in Bodie Thoene’s wildly popular series The Zion Chronicles, The Gates of Zion seems like the perfect Indiana Jones-esque book for a quick summer read. The story follows the adventurous escapades of an American journalist in 1947, who finds herself caught up in an intriguing political tangle after photographing some ancient scrolls.

Hudson Taylor, an Autobiography

An old story with timeless lessons and captivating tales, Hudson Taylor’s autobiography is, in my opinion, a true essential for any reader. Founder of China Inland Mission, Taylor was a devout Christian missionary in the late 1800s who took an innovative approach to his ministry work in China. The effects of his ministry have lasted throughout the years and are still felt today.

The Light Is Winning: Why Religion Just Might Bring Us Back to Life

It is all too easy to see religious culture and its apparent decline through a wholly negative lens. Zach Hoag, author of The Light Is Winning, is here to present the bright side. After a tumultuous faith-life of his own, Hoag began examining the details of the decline of Christian faith in America. His findings are, as he claims, an unexpected reason for hope, inspiration, and optimism.

About the Author

Miriam is a student and second-generation Messianic Gentile raised in the United States where she attends a Messianic congregation.


Bodie Thoene books C.S. Lewis Hudson Taylor Jonathan Sacks reading summer Zach Hoag

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