A Summer Reading List for 2012 – Al Mohler

AlbertMohler.com – Recommended Reading: The Summer Reading List for 2012.

As is his custom this time of year, Dr. Al Mohler has released his first list of suggested books for summer reading (10 total, with more coming in July). As you know, I like to refer you to such lists because, while we all have different interests and likes, it is useful to see what other Christians are reading for edification and enjoyment. Mohler obviously loves history (a man after my heart!) and has some great titles in this area. Look for lists like this, so that you too can gather ideas for your summer beach/cottage/backyard/deck reading! What books will you be reading this summer?

Here’s a few from his list; find the complete list at the link above.

4. Frank Deford, Over Time: My Career as a Sportswriter (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2012).

I no longer need to tell people that I am not a sports fan. Evidently, that one fact is so infuriating to people that they know it when they know nothing else about me — or when they know something else that makes sense supposedly because I am not a sports fan. “Did you know that Albert Mohler likes salmon?” “Why no, but it makes sense. He is not a sports fan.” Huh?

But, even if I am not a big sports fan, I am interested in sports, and I do admire great sportswriting. I enjoy reading John Feinstein on golf, George Will on baseball (you knew I would work him in), and Frank Deford on almost anything. In Over Time, Deford offers a memoir packed with anecdotes, insights, comments, and his own very interesting life.

There are not many sportswriters who learn their craft at Princeton, but Deford did. He has been writing about sports for a half-century, including a very influential run at Sports Illustrated. He is clever, candid, and pithy. He developed a literary style all his own, and it is on full display in Over Time. Warning: athletes and others in this book use bad language and display bad behavior. Deford reports it all–the good, the bad, the ugly, and the uglier. He was among the first major sportswriters to deal with many of the moral issues inherent in violent sports, as well as the controversies about collegiate athletics. Readers will be especially touched by Deford’s sweet memories of his daughter Alex, who died of cystic fibrosis at age 8.

7. James Donovan, The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo–and the Sacrifice that Forged a Nation (Little, Brown, and Company, 2012).

The story of the Alamo is central to the narrative told by Texans, but the heroism of the Alamo is central to the American story as well. The martyrs of the Alamo did not survive the great day of battle, but their words, deeds, and names have found their way into the America’s national character. As James Donovan makes clear in The Blood of Heroes, a major retelling of the story, Americans remember the Alamo for good reason.

The actual structure known as the Alamo is surprisingly small, but the strategic importance of the events that took place there February 23 through March 6, 1836 loom large. Donovan is an accomplished researcher and writer, and he was determined, as far as possible, to determine what really happened at the Alamo, especially on the fatal day of March 6, 1836. Every member of the garrison present that day died. There were no survivors to tell the story in detail. Furthermore, the events were subsumed in mythology almost as soon as the day was over. Yet, Donovan knows how to deal with such mythology, as he did in A Terrible Glory, his history of Gen. George Custer’s famed “Last Stand.” Donovan places the story of the Alamo within the troubled history of relations between the United States and Mexico and within the emerging national energies of the United States. The cast of characters (including Crockett, Travis, and Houston) and drama are compelling, and the issues he covers in The Blood of Heroes are deeply relevant today.

A Mother’s Trust (“Beneath the Blood-Stained Lintel”)

Last week while cataloging a new book on infant baptism that had been obtained for the Seminary library, I came across this poem in the front of the book. After a little “Google” research, I discovered that this “hymn”, usually titled “Beneath the Blood-Stained Lintel”, was written by pastor Henry (“Harry”) Ironside and put to the tune of “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”. It is a wonderful testimony to the trust of believing mothers – and fathers! – in the covenant mercies of God as they are revealed in the generations of the righteous. May we ever stand on and pray on this foundation with regard to our children, young or old.


Beneath the blood-stained lintel I with my children stand;
A messenger of evil is passing through the land.
There is no other refuge from the destroyer’s face;
Beneath the blood-stained lintel shall be our hiding place.

The Lamb of God has suffered, our sins and griefs He bore;
By faith the blood is sprinkled above our dwelling’s door.
The foe who seeks to enter doth fear that sacred sign;
Tonight the blood-stained lintel shall shelter me and mine.

My Savior, for my dear ones I claim Thy promise true.
The Lamb is “for the household”—the children’s Savior too.
On earth the little children once felt Thy touch divine;
Beneath the blood-stained lintel Thy blessing give to mine.

O Thou who gave them, guard them, those wayward little feet,
The wilderness before them, the ills of life to meet.
My mother love is helpless, I trust them to Thy care!
Beneath the blood-stained lintel, oh, keep me ever there!

The faith I rest upon Thee Thou will not disappoint;
With wisdom, Lord, to train them, my shrinking heart anoint.
Without my children, Father, I cannot see Thy face;
I plead the blood-stained lintel, Thy covenant of grace.

Oh, wonderful Redeemer, Who suffered for our sake,
When o’er the guilty nations the judgment storm shall break,
With joy from that safe shelter may we then meet Thine eye,
Beneath the blood-stained lintel, my children, Lord, and I.