Because we are a book-loving community, here are some best practices for recommending books in RZIM Connect.
Books as Resources
Many questions in RZIM Connect are easy to ask but difficult to answer. To properly answer some of these questions can require the study of not just one but many books.
Because these are complex topics, our own posts will often be an introduction or a summary to the issue. It isn’t practical to ‘write a book-length answer’ in response to each question! But we can point the questioner to longer, more in-depth engagement with the question so that he or she can continue to study their question from trusted experts.
At other times, there may be a question which you struggle to answer, but you know of a book that provides an excellent crystallization of the thoughts that you want to express. That can be an excellent opportunity to share about a particular author and their published work.
Unhelpful Uses of Books
As much as we love books, referring to them can sometimes be unhelpful. If someone asks, “how can I understand God’s sovereignty and man’s free will?”, we can do better than to briefly say, “you need to go read this book.”
This kind of reply can come across as:
- “I don’t know the answer, but read this…”
- “I don’t have time to answer your question…”
- “I don’t want to take the time to answer your question…”
- “Read this guy, he is the real authority on this matter and will set you straight…”
- “That is too hard of a question for this forum, read this book instead…”
We discourage this approach because we want you to grow in your capacity to answer even difficult questions. We also want each questioner to receive personal, respectful, and thoughtful answers when they take the courage to ask a question to the community. We don’t want to take short-cuts in answering the questions that God’s image bearers bring to the community.
How To Recommend A Book
Here are a few practical points for how to recommend a book:
- Explain why the recommended book is helpful
- Provide one or two specific, significant insights you personally gained from reading the book as they relate to the question that has been asked
- Recommend books that you have personally read