Michael W. Austin

Ideas that Matter.

Month: January 2016

My Top Books from 2015

IMG_1096Reading is an important part of my life, and for many it is part of the good life. I intentionally chose to read fewer books this year, so that I wouldn’t rush through them just to get a larger tally. I think that worked out well overall. Not all of my top books were published this year, but each one made it onto my reading list for 2015. They reflect my own interests and tastes, but for those who are looking for something good to read I recommend them.

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Top Apps for Christian Spiritual Growth


Smartphones, tablets, and computers can provide near-constant distractions. Email, texts, and the ever-increasing social media platforms can take over not only large chunks of our time, but our attention and focus as well. This kind of distraction can undermine our spiritual lives. As 17th Century Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal puts it,

“Sometimes, when I set to thinking about the various activities of men…I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.” Pensees, 136.

We are no longer good at staying quietly in our rooms because we have a direct line to all of the noise of the outside world perpetually at our fingertips. But what if your smartphone could help you grow spiritually? As it turns out, there are apps for that.

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