I’ve written a few books with others. I’ve written a few of my own.
Beauty in the Browns
It’s not easy to spill secrets and show weakness. I’m a very private person, so to write with this degree of transparency was a difficult and sometimes painful exercise.
But a book like this—about suffering and coping with depression—demands transparency. Depression is an inherently isolating condition, where you can feel like you’re locked in a dark bottle with the cap screwed on. You can feel alone and separate from even those who love you the most. Even separate from God. The book offers plenty of personal anecdotes and tips for how to find a better frame of mind. But more than that, I hope it’s a way to say to those who deal with depression and mental illness—or for those who love someone who does—that they’re not as alone as they might sometimes feel.
Centered: Trading Your Plans for a Life That Matters
Jason Brown is flat-out amazing. An NFL football player who gives it all up to farm? Yep, he did that. A guy who helps deliver a baby in the family bathtub? That’s him, too. A man who, despite tragedies and setbacks, still follows God boldly and unflinchingly? Jason, with a huge assist from his wife, Tay, does just that every day.
Every day that Jason and I talked, I walked away a little more inspired, a little more convicted to trust God and follow Him better. Every day he made me laugh. Some days, his stories made me tear up a little, too. If readers get even a quarter out of Jason’s story as I did, I’ll feel like Jason and I made a pretty good book.
When Parenting Isn’t Perfect
Sometimes, in our tight Christian spaces, the pressure to be perfect can feel pretty extreme, especially as a parent. We have people to impress at church, after all. And we’re often enamored with surefire tricks and tips to make our children perfect, too, as if it was a matter of just inputting the right code into a machine.
It’s one of the reasons why I’ve always loved Jim Daly’s take on parenting. He knows that being a good mom and dad is a bit more art than science, and art can get messy sometimes. We all fail our kids occasionally, just as our kids sometimes fail us. The trick isn’t to strive for perfection (and then beat yourself up when you don’t achieve it), but to do the best we can every day—and cleaning up the messes when they come along.
Burning Bush 2.0: How Pop Culture Replaced the Prophet
“Paul, you can spiritualize toast.” So someone on a radio interview once told me, and I take it (mostly) as a compliment. We live in a universe created by God. How can God not be a piece—even if it’s a very small piece—of everything in it? I think that’s especially true of the stories we tell each other. We are creatures of story, and I believe that God can find His way into them. And we can find His fingerprints there if we look closely enough.
This was a fun little book to write. It allowed me to talk about not one little snippet of entertainment or pop culture and how, sometimes, God might be a piece of it, but the industry as a whole—outlining some of my own thoughts and theories and weaving them in with what I’ve done every day at Plugged In.
The Good Dad: Becoming the Father You Were Meant to Be
This was one of my favorite collaborative projects, in part because it shows a side of Jim Daly that we might not always see. This was a more autobiographical work than When Parenting Isn’t Perfect, where Jim talks about his own troubled childhood and some of the horrific moments he had to push past to not only become head of Focus on the Family, but a good father.
It also left me with one of the most powerful illustrations of what parenting’s all about, especially as your kids get older. Parenting, Jim says, is a little like a tetherball. The parent is the pole. The child is the ball. And the tether between the two, that’s your love. Sometimes the pole and ball are so close that they almost touch. Sometimes the ball sails far away. But as long as that tether—the love, the memories, the affection—is in good repair, they’ll never lose each other. I like that.
God on the Streets of Gotham
I’ve loved Batman ever since a kid—even when my dad threw away all my comic books. Why? Well, for many of the same reasons that other people like the guy. He’s rich. He’s brooding. He drives the coolest car on the planet. But I also like him because, unlike most other superheroes, he’s a little like you and me. And that comes with, I think, a spiritual message. He’s not perfect. In fact, the guy has some serious flaws. And yet, night after night, he tries to do the right thing, following a strict code of ethics that goes manmade rules and touches on something more divine.
I’m secretly hoping that someone asks me to do a sequel.