The Best Books I Read in 2021

12 17+post

For those secular people that are going to be immediately turned off by my putting the Bible first on this list, I’ve written this list many years and I don’t think I’ve ever put a religious text on my top list. Hang with me, please.

Fr. Mike Schmitz is a fellow Brainerd High School graduate (I was friends with his older brother, Mark). His dad was an orthopedic surgeon who did more than a dozen operations on my father, who had polio, and so the Schmitz family was always held in high esteem around my household. Mike was the funny kid, a couple years younger than me. It’s been a delight watching him join the priesthood and be very successful in his calling.

I’m not sure where I first heard that he would be doing the Bible in a Year podcast, but I remember my first reaction: that’s crazy. I’ve read the New Testament front to back twice (once each summer when I was in the Army), but I’ve never pondered taking on the entire Bible. Was that even possible?

Not only was it possible, it has been a beautiful experience. I’ve learned a ridiculous amount, found some added inner peace, and grew my appreciation for not only my Catholicism, but for Judaism as well. And I’ve run into more people who are listening along with me than I had ever imagined I would. Father Mike’s way of speaking is very Brainerd as well, so I’ve enjoyed the connection to home, especially during my travels. I’m sad to see this journey end here in a couple weeks.

And, because I’m a curious guy, I am really hopeful that someone will do Koran, Vida, or Tripitaka “in a year,” or some equivalent. It would be a fascinating way for us to understand each other more authentically and I welcome the opportunity.

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