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Take it to the Beach

University Relations

Summertime. Class dismissed. That means weekends on the beach with family and friends. There’s nothing like sunshine, a warm summer ocean breeze and a great book, right?

Charleston Southern University asked our faculty and staff to recommend great summer books you might want to consider grabbing to take to the beach. Here are some suggested titles:



by Marilynne Robinson

GileadGilead is one of the best novels of the last decade and won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. Set in the late 1950s, the novel tells of an aging minister, John Ames, and of his relationship with not only his late-life family of a younger wife and young child but also of the difficulties endured by his troubled godson, Jack Boughton. Home, the sequel, focuses on Jack’s sister, Glory, and describes many of the same events from Gilead in a new light. The two can be read independently or together and offer a sublime commentary on grace, salvation and forgiveness.

Recommended by Dr. Scott D. Yarbrough, Chair, Department of English


The Principle of the Path

by Andy Stanley

The Principle of the PathAs Dean of Students, I often meet students who are seeking direction in life. This practical book from megachurch pastor, Andy Stanley, gives great advice. The subtitle of the book sums up the thesis of the book well, “How to get from where you are to where you want to be.” This is a must read for people who want to get on the right path to success!

Recommended by Clark Carter, Dean of Students


Every Good Endeavor

by Timothy Keller

Every Good EndevourSubtitled “Connecting your Work to God’s Work” Keller underscores the biblical model of the Hebrew term avodah—the same word for work is the same word for worship. Every Good Endeavor proceeds to effectively present a model for allowing our work-station to also serve as a worship-station. Considered by many to be a modern day C. S. Lewis, Keller provides readers a clear biblical understanding for the role of work in our lives while tapping into the conviction of Christ-followers to glorify God in “whatever you do” (Colossians 3:23). A few years ago Billy Graham said he believed the next major wave of spiritual renewal would come through the business world. If so, Keller’s Every Good Endeavor will be one of the significant voices speaking purpose to this movement.


Imagine Happiness (A Simple Guide)

by Bobby Schuller

Imagine HappinessDrawing inspiration from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount Bobby Schuller provides a simple guide to the possibility of genuine happiness for anyone in any situation. Unlike the myriad of books on the market promoting happiness, success, etc., Schuller’s work is substantive and rich with influences including Chesterton, Willard, Nouwen, Aristotle, the Apostle Paul,and Scripture.  In a world that appears to be becoming increasingly unhappy, Schuller reminds readers that one can experience happiness even when circumstances appear to dictate the opposite. Imagine Happiness will make an excellent family book study, especially for families with teens and preteens, as Schuller pushes away the popular notion that happiness is an entitlement or right. Instead, Schuller reminds his readers that happiness is directly linked to an attitude of gratitude. I imagine his famous grandfather-- possibility-thinker, pastor, television preacher Dr. Robert Schuller—is quite happy with young Bobby’s wise counsel and insight found in the pages of Imagine Happiness.

Recommended by Dr. Rick Brewer, Vice President of Student Affairs and Athletics


Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together

by Ron Hall & Denver Moore

Same Kind of Different as MeIn this nonfiction account, two men from very different backgrounds share the story of how God develops a powerful friendship between them- a friendship which transforms each of their lives. Ron Hall is an international art dealer with the promise of wealth and comfort within his reach. Denver Moore is a homeless man who was raised under plantation-style slavery in the 1960s. Ron’s wife, Deborah, listens and obeys the call of God to serve the poor in their city and intentionally pursues a relationship with Denver, despite skepticism from both men. As the story unfolds, the reader is drawn into a beautiful and unforgettable story of friendship and redemption, even in the midst of life’s difficult and painful situations.

Recommended by Joanne Jemsek, Assistant Director of Counseling Services



IWhy College Matters to Godn addition, we recommend Rick Ostrander’s Why College Matters to God, the selected summer reading title for Charleston Southern University’s incoming freshmen. The book will also be the foundation for the 2013-14 Freshman Seminar course.

Why College Matters to God will shape new student orientation discussions and the Freshman/New Student Christian Worldview 101 class this fall,” said Dr. Rick Brewer, vice president of student affairs and athletics. “The book will also resonate with CSU’s faculty and staff as well as parents of our new students.”

Ostrander’s simple language rings throughout the book as he tackles big subjects – the doctrine of creation, the doctrine of the fall and the doctrine of redemption. He clarifies concepts like how a Christian college differs from other colleges writing, “The difference between a Christian university and other institutions of higher learning is this: A Christian college weaves a Christian worldview into the entire fabric of the institution, including academic life.”

When writing the book, Ostrander, currently the provost at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, sought to reach typical freshmen attending a Christian college. “As a Christian educator, my goal has always been to communicate the distinctive purpose and immense value of Christian higher education in clear and simple language,” writes Ostrander.

Ostrander also sheds light on the history of Christian colleges in America as well as what it means to integrate faith and learning. He answers questions like, “What is a worldview and how is it different from a Christian worldview?”

Many who are entering a Christian college may have never heard these terms. The time spent in freshmen seminar classes can lay a foundation for their years at the university as they continue to find their purpose through the weaving of the fabric of their own lives.


Founded in 1964, Charleston Southern University is a private, four-year liberal arts college. CSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The University’s vision is to be a Christian university nationally recognized for integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.

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