Tomorrow is Labor Day, and it seems as good a time as any to clear out my “recent reading” sidebar and start over. Here are some of the things I put in my head this May, June, July, and August – and a few comments on each item.
Part 1: Nonfiction
Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, by N.T. Wright – Wright says we need to question the commonly held, culturally shaped assumption that the centerpiece of Christianity is Jesus dying and paying for our sins so we can go to heaven. Heady stuff; well done.
Un-earth: Exploring a Land with No Name, by Christy Vidrine and Autumn Rogers – Autumn is with the same mission agency as I am; she and Christy wrote this nicely post-modern book - quite different from other things that are out there - for young people coming home from short-term mission experiences. I reviewed it for the ezine, here.
The Twelve Little Cakes, by Dominika Dery – Decided to check out this book – one my roommate Deb had read with her book club – in order to have something I could enjoy but not swallow in a single gulp as I was traveling. It’s good; the memoir of a girl growing up in
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, by Philip Gourevitch – Intense series of journalistic essays on the horrible genocide that took place in
Each to Her Post, by Phyllis Thompson – This is part of the extensive body of published material about the early days of the China Inland Mission, although it focuses on six, sometimes lesser-known characters in that story, all women. I quoted from this book in my post about Amelia Taylor Broomfield here. Phyllis herself is worth a chapter, and gets a good chunk of one in Valerie Griffiths’ brilliant Not Less Than Everything.
Old Testament. As I mentioned in my April reading roundup, I pulled back on regular patterns of reading for the summer in order to spend more time in Scripture – joined a campaign to read the Bible in 90 days. Well, I didn’t make it, but I did get through the ol’ T (except for Psalms, which I decided to save for another season). Pretty much started at the beginning and kept going.
(The idea of doing this as a ‘marathon’ was to get the big picture, not camp in and spend months with say, Paul, or David, or Hezekiah, good as that could be. Most of the time I read a whole or half of a book in one sitting. I did find it helped to have a Bible with a bit more commentary, to help me along the way and answer some of the most obvious questions. Even so, there were definitely moments when I thought, “This may have very little application for me, but it’s part of the back-story for Jesus, and I'm a big fan of Jesus; getting this in my head may affect how I read some of the other books.” For another pilgrim's take on some of the apparently oddest bits of the Old Testament, see this article about living out Leviticus.
I ended up reworking the 90-day reading plan I’d started with to avoid the awkward breaking points and allow me to skip around forward or back without starting in strange places. If you’re interested, email me or leave a note here requesting my “100 Day Bible
I also read a couple more biographies: