What am I reading over summer – both professionally and personally? Well, to begin, I should note that it will be winter where I am (Melbourne, Australia), but I do have a collection of items that I want to read, and cold days and nights are sometimes more conducive to staying home and reading than the other seasons when the siren call of the great outdoors is stronger! I have three of the “old style” books that I am going to be reading…you remember the ones that are printed on paper? I still use them but most of my reading is in digital form. The first of the traditional books that I have is a recent publication:
- Stephen Seamands, Give Them Christ: Preaching his Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension and Return (IVP, 2012)
Steve is a friend, a colleague and a good pastoral theologian. I’ve dipped into it and it is highly recommended.
The second is on the same topic – Christology – but has been around longer:
The third print book almost escaped my attention because one does not sit down to read it like other books. It is a daily prayer book:
- Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrave, Enuma Okora, Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Zondervan, 2010).
Then, the rest are on my Kindle. One of the great things about an e-reader is that one carries around something that is not a book but a library! And one can choose according to how one feels at a particular time. A second great advantage is that it makes the classics much more available. One really ought to read ‘old’ books more than recently published ones. Two spiritual classics that I am working through at the moment are:
- Jeremy Taylor, Holy Living and Holy Dying: The rule and exercises of holy living in which are described the means and instruments of obtaining virtue and the remedies against every vice, and considerations serving to the resisting of all temptations together with prayers containing the whole duty of a Christian, and the parts fitted to all occasions, and furnished for all necessities. (Bradley, 1860)
That age not only liked long titles but also detailed discussions!
And I also have some good literature to read. Both deal with social issues of their day and I will read one of them, probably Dickens in honor of the 200th anniversary of his birth:
I also have the sermons of Charles Kingsley, another 19th century writer/social activist (as well as priest and historian), author of The Water Babies (Concerning the situation of chimney-sweeps). Charles Kingsley, The Good News of God (Macmillan, 1887)
A serious text that I hope to get to, but which will require a time of concentrated attention, is
This is a theology of beauty and a history of the church’s interaction with art. I try to understand what I see and experience in life in theological terms. Beyond these books I have listed I have about half a dozen journal articles of a a rather specialized nature to do with various aspects of my teaching and an unpublished Ph.D. on science and religion written by a friend. I am not entirely certain which of these I will actually get to read, but I will get through quite a few of them. As Wesley said, “It cannot be that people should grow in grace unless they give themselves to reading… A reading people will always be a knowing people.”