Thursday, June 15, 2006

Summer Reading

Reading in incredibly enjoyable for me. I spend a lot of time reading; so much to read and so little time left. That being the case, I am careful what I spend my time reading. And extremely careful what I recommend. It has also been important for me that if I'm not finding the book meaningful to give myself permission to stop reading it.

My spiritual director asks me every time we get together what I'm reading. At first I thought he was just curious. Then I realized how what I read is such an open window into my soul.

Because of the opportunity to take vacations and maybe get a little down time, the summer is a great space to catch up on reading. While it might be presumptuous of me to make some recommendations for your reading, I will be so bold as to make an offering of some recent books I've read that have been worth the time.

As a follow up to the recent book study at the Cathedral and Lenten conversation "Resurrection? So What?" two possibilities are Resurrection by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams and The Resurrection of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan and N.T. Wright in Dialogue edited by Robert Stewart.

Rebecca McClain suggested I read The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Old Church by Diana Butler Bass. This book has been a good resource for me as I have been dreaming what St. Brigid's Community at ASU is going to look like.

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why written by Bart Ehrman was recommended to me Kerry Neuhardt, Priest-in-charge of St. James in Tempe. I read that book parallel with Brian McLaren's The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth That Could Change Everything. While Ehrman's book is more academic it does explore the early history of Bible's transcription and the process of "editing." McLaren's book is from an evangelical perspective trying to lean into something more open. His Generous Orthodoxy has some value in providing a voice for trying to figure out "where my theology fits in all this world of religious pluralism?"

Anything Anne Lamont writes is good. Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith isn't her best but I would re-read it given time. She makes me laugh and cry in the same sentence. She also assuages my guilt for some of my more colorful metaphors.

For all those considering vocation in the priesthood On Being a Priest Today by Rosalind Brown and Christopher Cocksworth is a musical and poetic understanding of what it means to walk the pilgrimage path of being a priest for others.

Veronica encouraged me to add fiction reading to my spiritual practices. John Banville's The Sea won Ireland's "Man Booker Prize." It's a story of a man returning home and there he discovers his soul that he left behind. Joanne Harris wrote Chocolat. If you enjoyed that piece you will find this story of a seventeenth century woman fascinating and enlightening as well as intriguing. My daughter Alicia gave me a copy of Paulo Coelho's Eleven Minutes. It's a unique tale, all things Coelho, of a young woman who is on life's pilgrimage that takes her in some places she never wanted to go but finds through some experiences, her purpose in life.

Well, I've got a big stack of books to read for the summer. Better get busy.

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