WHAT ARE YOU READING?

You may not get to read as much as you would like, but I’m sure you do your share of reading. Because of the nature of my work as a pastor I have always needed to read and had the time to do so. Since I stepped down from my last church just over a year ago I have had the opportunity to read even more than I did before. I want to highlight five books that may interest you and that you may want to get and read.

The title of one book got my attention: The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus (2015, HarperOne). It was put together by Dallas Willard’s daughter (following his death) from his notes and lectures. The title not only got my attention, when I read it I was convicted. Willard challenges us as Christians not to “engage in debates and arguments with an antagonizing, arrogant spirit” (p. 2), but to “be characterized by gentleness” and humility.

A second book I am still reading is an older book (1998). I wanted to read it for a few years and finally ordered a used copy. It is entitled Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith (Riverhead Books) and is written by Kathleen Norris. (Yes, a woman!) It consists of some 80 brief chapters that deal with a variety of important words and phrases in Christianity often from a personal perspective. I am taking my time and savoring her selections.

For those interested in the Bible I am quite impressed with Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart’s How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Zondervan). First published in 1981, I have the 2014 Fourth Edition. This book is required for one of the classes I teach at Hope International University and has informative chapters on every part of the Bible. It’s an excellent companion for Bible reading.

Last month I got Jesus: A Historical Portrait by Daniel Harrington (2007, St. Anthony Messenger Press). Harrington is a Roman Catholic priest and a professor of New Testament, but this short book is not complicated or too deep for you. “This book aims to state concisely and clearly for a general audience what many specialists in biblical research have learned and written about Jesus of Nazareth in recent years” (p.1). Just over 100 pages, this is an interesting overview of what the Gospels tell us about the life of Jesus.

Finally, if you have not read it, there is my book A Pastor and the People: An inside Look through Letters. You can read about it here https://bobmmink.com/book/.

Which of these books sounds the most interesting to you and might you get and read? What have you read recently you would suggest? Let me and other readers know in the comments below. And share this post if you think others would enjoy it.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/43188309@N00/15419801481″>Teach your baby to read</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a ref=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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Do You Agree?

In early preparation for a class I will be teaching in January on the Gospel of John I pulled a book off my shelf entitled Studies in the Fourth Gospel. Written by one of my favorite authors, it was published in 1969.  Most of us would say: Wow, that’s an old book! And it is.

But I learned a long time ago that just because a book is old does not mean it doesn’t have something to say. In the preface of this book author Leon Morris writes, “I read books by [authors] of all sorts of opinions and profit not least from those with whom I disagree most fundamentally.”

I confess I do the same thing. I read books, articles, and posts of all kinds written by people with whom I do not agree. And I learn and grow from what I read.

That is not to say I don’t read material written by people with whom I agree. I read lots of things written by such authors. And I gain much from reading them.

I don’t think we should be afraid to read authors with whom we disagree.  I think it can be good for us informing us and sometimes challenging us. I don’t think we need to read such material all the time, but I think we should include some in our reading diet. For example, the last several days I have read widely about the Supreme Court’s recent decision on gay marriage and how Christians should respond. I agree with some of what I read and I disagree with some of what I read. But I am now better acquainted with the thinking of others on the subject.

By the way, I think we should also include in our reading some old, older, and even ancient writings. (Hint: that includes the Bible.)

Do you agree?

Feel free to leave a comment below if you would like.