What are YOU Reading These Days?

In his book, Reading for the Common Good: How Books Help Our Churches and Neighborhoods Flourish, C. Christopher Smith writes,
 "Reading is a crucial part of the process of discerning the shape of our life together. We read the Bible together, as well as other books that guide us to a deeper understanding of Scripture, books that help us better understand the times and places in which we live, and books that help us mature in our personal vocations within the church community."

Be it recipes, news reports, books to our children, work reports, blogs, twitter feeds, weather forecasts, fiction, non-fiction, science-fiction, biographies, Scripture, devotionals, song lyrics, we are all reading something these days.
When we cannot gather for conversation we can still engage with writers in the act of reading or listening (some of us love audio books!) and we can share with each other what we are reading and learning. In perusing someone’s bookshelf we learn something about to whom the bookshelf belongs. Let this be a way for us to share our bookshelves and our books with each other.

Welcome – let us know what you are reading these days!
Here are a couple responses (you can join in by responding below):

In response to your invitation to share what we've been reading -- this book is so special that I'm motivated to write. Knowing I'm a big John Ortberg fan, Sara bought me one of his books for Christmas. The book is Know Doubt, and it is fantastic.
I've loved all his books -- so much depth, couched in humility, a disarmingly unpretentious style, and a terrific sense of humour -- but this is my favourite yet. I no longer seem to have the wits of my fabled days as an English major to be able to provide an incisive summary, so I'll just quote off the back cover:
"This book is based on my own struggle with faith-shaking doubt, tracing the line between belief and unbelief and finding that it's less a dividing line between hostile camps thana razor's edge that runs through every soul. Mine. Yours. Even those known for their deep faith. . . . I will show you how doubt -- real, palpable, painful doubt -- leads to Truth. And that is a cause for celebration."
I intend to re-read this moving, courageous, candid, and powerful book very shortly (a distinction I've reserved for few and distinguished books!), and predict I will turn to it many times.
Love to all – Reena
I'm currently reading New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures by Tony Burke & Brent Landau. I loved your observation that the process of discernment is largely conversational, since I have always been drawn to historical documents as a way of one-way communication with ancient peoples. This book includes entire, annotated English translations of the original manuscripts, alongside essays that provide context and commentary. I'm really enjoying reading these stories about Jesus and apostles that were written in the earliest centuries of Christianity, and reading about how these books influenced the way that Christians behave, think, and imagine in different times and places. For example, the collection includes a narrative that specifically refers to Mary riding a donkey to Bethlehem and to Egypt after the Magi's visit, which the editors point out as the origins of the donkey in nativity imagery.

Growing up, I was taught to be wary of apocrypha, and any sort of early Christian writing that isn't in the canonical Scriptures (and anything written by a Catholic, to be honest). I now think that this is a bad approach to take towards these ancient authors, who are our long-gone brothers and sisters in Christ. When we censor the voices of those who did not make the cut into the final canon, and those who think differently from who we became later on, we are choosing to forget and ignore any evidence that goes against our modern Christian culture. When we choose to forget that our traditions are not immemorial, we choose to forget that there are other ways of understanding and interpreting Biblical passages and other ways of living a Godly life. We risk forgetting to serve Christ in favour of preserving our own mythology about who we think we are, and what we want God to be. For me, reading old books--ancient Christian manuscripts, medieval Christian and Jewish writings, etc., is a wonderful way of forcing myself to look at the Bible with fresh eyes, and to try to genuinely imagine reading the same Scriptures from a different perspective. I know that it's not for everyone; most people don't really like reading dusty old books! But for me, it is extremely special, especially whenever I'm having a hard time getting along with fellow Christians. Sometimes I need to go hang out with really old dead Christians before I feel like conversing with the living ones.
Big hugs, Kayla

1 Comment

Wilma Wiens - February 26th, 2021 at 9:57am

Thank you to Hilda Dick for passing on the titles of her currrent reads:

“ Favoured among Women “ and “To and From Nowhere” by Hedy Leonora Martens. Biographical Novels

“Love Wins: A book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived ” by Rob Bell

“Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley & Henry S . Lodge MD

She says - "These have been good reads."





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