Of the Making of Books…

I’ve been read­ing a lot late­ly. More than usu­al. Per­haps even more than ever, except per­haps the month or two after I received the canon of James W. Knox.

Notable, though, is that more than ever in the past nine years of faith, I am read­ing books not because I know I’m going to agree with just about every word and sim­ply want to rein­force what I already know.

Rather, I am pour­ing over books which are chal­leng­ing aspects of my faith which at one point I thought were unshak­able, aspects of my faith which I have at times zeal­ous­ly defend­ed against the types of peo­ple who would read the books I’m now devouring.

I guess you could call this per­son­al growth. Per­haps “ref­or­ma­tion” would be a bet­ter word. Some may say “rev­o­lu­tion.”

All I know is that my read­ing list keeps grow­ing, and it seems I can’t read some of these things quick­ly enough.

This past week­end, I fin­ished up Pagan Chris­tian­i­ty by Frank Vio­la & George Bar­na, a book rec­om­mend­ed to me by Glen. Pagan Chris­tian­i­ty is one of sev­er­al books I ordered a cou­ple of weeks ago.

It’s the first of that batch which I’ve fin­ished, but that did­n’t stop an impromp­tu trip to a book­store today net­ting me yet anoth­er stack of books, and this stack sees me break­ing out a bit fur­ther from my com­fort zone.

For the curi­ous, the books are

  • Vel­vet Elvis: Repaint­ing the Chris­t­ian Faith by Rob Bell, which I start­ed read­ing today. I can already tell that this lit­tle vol­ume will chal­lenge my per­cep­tions of just what Chris­tian­i­ty is all about. Well, I hope it does, any­way! Thanks, Lorene, for the suggestion!
  • The Abo­li­tion of Man by C. S. Lewis, which the back of the book declares to be “a defense of uni­ver­sal val­ues.” The exis­tence of uni­ver­sal mean­ing & val­ues, per­haps more than any­thing else, is proof to me that God exists; if I were an athe­ist, I would be forced by log­ic to argue that noth­ing mat­ters, that noth­ing holds intrin­sic val­ue. I’m curi­ous what Lewis can add to my under­stand­ing and approach to this topic.
  • The Irre­sistible Rev­o­lu­tion: Liv­ing as an Ordi­nary Rad­i­cal by Shane Clai­borne. As a point of fact, I loved Clai­borne’s Jesus for Pres­i­dent. When I saw The Irre­sistible Rev­o­lu­tion on the store shelf, I knew I had to read it. I’m also curi­ous how one can be an “ordi­nary rad­i­cal”; per­haps it is yet anoth­er one of Chris­tian­i­ty’s innu­mer­able paradoxes?
  • Final­ly, and most sur­pris­ing­ly to me: The Green Bible: Under­stand the Bible’s Pow­er­ful Mes­sage for the Earth (in a trans­la­tion I ordi­nar­i­ly would nev­er give a sec­ond thought to, the NRSV). Essen­tial­ly, this is lit­tle more than your stan­dard Bible, except instead of high­light­ing the words of Christ in red, vers­es & pas­sages through­out the book which deal with the earth are high­light­ed in green. There’s also a “trail guide” after Rev­e­la­tion to allow read­ers to walk through what the Scrip­tures teach regard­ing the earth.

I’m unsure what order I’ll end up read­ing these in — I still have plen­ty from my pre­vi­ous recent pur­chase as well, not to men­tion shelves full of books that I should some­time read.

If you’ve read any of these books, I’d be inter­est­ed in your com­men­da­tions & con­dem­na­tions there­of; is there one I should give a high­er pri­or­i­ty to than others?

And giv­en the above books, what are some oth­ers that I should look for in the future when I’m ready for more?






Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Use your Gravatar-enabled email address while commenting to automatically enhance your comment with some of Gravatar's open profile data.

Comments must be made in accordance with the comment policy. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam; learn how your comment data is processed.

You may use Markdown to format your comments; additionally, these HTML tags and attributes may be used: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rick Beckman