I’ve got some reading to be doing. I’ve been processing a lot of information lately, and writing much here on the definition and background of missional… which I think I’ve got a handle on now, actually. Yesterday I went for breakfast by myself, and between looking around to find where the server with the coffeepot had gone, I spread out some 3×5 cards (2½”x4″, actually) and made notes on them to outline the recompilation of the material into something publishable.
While I was finishing my breakfast, I finished reading Willie Young’s The Shack. There seemed to be a fair bit of humidity attending the last chapter or two… I’ll write up a review of this one, as there are some things that bear saying about it. The last two reviews I saw for the book were mediocre, but I liked it better than either of those. Maybe it just hit me differently, as I’m a bit older and have two daughters of my own… the relevance of that will make more sense with my further comments. The book is actually doing fairly well and has some buzz around it, but I’ll save the rest of my comments for the review.
The big questions is which one(s?) to pick up next. Let’s see, sifting through the stack and judging by the covers (with the odd peek at the insides)…
Butterfly in Brazil by Glenn Packiam is subtitled, “How your life can make a world of difference,” and I would assume it has some kind of take on “the butterfly effect.” Back cover: “According to the butterfly effect, small changes can make a big impact. 14 chapters in 132 pages — should be a relatively quick read; the pages are “decorated” with scratchy-type marks around the edges, which to me is a bit distracting. Nonetheless, the The Tipping Point-lover in me is keen on the idea of small things yielding a big effect. Flipping randomly to page 142, I see the sentence, “Love is the only thing strong enough to slay the dragon of cynicism, in whose wake lie many once-valiant knights.” Okay, I’m cynical. I’ll give this book a further look, but… uh, what else do we have?
Fresh from my mailbox the day before yesterday, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg: Living Through the Lord’s Prayer by Telford Work, associate professor of theology at Westmont College, and the introduction carries the heading, “Why I Am Writing a Book I Am Unqualified to Write.” Back cover endorsements by Eugene Peterson and Stanley Hauerwas. This one takes the Lord’s Prayer and unpacks each phrase, clearly pulling a lot from each phrase. Each chapter is prefaced with a quote or two — I like it when books do that, bonus points awarded. This one looks very promising, and hits the prayer theme of the recent synchro-blog…
…like the other item I retrieved from the mailbox in the same envelope, which hits even closer to my own post in the prayer synchro-blog. Dale C. Allison Jr.’s The Luminous Dusk: Finding God in the Deep, Still Places, with back-cover endorsements from Richard Foster and Scot McKnight, the book is described as “an elegant, lyrical call to seek the stillness of God in our clamorous world.” Mmmm, more chapter-preface quotes, and they look delightfully eclectic. Looks deliciously nourishing to the soul.
Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Romans, Galatians by Roger Mohrlang (Romans) and Gerald Borchert (Galatians) has been sitting nearby for a little while now. Most people will simply file commentaries on the shelf for future reference (as I’ve done with many of my own), but some (mainly theologians and scholars, one must admit) will read them through like any other book… which is a valuable practice. Leafing through this present volume as my introduction to the series, it looks like the series would be a good starting-place for pastors and laypersons who are accustomed to the former practice but wish to take up the latter. Accessibly written and not exhaustive ad nauseum, I realize the reason it’s been sitting here is that each time I pick it up I want to spend more time with it and set it aside for when I have more time. Bad, bad habit, that.
As I’ve been working through my series describing the background and meaning of missional thought, I ended up in a consideration of the imageo Dei (the image of God), so I pulled out Scot McKnight’s Embracing Grace: A Gospel for All of Us to re-read what he had written about Eikons. I read this one some time back, and realized as I looked at it again that I had started to write a review of this book about a year and a half ago, but didn’t finish. Well, I still recommend the book.
I picked up Joanne Harris’ novel Blackberry Wine simply because she had also written Chocolat, and while I haven’t read the book, the themes in the movie were brilliant — watch it again if you don’t know what I’m talking about. For the present book… the cover photo looks delicious, and the whole thing just feels inviting. Hey, I warned you I was judging by the covers! I should have been reading this a month ago… you can read anything you want in the summers and nobody thinks of it as “fluff”, at least not in a bad way. Something tells me there’s more to it than escapist fiction.
And while we’re considering books from which movies have been adapted and which I should perhaps have gotten into the summer reading season, I have Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun sitting here as well, begging to be read. Here again, the movie was excellent for its themes, though not perhaps for the same reasons as Chocolat. It was one of those movies that was like “literate cinema,” if that makes sense, and appeared (without reading the book) to be adapted well enough to hint to you that the book offers even more, and is probably worth the extra effort. Mayes is known for her writings on Italy — Tuscany, to be precise, and I’ve wanted to read it for that reason alone. I’ve never been, but someday…