Slow Down and Read
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” - C.S. Lewis
Abiding is not done on the quick. It demands slowing down, intentional reflection, evaluation, and something that might seem strange at first: getting out of yourself and considering things from other points of view, a kind of chosen ignorance in order to learn something new, something rich.
Few things do this like reading well, which takes intention and effort and planning (as well as grace, humility and mentors).
As with most years, 2017 began for me with a strong dedication to personal reading which bounced around a bit in the spring, stagnated in the doldrums of summer and then picked up with the falling of the leaves.
Here are the books on my reading list that stood out the most:
East of Eden, John Steinbeck (Steinbeck was never a favorite, until now. Thank you, Seth Haines.)
A Community Called Atonement, Scot McKnight
(This book is a must-read for those serious about understanding the role of the Church
in the process of atonement, or anyone who feels stuck in the “how” question.)
Liturgy of the Ordinary, Tish Harrison Warren (outstanding)
Beauty will Save the World, Brian Zahnd (a prophetic book for our time)
Glory Happening, Kaitlin B. Curtice (earnest and challenging)
Golden Hill, Francis Spufford (a little distraction by a serious author)
Exit West, Mohsin Hamid (not a great book, but eye-opening nonetheless)
And here’s my list for 2018.
Some are continuations from last year that I stalled on, others are from the list but I never started them. I’m not legalistic about it, anyway. I know some won’t be opened and others not listed here will make their way in, but there is something about a challenging stack of books, waiting to reveal their treasure, that helps fight the empty-calorie temptations of media—social and mass.
How to Think, Alan Jacobs
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
Reading Revelation Responsibly, Michael Gorman
The Magnificent Story, James Brian Smith
I and Thou, Martin Buber
A Creative Minority, Heather Grizzle and Jon Tyson
A History of Christian Theology, William C. Placher
H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald
The Book of Dun Cow, Walter Wangerin
Everything Belongs, Richard Rohr
Desiring the Kingdom, James K. A. Smith
For the Life of the World, Alexander Schmemann
For the Glory of God, Rodney Stark
The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
Imitating God in Christ, Jason B. Hood
The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb, Jamin Goggin and Kyle C. Strobel
Malestrom, Carolyn Custis James
Subversive Sabbath, A. J. Swoboda
Grace and peace, y’all.