Each month I drive south and west to meet with a few other pastors from my denomination. After some brief pleasantries we turn to the book we’re reading through together. On Wednesday we’ll begin talking about The Unnecessary Pastor by Marva Dawn and Eugene Peterson. You already know of my abiding appreciation for Peterson- I’ve mentioned him and his many books on this blog too many times to count. Dawn is an author I’ve meant to get to ever since gradate school, when I had the chance to meet her at a conference. I’ve just read the introduction and the first chapter and it is, of course, excellent.
Last weekend we went camping with some friends at Starved Rock State Park (a beautiful spot if you’re in Chicagoland). On Sunday morning – Father’s Day – Maggie “made” me sit by the campfire while she made a delicious breakfast. I sat and finished Alister McGrath’s excellent biography about C.S. Lewis before picking up God, Christ and Us by the Catholic preacher, Herbert McCabe. As sometimes happens, I stumbled onto McCabe through a review in Books and Culture where he was quoted approvingly by Eugene McCarraher.
I continue to slowly make my way through Augustine’s Confessions. I’ve found F.J. Sheed’s translation to be lyrical and very readable. In conversation with Augustine on my actual nightstand is Studs Terkel’s And They All Sang. (I imagine Studs winking at Augustine as he says, “Lighten up!”) This may be my submission for the perfect bedside book. I can leave it alone for weeks and then dip back into one of Studs’enthralling interviews with some interesting musician or singer from a bygone era; last night it was Dizzy Gillespie reminiscing on jazz and the rhythms of latin music. Wonderful stuff.
Having anticipated it for a few months, I’m now reading James K. A. Smith’s Imagining the Kingdom with three church friends. We’ve traded some emails as we read and will find time to discuss Smith’s perspective on worship, cultural anthropology, liturgy over dessert later this summer. Smith’s first book in this series, Desiring the Kingdom, was incredibly helpful to me and this one looks to be equally a gift to the church.
Finally, I just received in the mail Educating all God’s Children: What Christians Can – and Should – Do to Improve Public Education for Low-Income Kids. I’ll be reviewing this for Englewood Review of Books and am hopeful that it will add to my own education on a topic that is incredibly relevant to our neighborhood and church.
So that’s what’s on my night stand. How about you? Read anything lately that you’d recommend?