Reading Without End

Two verses come to mind when I think of reading – one from Ecclesiastes, the other from Proverbs:

“To the making of books there is no end, and too much study is a weariness of the flesh.” (Ecc. 12:12)

“Wisdom is supreme; therefore, get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have get understanding.” (Prov. 4:7)

Needless to say, I’m very obedient to the second verse and I think I don’t mind the weariness that much study entails. “Though it cost you all you have, get understanding!” That’s what the Bible says so that’s what I’ll keep on doing – spend a fortune on books. So here are the latest additions to my library:

I forgot to mention last time that I also bought Petersen and Petersen’s 100 Christian Books That Changed the Century. I was glad to find out I had most of what they listed. Some of what they listed I think weren’t all that great so I don’t mind not having them. They admitted this much by implying at the end of the book that this wasn’t a list of best books.

Yesterday, I was at Book Sale again (SM-Bacolod) and bought more 2nd hand books, namely:

1. Debra Dean Murphy’s Teaching That Transforms (Worship as the Heart of Christian Education)

2. Bart. D. Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus (The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why)

3. Paul J. Griffiths’ Lying (An Augustinian Theology of Duplicity)

4. Rethinking the Synoptic Problem, edited by Black and Beck

5. Gary Thomas’ Sacred Pathways

6. Lee Strobel’s Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary

After this morning’s worship service I went to Robinson’s Place and bought the following from Book Shop (by the way, I only got to know that Book Shop is different from Book Sale when SM opened here in Bacolod):

1. John Dewey’s Democracy and Education

2. The Renaissance Philosophy of Man

3. Jean Genet’s Miracle of the Rose

4. Henri Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son

5. Wilfred Cantwell Smith’s The Faith of Other Men

6. Emil L. Fackenheim’s What is Judaism?

7. Harold Hoffding’s A History of Modern Philosophy (vol. 1)

8. R. K. Narayan’s The Guide (A Novel of A Reluctant Holy Man)

9. John E. Smith’s The Spirit of American Philosophy

10. Creators of the Jewish Experience in the Modern World, edited by Simon Noveck

11. Edward Schillebeeckx’ Jesus (An Experiment in Christology)

12. The World Treasury of Modern Religious Thought, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan

And to top it all my sister-in-law and her husband sent me the following all the way from Canada!

1. J.N.D. Kelly’s Early Christian Doctrines

2. The English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament, English Standard Version

All I can say is I just feel so blessed! I’m reminded of something Virginia Woolf wrote in her essay, How Should One Read A Book? I don’t think what she had to say is theologically sound, but for purposes of communicating a sense of the joy I have in reading it will have to do! Here’s what she wrote:

I have sometimes dreamt, at least, that when the Day of Judgment dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards – their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble – the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when He sees us coming with our books under our arms, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading.”

Books … Again!

 Earlier this evening I was at BookSale, ShoeMart-Bacolod and was overjoyed to find the following new arrivals (2nd hand, of course), which I promptly bought:

1. Creed Without Chaos (Exploring Theology in the Writings of Dorothy L. Sayers) by Laura K. Simmons

2. Reel Spirituality (Theology and Film in Dialogue) by Robert K. Johnston

3. The Theater of His Glory (Nature and the Natural Order in the Thought of John Calvin) by Susan E. Schreiner

4. The Case for Faith (A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity) by Lee Strobel

5. Favorite Psalms (Growing Closer to God) by John Stott

6. Looking into the Future (Evangelical Studies in Eschatology), edited by David W. Baker

7. Alister McGrath and Evangelical Theology (A Dynamic Engagement), edited by Sung Wook Chung

8. God, Truth and Witness (Engaging Stanley Hauerwas)

9. Selling Ourselves Short (Why We Struggle to Earn a Living and Have a Life) by Catherine M. Wallace

Also, a couple of days ago I bought Stanley Hauerwas’ With the Grain of the Universe. Having good books to add to my library is always a cause for celebration as well as for thanksgiving, as far I’m concerned! Now, if only there was time to read all of them . . .

Politics and the Pulpit

Since yesterday was Good Friday we had no office. With so much time on my hands I spent most of the day reading – mainly from Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France and Buchanan’s Doctrine of Justification. I learned something valuable from Burke on keeping the pulpit politics-free. Politics is not really something I’m very interested in, so keeping it out of my sermons comes easy to me. Anyway, here’s the quote:

[P]olitics and the pulpit are terms that have little agreement. No sound ought to be heard in the church but the healing voice of Christian charity. The cause of civil liberty and civil government gains as little as that of religion by the confusion of duties. Those who quit their proper character, to assume what does not belong to them, are, for the greater part, ignorant both of the character they leave, and of the character they assume. Wholly unacquainted with the world in which they are so fond of meddling, and inexperienced in all its affairs, on which they pronounce with so much confidence, they have nothing of politics but the passions they excite. Surely the church is a place where one day’s truce ought to be allowed to the dissensions and animosities of mankind.

— Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (Penguin Classics, 1986) p. 94