Saturday, May 26, 2007

What I Am Reading

I like to read. At any particular time, I may be reading two or three books (some with more enthusiasm than others!). Over the past year, a number of the books I have been reading have been connected to the two seminary classes I have taught. Right now, the books I am working on are completely my choice. One that is going pretty fast is a new book by Oliver “Buzz” Thomas, a former Baptist Joint Committee staffer who now lives in east Tennessee. The book is 10 Things Your Minster Wants to Tell You (But Can’t Because He Needs the Job). Thomas applies sound biblical scholarship to such issues as “What About Women?” “Other Religions” and “Why are We Here?” The thesis of the book is that your minister would tell you about these things if you trusted his/her ability to understand and interpret the Word of God and were willing to be challenged in your own faith!

I was attracted to Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why because of author Bart Ehrman’s personal story. Ehrman currently has three of the five top selling books from Oxford University Press. This one is a top seller from HarperSanFrancisco. Starting out as a born-again evangelical (he graduated from Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton), Ehrman’s study of textual criticism seems to have led him completely out of the Christian faith. I have read one of his other books and heard several of his lectures; he is certainly an expert on early church writings and “lost Christianities.” I will let you know what I think about this one once I have finished it!

Leading from the Second Chair by Mike Bonem and Roger Patterson is aimed at those who fill “second chair” or associate roles in churches and Christian organizations, but it also provides insights for those in the “first chair” to help develop the leadership skills of their associates. The book is built around three paradoxes, emphasizing both/add rather than either/or--subordinate-leader; deep-wide; and contentment-dreaming. The biblical content is drawn from the Old Testament story of Joseph. It is very practical, but it is probably much longer than it needs to be.

The final book I am carrying around with me is Organic Community by Joseph R. Myers. This is the second offering in a publishing partnership between Emergent Village and Baker Books titled “Emersion.” Since community seems to be the key feature of the emerging church movement, this is a very appropriate contribution to the conversation. Those of us who are church leaders may think we already know all about community, but Myers takes a different tack. I think I will enjoy this one!

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