Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Read Any Good Books Lately?

Considering the glut of Christian books out there, much of which is bad (I'm trying to be nice and not call it crap. Oops, I just did.). When I was a wee lad my mother worked in the local sewage treatment plant testing water for heavy metals like lead, mercury, and Metallica. Every so often she'd have to go out to the sludge pile to get a sample. At the pile there were workers who'd go out for her sinking up to their knees in all sorts of vile waste to get her sample. My mother, being barely 5'1" would have sunk up to her neck. I see the Christian writing community in much the same light as that pile of sludge. Sometimes you have to get waste deep in it in order to find what you need and you hope to God you don't sink up to your neck before you do! Few in the publishing world are taking notice. I for the most part have greatly reduced the amount of Christian books I read. I almost never read Christian fiction. My pastor introduced me to CCEL where I gladly spend most of my time combing through the great minds of our Christian fathers. I am reading a very well known Christian book right now (being a bit of a Johnny come lately and will comment more on that at another time), but am wondering: Who do you guys read? Who do you think is worth a salt and why do you think so? I need to consider my own library. I'll spare you m poetry collection which more than over runs my shelves far more than books on Christianity. Here is a good introduction of what I usually read.

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posted by Out Of Jersey | 7:59 PM


Blogger LutherPunk said...

I am all over the place with readings. In the Christian arena, I have been reading more and more patristics and have always been a fan of monastic writers. I have read a couple of emergent books here lately and really found them to be...well...let's just say that they didn't live up to the hype.

Some writers in regular rotation include: Luther (duh!), Thomas Merton, Benedict, etc.

I've read the more popular Christian books simply out of pastoral duty, since I know that my people are reading them, so i have read Warren and stuff like that as well.

7:58 AM  
Blogger jasdye said...

i'm a bit more contemporary than luther punk, of course.

but some stuff i've really liked in the last couple years:
anything by david dark; anything by philip yancey; n.t. wright with all my heart (mostly sermons or lectures, the books can be tedious for the layman); can't forget flannery of course (as far as fiction is concerned. add to that list fyodor and c.s.); one book that i wish i had on hand way before marriage is lauren t. winner's real sex; kind of over my john piper period, but he's already had his bite in me. also liked rob bell's velvet elvis, although i'm coming to question some of his tactics.

8:08 PM  
Blogger jasdye said...

oh, and donald miller. especially a big fan of his searching for God knows what.

as far as the *why* question:
well, they're all good writers, for starters. and good readers. and good conversationalists.

i love how wright came from the "historical jesus and new perspective on paul" scenes, but with eyes toward ministry (he spent equal amounts of time in the ivory towers and in his clerical robes) and away from flashiness. he's shown the difference - for me better than anyone else - between what the Bible (specifically, the new testament) was saying in its first century judaic culture and the surrounding and latter day greek and gnostic influences that would cloud the western church for the next two thousand years. and he's asked the question, what should the church truly be about? should we just come together to sing some songs and listen to a homily or sermon and go home, put our hands under our butts and wait for Jesus to take us away from this doomed planet? i love his answers.

david dark has opened my eyes to see the bible in sociological and political ways that i hadn't before.

yancey is much easier to read. he's a ruminating and investigative writer, but he rarely gives answers, instead prefering tough questions. the quotes he gives from other writers constantly haunt me. in a good way. i highly recommend "the Jesus I never knew" and "what's to amazing about grace".

yeah, i think that's it for now.

happy maundy thursday.

6:40 AM  
Blogger Too_Lively said...

I know this is an older book, but I purchased "Blue Like Jazz" some time ago and have yet to crack into it. Have any of you guys read it, and is it worth my time? (I probably should have asked before buying it, huh?)

Right now I am reading "Doubt: A History," and while it is not a Christian book, I think it would be interesting to anyone thinking about what they believe and why they believe it.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

"Blue Like Jazz"--loved it. I was going to recommend it, actually (since Jasdye already mentioned SfGKW, which I also liked better, though most people don't). Too Lively, you might particularly appreciate Miller's one paragraph about Jane Austen--if you're at all into Jane Austen. It's hilarious.

I have a hard time listing favourite books, though I give it a shot in my blog profile. CS Lewis once said that if a book isn't worth reading as an adult, it's not worth reading as a child, so I like loads of kids books which are still worth reading to me at age 34. I also like books that leave me asking questions. And books that have satisfyingly happy endings as opposed to obligatory happy endings.

For specifics, just check my profile.

4:11 PM  
Blogger jasdye said...

thanks, jenn. i knew somebody had to find "Searching" better than "Blue".

but "Blue" is good. it's a good, breezy read and i would highly recommend it in terms of spiritual seeking.

7:34 PM  
Blogger The Cubicle Reverend said...

Pretty much what I thought. Lewis, Merton, Yancey, etc. Maybe I shouldn't be as fearful as I thought. Though, Too_Lively, I want to read that book on doubt. I read a history of the N word and I have to admit it totally made me think about what I thought the use of the N word.

8:39 PM  

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