Monday, August 28, 2006

Books in the sidebar

As you can see, there are a few extra bits at the side, and a couple of things have disappeared. I wanted particularly to add some links to books which are either on the go or have been mentioned before in my postings. I thought I would say a few words about the ones there now

Brian McLaren - a Generous Orthodoxy - have been carrying this around for about six months, partly to see what all the fuss was about and partly because i have had in my mind the idea for a book with a similar title for some time - still not got around to reading any of it yet, so can't comment, but he has certainly stirred up things in the Evangelical world.

Sally Morganthaler - Worship Evangelism - a great book, in lots of ways. It begins with the challenge to consider what Worship is and a particularly good summary of 'worship within the Psalms' which gives plenty of food for thought. The basic premise seems to be that worship in itself is evangelistic - something i agree with completely - and that bringing folk into the presence of God has its own effect. The challenge is, of course, whether our worship is bringing people into God's presence and if not, why not.

In the course of considering this Morganthaler considers the models of seeker services and whether they really do justice to the aim of worshipping God and takes time to think about ways of worship which can energise and excite the spirit within us.

It might not be a book which one would agree with completely, but it contains so much good material that even dipping into it is rewarding and challenging. The opening chapters are particularly good. It's well written, engaging and enjoyable, though not always comfortable.

Lionel Shriver - We need to talk about Kevin - bought recently from a second hand book stall in a village in France! I have read about five chapters and am already rapt with it, written in such a way that it is hard to put down i have to discipline myself by reading a chapter at a time.

It's written in letter form, with a wife writing to her estranged husband about the disaster her son has perpetrated. Though what it is becomes clear very early on I won't mention it here as things unfold beautifully in the first couple of letters. I am impressed both with the quality of the writing and the imaginative and sensitive handling of the subject matter.

Alistair Cooke - Letter from America - a wonderful selection of snapshots from the sixty years of letters for the radio that Cooke broadcast. It gives considerable insight to the changes and events of the past years in that nation (or selection of nations as Cooke seems to paint it). Reading a letter at a time gives lots to think about and enjoy - easy reading without being lightweight, insightful without being patronising and intelligent without being overly intellectual.

Christopher Irvine - The Art of God - fantastic theological book about the transformation that worship brings. For me, reading this in tandem with Worship Evangelism was a wonderful experience. Though coming from a very different place to Morganthaler this book shows more of God's great work in us as we encounter him in prayer, worship and sacrament. It is a work of scholarly theology from an Anglican Theologian but, I believe, contains principles that apply to Christians of any tradition and background. I have talked at length in previous posts about it here and here and stand by everything i have said before, it is a helpful, thoughtful, worthwhile book.

Margaret Benefiel - The Soul at Work - looks great, keep meaning to really get to grips with it, stay tuned.

One book I decided not to add is 'Scepticism Inc.' by Bo Fowler which is one of my favourite books of all time - but the list at the side could just get longer and longer. 'Scepticism Inc.' contains the adventures of an intelligent shopping trolley in a world of metaphysical betting shops, sounds odd, it is, but it asks, or encourages one to ask, questions about faith, reality and the state of faith in the West now and in the years to come. It's well written, easy to get to grips with and it's funny too. I cannot recommend it highly enough, though I am sure I will get emails which tell me they thought it was wierd and rubbish! If you want to read some more, or even get it, follow this picture

That's it for now - just be thankful i've not started talking about DVDs/Movies or music, or we could be here for weeks.

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