Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Reading List

Summer always started the same way when I was a kid. 

On the first day of summer my mom would pile all of us kids into the station wagon and drive us to the Round Rock Public Library and sign us up for the Summer Reading Program. 

The program worked like this: For every milestone you passed (for every 10 short, children’s books when you were a kid or for every 100 pages of a chapter book once you got older) you got a Prize Pack. Those Prize Packs were filled with all sorts of little trinkets as well as coupons for free stuff from local shops. 

The best prize in the gift bag (the Holy Grail of the Prize Packs) was the coupon for “One Free Donut” from Round Rock Donuts! Lots of people can trace their love of reading back to an certain influential teacher or to a particular beloved book, but I’m pretty sure my love of reading was nurtured by those donut coupons!
Even though the donut reward system is long since past for me, I still see summer time as reading time. Each summer I put together my own Summer Reading List, and I build in some accountability by sharing the full list with the church. It is also an invitation too. If  you are interested in any of the titles on my Summer Reading List and want to order a copy for yourself I’ve also included linksfor each book. 

So without further ado, here is what I’ll be reading this summer:
  • A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen
    A classic text. Nouwen connects the practical need for funds to do the work of religious organizations with the spiritual and theological principles that inform the work.
  • Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairytale by Frederick Buechner
    A short, quick read by one of my favorite authors. It offers a creative look at the underlying meaning of the Gospels that stresses the many dimensions of God's relationship to humanity.
  • Insurrection: To Believe is Human to Doubt, Divine by Peter Rollins
    A thought provoking book from one of the leaders of the Emergent Church movement that “prescribes a radical and wholesale critique of contemporary Christianity” in order to faithfully follow Jesus.
  • Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate by J. Clif Christopher
    I’m re-reading this one again this summer. Written with the needs of pastors and stewardship teams in mind the book provides immediate, practical guidance to all who seek to help God’s people be better stewards of their resources.
  • My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer by Christian Wiman
    Completed in the wake of a bone marrow transplant, the book is a moving meditation on what a viable contemporary faith—responsive not only to modern thought and science but also to religious tradition—might look like.
I’m also planning on finishing The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer (which you might remember from last Summer’s Reading List!) and just for fun I highly recommend Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life. Oh, and as a family we are going to read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix out loud to each other during our vacation back in the Midwest in July!

Yours in the Journey,
Rev. Brian

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