Saturday, November 21, 2009


Sexual Character - Marva Dawn. I didn't actually get to finish this one. Somehow I left it on the plane from DC to St. Louis in October. Here is one of the highlights from the first half. Our culture is trying to solve our pain of fragmentation and isolation (the break up of the community and family) through sexual intercourse. But this is the wrong medicine. It only makes it worse because sexual intimacy without commitment only makes us feel more fragmented and isolated in the end.

The Return of the Prodigal Son - Henri Nouwen. This is one of Nouwen's classics, but I've just gotten around to it. It is a beautiful meditation on Rembrandt's painting and Jesus parable. God loves us deeply whether we leave or whether we stay, whether we do wrong or do right for the wrong reasons. And eventually, he calls us to love others with the same open-hearted love. Very good. jjjj.

Jesus and the Undoing of Adam - C. Baxter Krueger. This is a outstanding little theology book on the Trinity and salvation. I often found myself nodding and reaching for my highlighter (but I couldn't highlight since Ron T. graciously loaned it!). I highly recommend this book for a fresh look at the Trinity and the Incarnation and salvation from the perspective that the Trinity is the center of everything. JJJJJ

Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri. This is a fabulous little book of short stories, mostly about Indian-American immigrants, but there are a few stories rooted in India as well. The stories are full of life and poingiancy. They read quickly, and I felt like I was getting to know people I really should have known all along. (Thanks for the loaner Dave.) jjjj

Spaces for Spirit: Adorning the Church - Nancy Chinn. This is by far the best book I have read in a long time. For some inexplicable reason, it is out of print. I happened to get it for free at a KNU used book give away, but I saw it listed on Amazon and other sites for $75-$150! Nancy Chinn is a professional church artist and a lay theologian. She writes with great profundity and insight about the role of art to enable the Spirit to sidestep our logic to reach the deeper parts of our hearts. Best of all, she gives advice on how to start a church arts council which will guide your church in implimenting more art in and around worship services. Our Worship Planning team loved the idea, and we are hoping to start something this winter! JJJJJ! (I would give six J's if I could.)

The Tipping Point - Malcom Gladwell. Beverly loaned me this book a long time ago, and it finally made it to the top of my stack. I loved it. I read it in about 2-3 days (spread over 2-3 weeks). The summation of the book is that small factors are often the difference in tipping an idea or trend or movement over the tipping point into an epidemic (something that becomes huge and sweeps through a culture or around the world). Reading this book together with Spaces for Spirit convinced me of the need for our church to become more deeply visual and artistic. We need to add "stickiness" to the message if we want it to have impact. Great read. Great thoughts. JJJJJ.
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