Summer reading list # 38
Shortly after I was ordained on June 1, 1980, a wise older pastor advised me to develop strong reading habits. As a result I publicized my summer reading list every June. The one devised last week while Harriet and were at the beach for seven days is summer reading list # 38. Each has been a very small element of on-going pastoral education, a small way to stay in touch with the world around me, connect to the people in our pews every Sunday, and learn from people, past and present, schooled in life beyond the confines of a pastor's study. Please note that the books are arranged by categories that I established in 1980). The 2017 selections are---
Never Surrender, Winston Churchill and Britain's Decision to Fight Nazi Germany in
the Fateful Summer of 1940, by John Kelly (Scribner, New York: 2015).
This is the fourth biographical study of Churchill I've read since traveling to London
in 2014. Kelly narrows the scope of this work to Churchill's leadership as England
decided to oppose Nazi Germany rather than negotiate peace with Hitler.
2. Current affairs and culture.
Sticking Points, How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come
Apart, Haydn Shaw (Tyndale House, Carol Stream, 2013). My interest in the living
generations and the influence of their interactions on American culture is
long-standing. This is my seventh study of generational dynamics in America.
Every year I re-read a book from a previous year's list as a refresher. The re-read this
summer is Generation Age-less, How Baby Boomers are Changing the Way We Live
Today...And They're Just Getting Started, J. Walker Smith and Ann Clurman (Harper
Collins, New York, 2007). This was one of the first generational dynamics books I
studied in 2008. Having the Sticking Points book on the list this summer required
refreshment in understanding the influence of the boomer cohort on the American
workplace, in culture in general, and in the church.
4. Theology or Bible study.
Serving as a adjunct professor of Christian Studies at Charleston Southern University
has required current study in Old and New Testament studies. Two books are on the
list this summer. (1) Encountering the Old Testament, Bill T. Arnold and Bryan E. Beyer
(Baker Academic, Grand Rapids: 3rd Edition 2015). (2) Encountering the New
Testament, Walter A. Elwell and Robert W. Yarbrough (Baker Academic, Grand Rapids:
3rd Edition: 2013). Of course, these are text books that I will teach. Perhaps I should
be familiar with them before I teach them. While I've preached and taught the Old
and New Testaments for 37 years I have not studied them systematically since my
5. Best seller (non-fiction).
Harriet and I are book people. One of the joys we've shared in our 44 married years is
our reading times. Years ago I tired of novels and fiction. So, every summer I choose
a non-fiction book from the New York Times Best Seller list as a summer read. This
summer I will read Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by
Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant (Knopf Doubleday,New York: 2017). This book
tackles some common human frustrations but more from a secular point of view.
Should be an challenging read.
Reading through the Bible (again) is the most primary reading assignment for the summer. I am, however, amazed at how many pastors and spiritual leaders restrict their reading to Scripture and Bible related themes. Communicating in a world like ours requires me to venture outside the biblical and spiritual comfort zones.
My prayer is that the biblical foundation will enable me to expand my own knowledge and personal development so I can become more proficient as a communicator, pastor, adjunct professor, semi-retired loafer, and leader.
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