I've just reread a wonderful anthology, THE SERMONS OF JONATHAN EDWARDS, edited by Wilson Kimnach, Kenneth Minkema, and Douglas Sweeney (Yale). Once again, I was particularly taken by the grace, eloquence, and pastoral concern of the farewell sermon, preached in 1750 after the Northampton congregation decided to discharge this remarkable man who had served faithfully in their midst for a quarter century. It really is both stunning and sobering.
I've also been working through a rather unsettling novel of suspense, intrigue, pop culture, and technology by Bruce Sterling. I picked up the book, ZEITGEIST (Bantam), after having my interest in such things re-piqued by William Gibson's PATTERN RECOGNITION (Putnam). The two men, friends, sometime co-authors, and cyber-proteges, write on similar themes but from entirely different perspectives.
Tonight I will be speaking during a local Community Bible Study banquet--you may have seen recently how this grassroots organization is making a very substantial impact on the Evangelical world, all the way up to the White House. My subject is to be Islam. Though I've read a great deal over the years on the subject, I will be drawing a good bit from a very old, out-of-print book I've just recently picked up by the Scottish missionary pioneer to Africa, James Stewart. The book, DAR AL ISLAM, is remarkably insightful both into the character and nature of Muslim culture as well as the ways and means Christians can impact that culture with the good news of the Gospel.