Thursday, May 26

What I'm Reading

It is almost summertime and already I have begun to dive into my annual ritual of working through a summer reading list. In just this past week, four of the books I’ve been most anxiously awaiting have all arrived: 1776 by David McCullough, Omnibus I edited by Ty Fischer and Douglas Wilson, The Sacred Way by Tony Jones, and The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco. One is history; one is literary criticism; one is practical theology; and one is frothy fiction—so together they make for a very balanced diet.

While I am really enjoying each of these new titles, I am particularly intrigued by The Sacred Way (Zondervan). Tony Jones is a very effective and infectious communicator. I greatly appreciated his two previous books published by NavPress—one on recovering ancient disciplines of prayer and another on the medieval lectio divina approach to daily Bible study. In this new book, he mines the rich history of the church through the ages for spiritual disciplines that have been largely—and lamentably—forgotten by contemporary Reformed and Evangelical Christians. After a couple of introductory chapters to consider the human longing for rich, deep, and authentic spirituality, Jones offers a series of fascinating historical and theological vignettes--exploring sixteen different disciplines that were once the common currency of believers: silence and solitude, meditation, pilgrimage, singing, the divine hours, among other. He then goes on to offer practical tips for implementing each of these means of grace into our daily lives, our families, and our churches.

Jones writes in a very breezy, accessible style (he served as a youth pastor until just this past year and it really shows). So, the often-stuffy realm of church history and practical spirituality really come to life in these chapters. Like the indispensable works by Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways, Authentic Faith, Not the End but the Road, The Glorious Pursuit, and Seeking the Face of God) this new book should prove to be a great encouragement to enrich our sense of destiny by deepening our sense of legacy.


Inkling said...

Dr. G, thanks for suggesting the Sacred Way. If it's as interesting and helpful as Gary Thomas' Sacred Pathways, then it may just crawl into a top spot on my "must read" list. Sacred Pathways explained why some of us are prone to take backpacks full of books out to Buzzard's Roost at Fall Creek Falls.

p.s. Next time you're in STL, you should check out the theology section at Dunaways. Actually, the whole store is quite delightful - though they haven't had any Q lately.

Christian said...

I am not sure if this is the right place to comment on this but, WOW! Thank you for updating the template to work better with blogger. You have always had outstanding content, now I can get to it that much easier. But you do still need a permalink at the end of each post. It helps make it easier for other to link to a post. It is a simple change to your template. Let me know if you need any help, I am always available to help make a blog work better :)

Nate Shurden said...

Dr. G,

A very balanced diet indeed. I too am anxious to dive into Eco's latest yarn, but I'm afraid there's no room left on the summer reading list, not even for Eco.

However, if you happen to find more time than books on your summer reading list (fat chance, right?), let me recommend Marilynne Robinson's puliter prize winning novel, "Gilead." It's a penetrating reflection into the life of a pastor/father, who longs to make peace with his families religious and political past. I found it to be a fascinating glimpse into covenantal sucession, and how we never outlive the lives and the histories of those before us.

Robinson's profound awareness of human nature, coupled with her ability to capture the tortutous interplay between the joys and pains of normal life, was arresting and strangely comforting to me.

It's not long read nor is it difficult. In fact, you'll be tempted to read it in a sitting. But like all good things, the sweetness is in the savor.


The new site is great. Do I have Matt to thank for all this?

gileskirk said...

Sara: I do love Dunaway's. I'm afraid I may have swooped up all his Q the last time I was there!

Christian: I am about to be away for two weeks, but when I return I'd love for you to e-mail me the stuff I need to get permalinks on the site.

Nate: I've heard Gilead is wonderful, I'll have to pick it up. And actually, I made the changes to the site with the help of a student of mine, Seth Reidel.

Christian said...

Sounds great, my email is christian.burns at that wonderful email provider known as

Christian said...

I do not yet have your email address :)