3 recent books, and all ministry related:
- Sensual Orthodoxy, Debbie Blue: I’m over halfway through this book of sermons and I’m thinking about rationing it because I love it so much. My colleague Bart calls her “the Sarah Vowell of preaching”. This woman can take a Bible passage and pick it apart and then put it back together again. She can own up to all the weirdness and oddity of the Bible and still love it to pieces. She can find something lovely that others might discard, blow off the dust, and make it relevant. Wow. I can only I hope I preach like this once in a while.
- Postmodern Children’s Ministry, Ivy Beckwith: Given that I am not a huge reader of youth & childrens ministry “technique” and “zeitgeist” books, but it seems like there’s a lot more out there about about teenagers and post-modernism. But children? Well, the younger they are, the more likely they are to be post-modernists. (Honestly, I have kids in my youth group who are less post modern than I am.) Plus, Beckwith has no hesitation to use this as a platform to remind the church that we have to be counter-cultural in the way we work with kids. (For example, remidners that church is not about entertainment, but balanced with remarkable ideas like pulling pews out of the sanctuary to create an area where kids can play, color, do what they need to do to be engaged with a worship service, or to just tune it out when their 3 year old attention span can’t take it anymore…note: she wants kids in worship, period.)
- Mission Trips that Matter, Don Richter: The book I wish I’d read last year. I’m halfway through the thing, and it is a fabulous combination of practical and theological. By practical, I do not mean the stuff about how to organize the trip and make sure the details like schedule and work sites and meal planning and transportation works. But, without neglecting those aspects of the trip, Richter weaves into them theological thought about what the entire trip means and how to plan so that the whole group benefits from theological reflection about the trip without even realizing they are engaged in theology. Plus, every chapter ends with discussion questions and ideas for preparing the group. Love it! AND I found out that Rick Steves, who is honestly one of my absolute favorite semi-famous people, might very well be a Lutheran. (I have a thing for Lutheran men, I guess.)
I plan to direct my reading back toward mystery novels for a while: Erik just heard about a spate of modern Scandinavian writers who are publishing mystery novels in English, and so we came home from the library with aÂ stack of books by people with un-pronounceable names.