Recent Reading

I took an afternoon to polish off a few books I was just about finished with and to start a few more…even read one from cover to cover. I’ve been on a bit of a ministry book buying binge lately.

So, here are a few concise reviews, some of the things to read next, and a few queries after books that I wish I could find.

Sensual Orthodoxy, Debbie Blue: Wow. I’ve raved about this one already, but am just as impressed now that I finished it. She preaches with a voice that is so different than what I’m used to hearing, and it turns the whole preaching thing on it’s head for me. But what really gets me is how willing she is to lovingly rip apart a Scripture passage, get right down to bones, and then reassemble it. It’s relevant not because it gives good advice or perfect application, but because it does this taking apart and putting back together from an honest, authentic, current viewpoint. The sermons are about (gasp) the BIBLE! But they don’t assume too much about the Bible. OK, I have to move on or I’ll write about this one all morning.

Mission Trips that Matter: Embodied Faith for the Sake of the World, Don Ricther: Straight thinking about mission trips (for youth and adults) that is also practically applicable. It’s not a guide to the nuts and bolts of mission trip planning, or what to do when you get there. It’s a reasonable excursion into thinking theologically about mission trips, and ways to extend that theological reflection to the whole group. But, it’s practical reflection: like what does it mean that we smell bad on mission trips? How do we resolve the tension between the cost of a trip and the good that money could do if we simply sent it somewhere? What importance, beyond a nice ppowerpoint presentation, is there to recording the trip? I’m hoping to have my youth leaders read this book together next year in preparation for our 2010 mission trip.

Blessing New Voices: Prayers of Young People and Worship Resources for Youth Ministry, Maren Tirabassi: A collection of prayers, poetry, and worship and activity ideas for and by youth. There’s some great stuff in here. The introduction has a wonderful, briefly stated “why” and “how” explanation about worship with youth. Maybe, just maybe, there are some things we could use in congregational worship. But mostly, it’s stuff that written and designed for youth worship as in age-segregated worship. I’d like some of my youth to read some of these prayers, though, as examples for worship planning of their own. A few things get a little too loosey-goosey not-so-distinctively-Christian for me. But hey…

So, that’s what I finished yesterday. I’m half way through this one: Book, Bath, Table, and Time: Christian Worship as Source and Resource for Youth Ministry, Fred Edie. I was itching to read this one and had high hopes for it after looking at the table of contents and reading some of the introduction. What’s not to love about chapter titles like: “Finding themselves at the table: Youth Practice God’s presence, identity, and their own vocations through Eucharistic worship” or “Ordo-nary practice: Youth living liturgically in the world”. The promise of this had me drooling. But halfway through, I am so frustrated. Edie’s theology is excellent. Love it love it love it. I’m all but shouting “Amen!” out loud while I read it. He thinks well about youth and youth culture and how it hinders Christian worship. He is harshly, but I think appropraitely critical of the industry and marketing of youth minstry (for instance, this incredibly bizarre product). But things fall apart when we get to practical application. I was hoping against hope that this was about bringing youth into worship, into the big stream of Christian worship, in other words, into the worship service at their local congregation. And, so far, not so much. It’s about a fabulous summer program at Duke. Oh, I wish I could go to this program. Oh, I wish my youth could go to this program. But they CAN’T all go to this program, and so I am trying to figure out how to get them connected and engaged to worship at this, their local congregation, so that they can grow up to be people who are connected to tehir local congregations. Not to youth worship, or youth retreats, or mission trips, or fabulou programs at Duke (all of which are good and lovely things), but so that they can swim in the big pool of Christian worship and feel like it’s their choice to do so, not that they have been forcibly thrown in.

Things that are next on the list (or, at least, that are sitting on my desk un-read…)

  • The Book of Uncommon Prayer 2: Prayers and Worship Services for Youth Ministry, Steven Case
  • Practicing Discernment with Youth: A Transformative Youth Ministry Approach, David White
  • From Stone to Living Word: Letting the Bible Live Again, Debbie Blue
  • A Royal “Waste” of Time: The Splendor of Worshipping God and Being Church for the World, Marva Dawn
  • Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus, Mark Yaconelli
  • Let the Children Come: Reimagining Childhood from a Christian Perspective, Bonnie Miller-McLemore

And here’s what I wish was on this list: a book about worship and youth that takes a serious, theologically grounded, practical approach to rooting their worship life into corporate (in other words, all-ages-whole-body-of-Christ) worship. Because this issue is starting to drive me absoutely crazy. If you have ANY books to point me toward, please let me know!

One Response to “Recent Reading”

  1. Katie Says:

    Maybe that’s the book you’ll write!

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