It's been a while since I posted on what I've been reading and what's sitting on ready. Basically I read an awful lot during the week directly related to the Bible and its historical context. Then I read current information that might help me connect the truth from the Scriptures to life today. That goes on all week and what I'm reading might bear directly on this week, or it may be for a sermon or series that I'm working on for later.
God gave me the ability to read very quickly and retain a great deal of what I read. Then He gave me the tools of today and off I went.There are times though that I read outside my major focus - for information and for pleasure. It's amazing how often I read a blog post or hear about something and go off to find out more. Or Sean leaves a book around and I pick it up after he gets through with it.
And that's how I wound up with "The Hobbit" by Tolkien.
Having read the Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as the The Silmarillion, I realize I'm way late to this book. That said, it was warm, engaging, and a great story in its own right. The "back-story" of Bilbo Baggins and the dwarves was just as good as the Rings books were. Really liked it.
I finished a really good book earlier in the week called "The Unforgiving Minute - A Soldier's Education by Craig M. Mullarney. It traces his education from West Point, through his Rhodes Scholar experience at Oxford,Ranger School, and as a young platoon leader in Afghanistan. In each venue, he is tested and learns a little bit more about himself and life. I've always had an interest in the military and of course am a pastor in a military community, but I was drawn to the book by the title.
"The Unforgiving Minute" for the author takes place in Afghanistan when his patrol is under attack by the Taliban. One of his troops was killed by small arms fire and the action and the aftermath tear at his soul. I live with the knowledge that what I do as a pastor touches eternity. And I am not perfect. The "what if?" question is a part of my life too. Mullarney comes away changed but stronger. That's my goal too. Good book for people interested in leadership, in the education of a professional soldier.
We have an opportunity at our church to be God's agent of change for some neighborhood boys. They're rough, and at times disruptive. They can try your patience and then turn around the next minute and grab your heart. We all want to see God become first in their lives and our brief snippets of their lives don't seem to provide much influence. So I've been looking for help. Donald Miller is one of my favorite authors and has just written a book that's part a raw view into his own experience as a boy without a father and part call to action. I'm almost through with it - should finish it tonight - and it's both sad and encouraging.
It's a great book.
My parents both worked in Willingham Cotton Mill in Macon, GA. Most of their families did too. I was born in a mill village shotgun house. So the stories in this book should resonate with me. Rick Bragg writes Southern about as well as anyone alive right now so it should be a treat.
And I'm beginning a study of the Psalms for a sermon series coming up.
What are you reading?