Saturday, June 28, 2008

2008 Book Challenge Update -- And a Recommendation

I'm pressing onward on the Book Challenge, even though I am behind. I have a few more books to report on today:

11. The Dwelling of the Light, Praying with Icons, by Rowan Williams. I really liked this little book, because a) it's little, b) it's full of pictures, c) it's a simple introduction for those who have so little background in Orthodox spirituality. Archbishop Williams uses four famous icons to teach: of the transfiguration, the resurrection, the hospitality of Abraham and Pantocrator. He's very attentive to the detail in the icons, like an art critic, and also to the theology behind the icons. A quote from the Pantocrator section:

Where do his eyes lead us, then? To our own deepest reality, to the living self-communication of God which is at the heart of our existence and which by sin and laziness and forgetfulness we deny; to the wellspring of divine life in the centre of what we are, the Word that calls us into being. Remember the wonderful ending of Charles Wesley's hymn, 'Jesu, love of my soul': 'Spring though up within my heart, Rise to all eternity". That is what the eyes of Christ the Panto-crator direct us to.

12. Tallgrass, by Sandra Dallas. I had never heard of Sandra Dallas, but one of our book group members chose it for this month, and I found it a great discussion book. The setting is 1940's Colorado; an internment camp for Japanese has been set up near the small town Rennie and her family live in; and most of the residents of the town are fearful of the Japanese. There's also a mystery at the heart of the novel that I won't divulge.

13. The Competent Pastor, by Ronald Sisk. I began reading this a while ago, and while I found it useful, I didn't keep going. I thought the first chapter on self-knowledge was quite insightful, as well "Competent Time Management." This would be a great book to read with an intern.

14. ....If Your Name was Changed at Ellis Island, Ellen Levine (Scholastic). I bought this children's book last week at a used bookstore and read straight through it. It is done in a question and answer format (for example, 'how did people travel to the ships that brought them to America?' 'Were you examined before you left?') I can't believe there was so much information I didn't know about Ellis Island.

Book Recommendation: God Seekers: Twenty Centuries of Christian Spiritualities, by Richard H. Schmidt. Kathleen at St. Martin's Table made me buy this when I came in for lunch on Thursday (well, made me is maybe a little too strong). I've been skimming through the many short chapters all weekend. I haven't read the whole thing yet, but just to give you an example, there are chapters on Benedict and Julian of Norwich, Martin Luther and George Herbert, Donald Gee (Pentecostal) and Dorothy Day, Madelaine L'Engle and Thomas Merton.... among others.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

That last book does sound interesting.

What is the 2008 Book Challenge? You mentioned it before, and I forgot to ask.

Diane said...

one of the Rev gals had a challenge to read i think 50 books in 2008. I'm not sure I'm going to make it, but at least I'm giving it a try!

Jan said...

I think maybe that challenge is why I started keeping track of the books I read in 2008 on my sidebar.

We love books so much that I am very interested to see what YOU are reading! Thanks, Diane.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Thanks for answering my question.