Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Walt's Summer Reading List

Derek asked me to pass on a list of the three books I intend to read this coming summer. I've got a nice pile of summer reading that's growing to the point of insanity, and I'm still trying to put wraps on a book that was on last year's list! Still, Derek got me thinking and I've narrowed my list to the following three.

First, I always try to read something that will expand my theological horizons, and that's related to issues of faith and culture. G.K. Beale's Becoming What We Worship is my pick for this summer. This biblical theology of idolatry traces the replacement of the Creator with created things through the Scriptures. My desire for this book is that it might be used to expose more of my own heart, along with the collective heart of our culture. I'm sure this won't be an easy journey as Beale has a reputation for depth and rigor. . . . a reputation I remember well from my days at Gordon-Conwell seminary and his days there as a prof. The hammock won't be the place to read this one!

Second, I try to read something on culture that will prepare me for things I'll be speaking on in the fall. I've decided to pursue the whole trend towards narcissism from a Biblical perspective in preparation for some seminars that I'm putting together to address the topic at this fall's National Youth Workers Conventions. Jean Twenge seems to be floating away from and above the pack as a researcher who's looking more closely at how narcissism is woven in and through the fabric of our culture. So, my list includes her newest, The Narcissism Epidemic.

Third, there's the obligatory baseball book. Yep, I try to read at least one - if not more - every summer. I've loved the game since I was a kid and coached for almost ten years. Now that I'm no longer sitting in dugouts, watching my beloved Phillies and reading about different aspects of the game will have to do. I recently read a review of Bruce Weber's new book, As They See 'Em: A Fan's Travel in the Land of Umpires. Should be fun. . . and this one's for the hammock.

Finally, there's my wildcard. My friend Dick Doster wrote one of the baseball books that I read last year - Safe At Home. Dick's the editor of ByFaith Magazine and has branched out into writing novels. Safe at Home grabbed me at it told the story of baseball, the minor leagues, the civil rights movement, and breaking the color barrier. This summer, he's released a new novel that's not about baseball, but it is about the civil rights movement. I've felt a strong responsiblity to be reading about this period of our history so that I can understand things from my childhood that I was by and large oblivious to. So, I'm ordering his new novel, Crossing the Lines. It's another one that will turn up the volume on my hammock enjoyment.

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