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Beyond the Pulpit

June 2018

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, greetings to you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Summer is here, and for most of us, that means beaches, lakes, mountains, and the long trips that get you there.   For some it just means more time to sit by the pool and relax.  Not wanting to let go, the schools have, no doubt, handed out summer reading lists.   Summer reading lists do seem to be popular these days, so at someone’s suggestion, here are some suggestions for your summer reading list.

Of course there are the Spiritual classics:

Beginning with C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia, which everyone should read.  If you read it as a child, read it again as an adult and be amazed at what you didn’t understand as a child.  The move on to his other works, Mere Christianity and Screwtape Letters, just to name a few.

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer explores the nature and role of Faith in Community, or if you are little more ambitious, The Cost of Discipleship is deep and challenging.

Speaking of deep expressions of Spirituality, you might check out The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, The Wounded Healer by Henri J. M. Nouwen, or The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.

There are more contemporary expressions of Spiritual exploration, both non-fiction like Simply Christian by N. T. Wright, Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey, and The Ragamuffin Gospel – Brennan Manning; and fictional works like Margaret Craven’s I Heard the Owl Call My Name, Jacob the Baker by Noah ben Shae, Silence by Shusaku Endo, The Shack – William P. Young and Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz.

If you are more interested in biographical works, try God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew, who smuggled Bibles through the Iron Curtain, The Boys in the Boat about the 1936 Olympic rowing team by Daniel James Brown, For the Glory: Eric Liddell’s Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr by Duncan Hamilton, A Foreign Devil in China by John C. Pollock which is about Dr. Nelson Bell, medical missionary in pre-war China and the father-in-law of Billy Graham, and A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and a Great War (about the impact of the First World War on CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien) by Joseph Loconte.

For the history buff in you, I recommend Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose (you saw the fantastic series, the book is better), The Great Upheaval by Jay Winik, John Adams by David McCullough, Empire of the Summer Moon (about the rise and fall of the Comanche Nation) by S. C. Gwynne and his follow up Rebel Yell by S. C. Gwynne.

Of course, I couldn’t stop with out recommending a few just for fun like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.  Oh, and if you have never read them, you should all read To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, and the Bible.

As for my summer reading list, I hope to read Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Disciplines of the Christian Life by Eric Liddell and probably another installment of the Sharpe’s Series by Bernard Cornwell.

Happy reading!

May the peace and blessings of God, the joy of Jesus Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit be with you all,

Mitch