A few weeks ago I started a new type of blog entry, “This Paycheck’s Book Purchases.” Each time I get paid I buy a couple of books and I share with you, the world, what I am reading and why I am excited to read those books. As I get married I am sure this type of blog entry will slowly fade away. The truth is, when I get married their will be less money spent on books and more money spent on bills….
God, Sexuality, and the Self: An Essay ‘On the Trinity’ – Sarah Coakley
Ben Myers recommended this book to me and he seemed absolutely stoked on it. I don’t normally read these sort of books, but I guess its time to venture into unknown territory, especially with 2014 looking like its going to be the year of the Trinity (LATC14 & ETSFarWest), at least in Los Angeles. I think this will probably be an important book in those discussions, I wouldn’t be surprised if discussion about this book makes its way into these conferences. Here is the Amazon book summary: God, Sexuality and the Self is a new venture in systematic theology. Sarah Coakley invites the reader to re-conceive the relation of sexual desire and the desire for God and – through the lens of prayer practice – to chart the intrinsic connection of this relation to a theology of the Trinity. The goal is to integrate the demanding ascetical undertaking of prayer with the recovery of lost and neglected materials from the tradition and thus to reanimate doctrinal reflection both imaginatively and spiritually. What emerges is a vision of human longing for the triune God which is both edgy and compelling: Coakley’s théologie totale questions standard shibboleths on ‘sexuality’ and ‘gender’ and thereby suggests a way beyond current destructive impasses in the churches. The book is clearly and accessibly written and will be of great interest to all scholars and students of theology.
Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God’s Everything by Anonymous
If you are like me you think you are the bees knees (what does that even mean?) and you hate it. You struggle with pride, you don’t want to be prideful but you find prideful thoughts creeping up on you. I saw Ed Stetzer refer to this book in a blog post and it seemed interesting to me. In fact it seemed to be excactly the kind of book I needed to read. If you work in ministry, have a job that serves others, or are a human being and you struggle with pride, this book is aimed at you. Here is the Amazon book summary: No matter how famous someone might be, the fact remains; most of the other seven billion people on Earth wouldn’t know him or her from the next person. Add this reality to one’s shrinking recognizability among the multiple billions down through history, and the worldly emphasis on standing out really falls flat; we’re all in this obscurity thing together. Ironically, the trouble with me and you and the rest of humanity is not a lack of self-confidence but that we have far too much self-importance. To live and die unnoticed would seem a grave injustice to many. It’s all too easy to think we’re somebody if our portfolio is strong, there are a few letters after our name, or we’re well-known at work, church, or school. As pride creeps in, we are tempted to want more: more recognition, more admiration, more influence, more, more, more. Few have ever given thought to wanting less. That’s why we need Embracing Obscurity. Putting the premise into immediate action, an established Christian author electing to remain anonymous writes about living and dying in simplicity, contending that true success, as modeled by Jesus, starts with humility, service, sacrifice, and surrender. Such a life involves mystery and banks on the hope that today is just a dress rehearsal for eternity. When we stop imitating the world and instead choose to embrace obscurity, real life — chock full of significance, purpose, and renewed passion — begins.