What I’m Currently Reading – May 22nd

Right now I have several books that I am making my way through right now. As is usually the case some are a bit more academic, some are more devotional, and others are more ministry oriented. I find it helpful to mix things up in that way. (Also I am in the process of working through Church Dogmatics, but that might take me the rest of my life…)

Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood by David Setran and Chris Kiesling

As surprising as it may sound, this is the first book of this type that I have ever read. I usually don’t delve much into sociology, and this book relies heavily upon the social sciences, but I am finding this book absolutely fascinating. Although I already knew much of what their research has found (from anecdotal and personal experience) I have found it very helpful in understanding what the major issues are that the college students I work with are facing. Also, since I am an “emerging” adult I am learning quite a bit about my own beliefs. I honestly didn’t realize how well I fit the mold of an “emerging adult.”

Here is the Amazon Blurb: Here two authors–both veteran teachers who are experienced in young adult and campus ministry–address this new and urgent field of study, offering a Christian perspective on what it means to be spiritually formed into adulthood. They provide a practical theology for emerging adult ministry and offer insight into the key developmental issues of this stage of life, including identity, intimacy and sexuality, morality, church involvement, spiritual formation, vocation, and mentoring. The book bridges the gap between academic and popular literature on emerging adulthood and offers concrete ways to facilitate spiritual formation among emerging adults.

Jesus Against the Scribal Elite: The Origins of the Conflict by Chris Keith

I just received a copy of this book from Baker Academic, so a review will be coming out shortly. I have always thought that Jesus conflict with the religious leaders revolved around the Temple – namely Jesus’ critique of the temple institution and Jesus claims to supplant it. I am really interested to see what Kieth sees as the core of the conflict between these two parties.

Here is the Amazon Blurb: How did the controversy between Jesus and the scribal elite begin? We know that it ended on a cross, but what put Jesus on the radar of established religious and political leaders in the first place? Chris Keith argues that, in addition to concerns over what Jesus taught and perhaps even how he taught, a crucial aspect of the rising conflict concerned his very status as a teacher.

Eternal Wisdom from the Desert: Writings from the Desert Fathers

This volume contains Athanasius’  The Life of St. Anthony, St. Jerome’s The Life of Paul the Hermit, and the collected sayings of many of the desert fathers. So far I am about half way through The Life of St. Anthony, lets just say this hagiography is a bit over the top. Nevertheless, I am finding myself strangely encouraged by reading this embellished biography. I am finding myself encouraged to spend more time in prayer and to focus more on spiritual discipline. I am finding myself encouraged to imitate some of Anthony’s characteristics, namely his devotion to prayer, his reliance upon Christ’s power, and his insistence on getting rid of sin in his life. I guess that is why Athanasius wrote the book though…. If you can get past the over the top elements of some of the material in the book you will certainly find yourself encouraged to grow in your relationship with Christ.

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