I have recently read or encountered a number of books or interviews that I found interesting and valuable. Some of these are already well known. If you haven’t already seen them, I commend them to your attention.
Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion, by Sara Miles. A powerful and deeply moving spiritual memoir. Ms. Miles sometimes colors a bit outside the lines, but then, so did Jesus. I recommend it to everyone, and would particularly suggest it to recent converts to Christianity or to the Episcopal Church, and to anyone who has been away for a while and is considering whether to come back.
The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith, by Marcus J. Borg. Sub-subtitled “How We Can Be Passionate Believers Today.” Professor Borg has attracted a lot of criticism, even scorn, especially from more conservative quarters, because of his association with the Jesus Seminar. It’s true that there are some things he says about which I would like to sit down with him with a pitcher or two of beer (N/A; I’m on medications!) But he needs to be taken much more seriously than some are willing to do. I believe a number of parishes (including my own) have book study groups who are reading this book, and I highly recommend that. Another book for recent converts or returners who want a clearer exposition of what Christian Gospel is all about, especially if they are troubled by the “Christian religion” as preached by some self-proclaimed “evangelicals.” It’s worth remembering that Borg and Tom Wright are good friends even though they disagree about a number of things (see their The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions).
In Search of Paul: How Jesus’ Apostle Opposed Rome’s Empire with God’s Kingdom, by John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed. And while we’re talking about authors who get a lot of scorn from more conservative folks…! I am one of those who would take issue with a lot of the things Crossan says (his early book The Cross That Spoke: The Origin of the Passion Narrative is to my mind quite silly), but this book on Paul focuses primarily on the social history of the Roman Empire in the first century and is really very interesting, if occasionally a bit tedious. This opens some aspects of the first generation of Christianity of which many of us were not aware.
A few days ago I ran across an interview with Dr. John Polkinghorne, the (Anglican) priest/physicist at Cambridge, who in my judgment is one of our most important theologians, though probably under-read. (Generally easier to read than +Rowan!) The transcript and video of this interview with Robert Wright of meaningoflife.tv, posted via Slate.com, can be found at:
There are also some other interesting interviews in this series.
See you anon.