The weather outside has been delightful but the long winter nights have been the perfect set up for reading some terrific books. Here’s what’s gotten my attention lately.
The Naked Now, by Richard Rohr, is one of the best books I have read in the last couple of years. He takes a mystic’s path into spirituality. He sees the holy everywhere. He writes, “The most amazing fact about Jesus…is that he found God in disorder and imperfection.” The way of the mystic may be the single most important new development in western theology.
After a sermon last fall a guest in our pews said, “Your sermon reminded me of a book, The Hole In Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns. I think you’ll like it.” She was right, I did. Stearns, the President of World Vision, an emergency relief agency, has realized that Jesus’ teachings are centered on the poor. If we fail to pay attention to this simple fact he says we create a “hole” in the gospel.
My mom gave me a copy of Jerry West’s autobiography, West By West: My Charmed, Tormented Life, for my birthday. West, an NBA Hall of Fame basketball player, was my hero when I was a kid playing basketball. I copied everything he did on the court (with much less success, of course). This brutally honest account of his life was even more inspiring than his career on the hardwoods. It is a peak behind the curtain of a wealthy superstar and it demonstrates that life is hard for all of us.
Suzanne Willey, the Chair of our Elders, gave an impressive presentation at an Elder’s meeting on Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why. I loved this book. Sinek’s basic premise is this: too many companies (and churches too) start with What and How and forget about Why. Sinek says that great leaders and great organizations think from the inside out. Before they worry about what to do, they are clear about why they exist.
Lauren Hillenbrand’s book, Unbroken, is an account of a young lieutenant’s incredible story of survival after his Air Force bomber crashed into the Pacific. This is one of the most inspirational books I have ever read.
Every reading list needs a little fiction. I am thoroughly enjoying George R. R. Martin’s, A Game of Thrones. Martin is called the American Tolkein and for good reason. His deliciously complex story, set in a long-forgotten fantasy land, is filled with mystery, magic, conspiracy and suspense.
My quiet time begins each day with readings from the Bible and I am also using Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, as my prayer book at the start of the day.
Grace and Peace to you,
-Glen[If you’d like to purchase any of these books, don’t forget to use The Well’s Amazon.com search function. When you do, a percentage of the purchase price is directed to Week of Compassion. Click here for more information.]