While at my Providence based office this morning I completed #23 on may way towards 100. The book was A Serious Call to a Contemplative Lifestyle by E. Glenn Hinson. I believe this was the first book I ever read by Hinson. Why read it again? I am finding that there are many aspects of the reading I did in divinity school that I simply did not pick up on, perhaps eight years of parish ministry have changed my perspective, perhaps my mind slowly matured and opened up to certain ideas, I do not fully know.
I enjoyed reading this book, in some ways a smaller version of Spiritual Preparation for Christian Leadership. The first couple of chapters are a bit slow going, but once chapter three emerges Hinson has a full head of steam behind his writing.
At the time I took his classes it never dawned on me how much he used biography in his teaching and theology. But after thinking about his remarkable examples in his books and his insistence on the transformation individuals can have I should have picked up on it while in his midst. His positive view of humanity is an aspect of his writings I enjoy. I also enjoy his ecclesiology (my next Hinson book will be The Integrity of the Church). Here is a quote on the possibility of church:
The community of believers is the context for developing in the knowledge and skill with which we apply love. The development will not occur automatically. Prayer, Bible Study, discussion, and all other aspects of community life should contribute to it. The ultimate aim is, of course, purity of heart and a stock of things that we have done out of that love that redound to God's honor and evoke praise from humankind. (p. 74)