05 July 2011

Reading List

Many people have asked, "hey preacher what are you gonna do on your vacation?" The vacation is broken down like this: two weeks of vacation and two weeks of continuing education; some days will be both, others will be demarcated.

The First Family has several day trips, museum trips, and many days of play on the calendar. I, meanwhile, am planning an ambitious menu - trying to cook lots of dished I have been wanting to. Today for example I am cooking up a big pot of chicken and sausage jambalaya. More than anything the First Family plans to enjoy the company of each other.

For the continuing education part of the break I plan to read, read, read, and plan sermons for the following year (Aug '11-June '12) I have a skeleton now I just need to but some sinews and muscles on it. I first planned to read according to sermon subjects but instead I found a reading list that is more imaginative, playful, and well...re-creative.

-Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness by Eugene H. Peterson
-Centenary Translation of the New Testament by Helen Barrett Montgomery
-The Sacred Journey by Frederick Buechner
-Longing for Home: Recollections and Reflections by Frederick Buechner
-Memories of God: Theological Reflections on a Life by Roberta C. Bondi
-Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
-William Sloane Coffin Jr. A Holy Impatience by Warren Goldstein
-Word of God, Word of Earth by David Napier
-Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
-As many of the Harry Potter series as possible

This list found me. I kept placing books in a pile on my desk then going through them to thin it down. I finally whittled it down to about four books then for some reason I found myself in the library checking out some books I stumbled upon (the Buechner books) from there the list emerged anew. There are two commonalities: memoirs and imagination.

I looked over my sermons for the past year and found many stories in my sermons but not sermons in my stories. Reading the Harry Potter books has been a great joy and a surprising delight. Why shouldn't a sermon keep one on edge the way a Rowling written book does? Why shouldn't folk be challenged in a way William Steig book does? And why not look at the world around you to find inspiration for life's work the way Buechner and Coffin do (and did)? And why shouldn't a preacher re-read the New Testament in a new way to see it as a narrative?

I am having a blast cooking and reading. I am also having a blast hanging out with the kids.

1 comment:

Michele Benson Huck said...

I wish I could be reading the Harry Potter books for the first time. Enjoy!