reading week in review: july 15-22

Articles
1. Foreign Affairs began their Campaign 2008 series with essays on “America’s Next Foreign Policy” by Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Read Obama last week. On Romney right now.

2. In Christianity Today (CT), this cover story about the boom of the prosperity gospel in Africa, which also happened to be the cover story for The Christian Century, a mag that I don’t get presently and really miss. I’ve seen them cover the same stuff, but not right on top of each other like this week. Oops?

3. Also from CT, Philip Yancey’s back-page piece on getting past the crusades and the cover story of their annual book awards issue on Donald Miller, a 30-something writer whose Blue Like Jazz continues to grow in sales a few years after its release. I’ve yet to read it, but it’s on my list.

4. Finally, I read it a while back, but noticed it once again while putting the CT links in above. If you haven’t read Yancey’s sermon at Virginia Tech yet, it is VERY well worth it.

Books
1. Continued reading The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.

2. Read Chapters 7 & 8 in Jesus Mean and Wild, by Mark Galli, for a men’s bible study I lead on Wednesday mornings before work. One cool thing about this guy is that he has a wide canvas of illustrations. For a while he’s talking about a saint from the 400s, then a paragraph later he’s into a football player from a few years back.

3. I’m not sure if St. AthanasiusOn the Incarnation (amazon, online) counts as a “book” but it certainly doesn’t fit anywhere else. I’m reading this with a pastor friend. He and I are interested in getting to know the ancient Christians better (“Studying the patristics” sounds a little more pseudo-intellectually elitist and nerdy, depending on a reader being unfamiliar with the term “patristics.”). I’ll write about Athanasius some when I finish this and process it a little. So far he’s great. Really creative theologically–in a good way. I did read one paragraph tonight that seemed like a bit of a stretch while he’s attempting to prove why Jesus had to die on the cross rather than some other way. My gut response was, in the words of Wesley from The Princess Bride , “Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.” More on that when I get around to writing about it in a couple of weeks.

Now that many of my friends did the Harry Potter bender immediately after buying their copy of the new one at the stroke of midnight last Friday, I’m getting more interested in just reading them one book after another. Not completely sure that will happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I went through them all between now and the end of the year. Still got those history books I’d like to read soon, among others, as well…

Online: blogs, news/commentary, etc
1. A wonderfully honest reflection by a spiritually interested but skeptical person. If you’re a Christian, especially a Methodist like me, just be ready and willing to laugh at yourself in a few spots, and be ready to wrestle with life with this person. Got to this link from a favorite blog, Real Live Preacher. Also a guy who can be irreverent, but whose writing I really appreciate.

2. On The Christian Century‘s blog, Theolog, one of their contributors has some good points about the benefits of (smarty-pants atheist flavor of the season) Christopher Hitchens and his book, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. So far, the people I’d like to see pitted with him in a debate haven’t been–someone like Billy Abraham of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology would be a ridiculously better pairing than the Tim Russert interview/dialogue in which Jon Meacham, managing editor of Newsweek and a religion journalist, was his supposed sparring partner. Only they weren’t sparring at all. Meacham didn’t really take issue with anything Hitchens had to say. Their agendas were too different to have a fruitful conversation–Meacham’s is the place of religious faith in the public sphere and Hitchens’ is the refutation of religious faith. The excellent blog GetReligion.org, which focuses on how often the media fails to competantly grasp stories that deal with religion, also had a worthwhile critique on media reporting of the Hitchens vs. Mr. Religious Person “debates.”

3. Finally, my official favorite theological blog post of the year: A Theology of Ribs. Mmmm…partake and enjoy!

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