The books we’re reading on vacation
Summer. A time when school has finished, vacations are happening, and we have the time to relax and immerse in a good book. But what to choose?
Here’s a peek at what Drew+ and Anne+ are reading this summer. An ideal summer book is one that’s easy to read yet engages you in a meaningful way, and these selections surely fill the bill.
In Rev. Drew’s book bag
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a theologian who held firmly to what he saw as Christian principles, and for this he was jailed and ultimately executed. In Life Together, Bonhoeffer tells the story of his time as a member of an underground seminary during the Nazi years. The central theme is the nature of community. Distressed at how far the church in the Germany of his day had strayed from the original church described in the biblical book of Acts, Bonhoeffer sets out to describe how healthy communities in Christ can be nurtured and can thrive.
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi. Qureshi was raised in a loving Muslim home and grew up to have a passionate faith. As he seeks to deepen his faith, he discovers, almost unwillingly, evidence for the veracity of Christ that throws him into turmoil. Reluctant to upset his family, yet unable to deny the arguments for Christ’s divinity, he works his way through deep issues with help from friends, from study, and from dreams.
This book most helpful in understanding the essential teachings of Islam and Christianity, and is very readable. (The book will be the focus at the September 13th meeting of the Men’s Supper Club.)
Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Rabbi Sacks explores why some people believe why they are justified by God to commit acts of violence and extremism. He argues that using conflicts in ancient texts to justify taking up arms against each other is idolatry not righteousness. In this book, he offers a radical re-reading of the texts that shows how we should seek to be blessings to one another regardless of faith, and how we can counter extremism.
In Rev. Anne’s book bag
A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Towards an Undivided Life by Parker Palmer. Here is a guide for those of us who yearn to lead undivided lives, lives that are congruent with our inner truths. Palmer proposes circles of trust in which we can each bring our solitudes into a community. In a circle, we seek not to advise or fix each other, but to honour each other’s souls. We seek not to isolate or dismiss the person, but to listen deeply and to allow their “inner teacher” to strengthen them.
I found the book a wonderful invitation into how to be more relaxed and more integrated in our lives. Learn to listen to the teacher within.
Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong. Everyone needs compassion! Armstrong believes that we all have an internal drive to be compassionate, but to cultivate our compassion requires know-how and practice. The twelve steps she offers start with “learn about compassion” and finish with “love your enemy”.
The book is both easy and difficult – easy if you just want to read it, but a big commitment if you want to put the steps into practice. In summary, it is informative, practical, encouraging and challenging.
And just for fun … Wings of Fire, second of the Ian Rutledge books by Charles Todd. Inspector Rutledge is a Scotland Yard detective who is sent to investigate three recent deaths in Cornwall. He soon realizes that nothing about this case is routine as he begins to unravels a strange family history. Haunted by his service in WWI, Rutledge is guided by the sometimes-helpful-sometimes-confrontational voice of Hamish, a man who died under his command. This book is rich with the atmosphere of an English town at an unsettled time.