Page 15 - Reading Between the Lines - Sample
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Further Exploration: What We’re Reading
valuable parts of the reading was to be reminded how in my ordained life I ignored some of the important movements in church and state that continue to influence us today. An important thread weaves through the pages in the career of Jay Sekulow who early on served as president of Pat Robertson’s American Council for Law and Justice and has gained prominence these days as attorney for the President.
Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire (Knopf 2017) by Kay Redfield Jamison is one of the most moving biographies in years. It is the story of a man haunted as bi-polar who experienced twenty deaths in terms of manic depressions leading to hospitalization and came back to life each time, broken but courageously determined. For all the darkness in his life, Lowell the genius poet mirrors in an abiding way the kind faults and failures that plague each of our lives. It is a heartening if sad account of the foils of being human.
Interviews with Richard Rothstein on NPR led me to his new book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (Liveright 2017). It reminds me of the dark underside of our country that I not only had forgotten but managed to ignore for a lifetime. Coming to terms with “the color of law” may be an essential step toward healing ancient wounds of racial prejudice.
The Christian Century reported recently the death at age 60 of Brian Doyle, poet, novelist, theologian, prophet. You can learn something about this talented man at the magazine website in a piece called “Brian Doyle’s Ferocious Attention.” You can find there articles and blogs he has written in recent years on religion and culture. Doyle was one of those rare writers who touches me not so much by what he said but how he wrote it. My favorite novels of his are Chicago (Picador 2016), The Plover (Picador 2015) and Mink River (Oregon State University Press 2010). Doyle was a gifted observer of the symbolic world around and within us. I am saddened by his death at so early an age.
Kenneth J. Meyers: Book Review: Jesus Stories – Traveling Toward Testimony by H. Stephen Shoemaker (Judson Press, 2016)
Finally. Finally a book that theologically and intellectually forms the functional foundation that the church is the “steward of the Jesus story” (p. ix). What’s more, the book is highly readable for lay and clergy folks.
I am speaking of Jesus Stories: Traveling Toward Testimony by noted author, scholar and pastor, H. Stephen Shoemaker.
In Thomas Groome’s book, Christian Religious Education: Sharing Our Story and Vision, he writes that faith formation comes to us best when we find the intersection between God’s Story and our own story. This pilgrimage to such an intersection can be brilliantly enriched with Shoemaker’s book. It is a gift to the church and those seriously searching for a Jesus life.
Shoemaker distinguishes between a search for the historical Jesus and the “more-than-historical Jesus” or between the “figure who lived in first-century CE Galilee” and the “one who is alive to us in the Spirit of God” (p.1). This approach promotes one’s personal faith formation story while fully engaging the Jesus story.
The readability of Shoemaker’s book is remarkable. With his vast scholarship, he provides a synthesis with the Gospels at many levels for a broad and thoughtful resource.
Most of all, Steve’s pastoral approach invites the reader into serious connections for faith responses. It guides the pilgrim of faith toward future practice to engage in authentic lives and model justice.
Every congregational faith formation minister will do well to include this extraordinary book into the overall curriculum. There is power in the Jesus story when it intersects with our own stories. Go forth and find that intersection.
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