Reading with the Rector

For many people, summer is a time to slow down and embrace sabbath. The days stretch longer. Kids are off school. People are taking vacations.

Ever since I was a kid, I have always had a stack of books to read over the summer. Never because I had to read them, but because I got to read them. It has been a joy this year to see my daughter reading books in the car, on the couch, and in her bed at night. Her summer reading this week is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Not a bad choice!

Many of you know my love for the written word, particularly God’s Word. But preachers read more than just the Bible. I wanted to share with you some of the books I will be reading this summer.

The Second Coming by Walker Percy
This novel explores the nature of existence and the search for deeper meaning. It does this through the lens of two characters: one character who cannot face his present because he is trapped in the past, another character who cannot remember her past and so is trapped in the present. There is even one critical scene in the novel that takes place in Thomasville, GA!

The Soul of America by Jon Meacham
This is one of the books I am currently reading for my book club. We each take turns picking books for the club to read. This non-fiction work examines the history of America, with a particular view towards highlighting when America worked best and how it might work best in the future.

No Silver Bullets by Daniel Im
This book was recommended by Bishop Neil Lebhar, particularly for church staff teams to read together. The thesis of the book is that there are “no silver bullets” to have a successful, growing, disciple-making church. Instead, the book points to five small changes every church can make to have a big impact. This is one book our staff team is reading together over the summer.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
Given all the staff changes we have had over the past year, we are re-reading this book together as a staff team so we can avoid some of the pitfalls that new teams can face. This book was recommended to me by three rectors of large Anglican congregations. It’s a really great read for anyone who leads a team or works on a team.

The First Letter to the Church in Corinth by Saul of Tarsus
This last book is one that I hope we will all read together this summer. You can find it in the Bible, right after the book of Romans. This fall, we will have a preaching and teaching series that will take us all the way through the book of 1 Corinthians. In preparation for this, I am spending all summer deeply reading 1 Corinthians each week. You can read 1 Corinthians in about one hour. I am challenging all of us to find some time this summer to read 1 Corinthians. I know you have at least one hour of free time!

This is what I am reading. What will you be reading?