What are you reading this summer? Here are some books I’ve found interesting lately:
1. Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement
by Donald E. Miller, Tetsunao Yamamori. This book is a study of Pentecostals around the world and their growing involvement in social ministries in their communities. I’ve met one of the authors, Don Miller (he teaches at the University of Southern California where my daughter just graduated from). The book is thoughtful and engaging. Miller is a self-described “liberal Episcopalian,” yet writes with the greatest respect for the Pentecostal perspective.
2. The Fall of the Evangelical Nation: The Surprising Crisis Inside the Church ,
by Christine Wicker. Wicker is a long-time religion reporter, who grew up Southern Baptist. She assesses the strength and numbers of the evangelical church and concludes the Religious Right has never been as numerous or strong as people have thought, and that the evangelical church as a whole is declining. This is a good-news/bad-news book from my perspective. While it may be encouraging that the hard-line right-wing Christian movement is weaker than thought, the trends she describes are of concern for anyone involved in church ministry at any point on the spectrum.
3. The Sun Also Rises. My classics book group read this. I’d read very little Hemingway, and found this early novel of his fascinating. His prose is spare, and particularly when the action shifts to Spain, it’s riveting.
4. Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design. A gorgeous picture book about movie costumes. It includes essays about every decade, but I’ve just been looking at the pictures. The fascinating captions are reading enough. Here’s a quote from Peter Sellers: “I have no personality of my own. I reached my present position by working hard and not following Socrates’ advice – ‘know thyself’ … To me, I am a complete stranger. I cannot do anything from within myself. I have nothing to project. I’ve got so many inhibitions that I sometimes wonder whether I exist at all.” (p. 365) A cautionary tale.
5. Triangles: Bowen Family Systems Theory Perspectives, ed. by Peter Titelman. I’m still in the middle of this one, but I’ll recommend it anyway. It’s a collection of essays on emotional triangles in families and organizations. It’s written primarily for therapists, but it can be useful in ministry in understanding the triangles in our own families and the families we work with.
What are you reading this summer (beach reads included)?