Saturday, April 16, 2005

Readings and Doings

On Monday, I begin a temporary work project with a company that grades the essay portion of standardized tests. The money is not terrible for a short term job, but I am dreading sitting in a room looking at tests for 7 hours. Pray for me.

As I prepare for less time with family and blog, I have been trying to update the blog the best I can using blogger. In the few days, I hope to have some banner ads for important justice issues (as of today they are at the bottom- by Monday I hope Craig has figured it out). Also, I have added many links and rearranged others. I am hoping to add pictures to some of the book and music portions also.

Also, I will have less time for reading, so I wanted to update any readers on things that have been making the rounds on my bookshelf.

I just finished Making Kind Choices by Ingrid Newkirk, the founder of PETA, an organization I respect. They piss me off sometimes, but I think everyone should be standing up for animals. In giving us dominion over these creatures, we are given great responsibility to treat them with care and respect. How we treat animals shows our true character. The book has many ideas for living in a way that is kinder to the environment, other people and the animal kingdom. While I disagree with some things in the book, I was convicted and surprised by other suggestions.

Interestingly, PETA has been attempting to reach out to churches and people of faith as partners. They have recruited some Christian bands and have websites on how the Bible relates to vegetarianism. Theologically they are weak biblical ground much of the time, but they are raising issues Christians should be thinking about.

I finally finished Richard Hays opus The Moral Vision of the New Testament. This is among the best books on ethics or the New Testament I have ever read. I will be quoting from it in the future. His exegesis is superb and his approach to reading the NT ethically puts most theologians to shame. He deals powerfully with subjects such as homosexuality, abortion, divorce and remarriage, etc. With tenderness and strong authority. However, his most important contribution is his embrace of the Anabaptist vision that following Jesus impels us to renounce violence (all types). He lays waste of the idea of "just war" and Niehbur's "Christian Realism."

It is a must read. I read much of it twice.

And I finally read The Tipping Point (I mean, I heard The Tipping Point- by The Roots a long time ago). I could not put it down. I understand now everything people have said about it. It made me have more appreciation for the PDL by Warren. However, I am sure this book is dangerous in the hands of some church planters and denominational officials. I am on the waiting list at the library for Blink. So, maybe one day I will read it and feel the same way.

Presently, I am finishing Consuming Kids-the Hostile Takeover of Childhood by Susan Linn. It is yet another book detailing the dangers of commercialism, materialism, marketing and media. It is not as good as Born to Buy, but still a good read with great resources for any parent or minister. Sadly, Christians are ignoring this problem while buying kids PDL salt shakers, Veggie Tales cribs, Left Behind children's toys and Christian band Baby Doll shirts.

I am also in the midst of my genocide reading. I have finished A People Betrayed- the role of the west in Rwanda's genocide. I am in the middle of A Problem From Hell- America in the Age of Genocide, a fairly academic history of the 20th Centuries common genocidal problem and America's response (or lack of most of the time). It is quite good. And I just picked up Shake Hands with the Devil : The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Romeo A. Dallaire, the UN General who witnessed the atrocities firsthand. I hope to read We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda when I am done. I know it is not light reading, but I have wanted to tackle this subject for a long time. I have read and watched during the past 10= years, but want to truly grasp this issue as I approach Darfur and the rest of my life.

Lastly, Joel Vestal just sent his new book, Wanting More. I may have to put the others on the nightstand and finish this first. I love it when friends write books. Plus, Joel is doing more to help those in need than anyone I know. After that I will finally start David Dark's The Gospel According To America. Finally, I hope to read Plan B by Ann Lamott as soon as I can get my hands on it (well, after my wife gets it first).

I do love the public library. All these books for nothing but late fees (eventually though I will have to buy many of them).


Anonymous said...

Good morning Rick, thanks for the book list, and though I hope you keep up your writing, I'm glad to hear about the job. I think I'll add Richard Hays' book to my list but not without a bit of fear. The Anabaptist vision kinda scares me... it feels like entering the pool off the high-dive instead of easing in from the steps in the shallow end.

Anyway, I just finished Blue Like Jazz and enjoyed it. Yes, I know it might be a little "too" popular for comfort, but it reminded me a little of that GQ article (Boys Link Warning: this month's cover is over-the-top, crack cocaine-ish, tease your DNA sexuality... which really pisses me off... and makes me want to look for LOTS more pictures).

Bob Robinson said...

Interestingly, one of my favorite columnists, Joe Klien of TIME, wrote a commentary recently called "The Blink Presidency", in which he writes,

Bush is the ultimate "Blink" President, to use author Malcolm Gladwell's catchy term, and recent title, for instantaneous, subconscious decision making. The slogan on Gladwell's book jacket—"Don't Think—Blink!"—is a perfect mantra for an attention- deficit-disordered society, and an apt description of the electric jolt Bush has brought to politics and policy. It certainly was the subtext of the 2004 presidential campaign: Kerry's thinking seemed tortured, paralytic; Bush's blinking seemed strong and decisive. But there are problems. "We don't know where our first impressions come from or precisely what they mean, so we don't always understand their fragility," writes Gladwell, who is way too smart to be a cheerleader for the immediate. Gladwell argues that blinking is best when it is reinforced by a lifetime of study and expertise. Bush's blinks come in two basic varieties: judgments about people and about broad policy."

The column can be found here