November 21, 2012

Catching up...

 It feels like a long time since I have posted anything here, and looking back at my posts, it has been a long time!  Life has been busy for the past several months, and I haven't been able to keep up with my reviews.  That doesn't mean that I haven't been reading though!

Over the summer, I did a lot of "fluff" reading.  Last year, I mentioned that I had found my latest guilty pleasure when I discovered the first Southern Vampire Mystery book (a.k.a. the first Sookie Stackhouse book), Dead Until Dark.  In the second part of August and into September, I read books 2-6 in the series (there have been 12 published so far with one more expected).  They continued to be easy and enjoyable reading, but I started to lose interest in reading one after another at that point.  Friends have loaned the rest of the series to me - I will probably pick them up at some point in the future to keep reading - just not right away.

Since September, I have also been reading the next set of books for the Lay Worship Leader course that I am doing.  I'm not going to write full reviews here, but will write a few sentences about each of the books I have read for the course.

 The Sermon:  Dancing the Edge of Mystery (Eugene Lowry)
We were told to pick one book on preaching from a list, and I picked this one because the title appealed to me.  I loved the juxtaposition of the word "sermon," a word with connotations of dullness; with the words "dancing" and "mystery."  The book did live up to my expectations, and I have found that it has really changed the way that I think about sermons.

Wonderful Worship in Smaller Churches (David R. Ray)
This book was required reading.  He defines "smaller churches" as anything with an attendance of fewer than 100; and so most of my worship experiences (in English!) fall into that category.  I did find that he provided a strong argument for the value of smaller churches, but I found him to be a bit prescriptive at times.

A History of God (Karen Armstrong)
This book was my elective from this time around.  It was very interesting reading - it looks at the way that the three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) have perceived God over the past 4000 years.  I had no idea that there were so many ways of perceiving God, and my own perspective has been broadened.  I think that the most valuable insight that I gained is that while God remains the same, each time and place views God through it's own cultural lens.

Over the summer, I also discovered free e-books for the Kobo and Kindle app on my iPad.  The problem with free e-books is that you get what you pay for.  The advantage of free e-books is that they are free.  I am still opposed to e-books (I much prefer reading traditional paper books) and refuse to actually pay money for them, but when they are free....  I have been reading them at the gym on my iPad which has the distinct advantage of staying open on the ledge of the Elliptical machine (unlike a paper book), and you can make the font size large which is an advantage whilst reading.  But since they tend to be trash, I won't waste space here with reviews!

I have read a couple of other books, which I will write full reviews of in the next couple of days.


LC said...
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LC said...

I read "The Bible: A Biography" by Karen Armstrong. Then I got hooked and read "Through the Narrow Gate" and "The Spiral Staircase", her two autobiographies. Move over Marcus Borg, I have a new favourite contemporary spiritual writer.
-Laura S.

Kate said...

Laura - I liked A History of God better than the Borg book that we had to read for the course (I kept falling asleep while reading that one!). I was just describing A History of God to my uncle and he was fascinated by the premise of it. I'm hoping that I get a chance at some point to pick up some of her other books.