Sunday, January 6, 2013
First Cup—Arthur’s Top Ten (more or less) Books of 2012
Bird by Bird, Some Instructions On Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. It just occurred to me that this list could be titled “Books People Gave Me to Read.” (Even the idea of this list was suggested by Patrick Nachtigall’s own list.) The Book Thief was loaned to me by Mike and Miffy Davis; Galileo’s Daughter by Cole Dawson; The Hare With The Amber Eyes and Railsea were given to me by Joel; Bird By Bird was recommended by Bill Dobrenen. Thank you, friends!
When Jesus Became God, The Struggle to Define Christianity During the Last Days of Rome by Richard Rubenstein. After the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, perhaps the most crucial development in the history of Christianity is the question of the divinity of Jesus—the famous battle over one letter: Homoousian or Homoiousian? Was Jesus of the same or similar essence with the Father? This book describes the history—the often nasty and brutal history—of this battle, which in many ways is still with us. This well-written account will be helpful for anyone interested in the history of that famous time when Christianity became “respectable; for anyone wanting to understand the significance of the question; and for anyone who is still trying to work “the problem of Jesus” out on their own.
Well, either this is one short or one long. The next two are really textbooks. (Where were texts like these when I was in college?!) These also come to me via recommendation, sort of: both were texts named by Cassie Trentaz for inclusion in the course we teach at WPC titled Rel 320: Spirituality, Character, and Service.
Hearing the Call Across Traditions, Readings on Faith and Service; Adam Davis, editor. :Hearing the Call" is a rich collection of essays, poems, religious texts, sermons, a variety of literary genres, philosophy, and history—in the context of the themes service and social justice. I have found it challenging and enlightening and enjoyable. If you, like me, are minimally informed about how the great religions of the world teach us to live in our world with our amazing and strange and wonderful neighbors, you will be informed and enlightened by this text.
So, I close this (more or less) top ten list with deep appreciation for writers and books—may they live long and prosper—and for friends who love books so much that they can’t stand to keep them to themselves. In that spirit, I pass this on to any who stumble upon it. May these help you to see more clearly and to love more dearly. They are about the abundant life, which, for me, is a life with books.
Happy New Year!