Friday, March 02, 2012

The curse of the blessed books...

My desk is wall to wall with books I have bought these last couple years as Dean of the seminary.  They are great books!  The books our students are reading are wonderful, and the ones we can only summarize are tremendous too.

What a curse for me!  I'm sitting here looking at some incredible stuff (just today I ordered the new Bonhoeffer biography by Metaxas and Yoder's Politics of Jesus, which I've never read but should have years ago).

I close with a poem by Walt Whitman, first introduced to me by my good friend Bill Patrick.  It's not particularly Christian, but I feel this way sometimes...
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest of me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer. That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.


π² said...

Three things have kept me from continuing to go overboard in book purchases. 1) Already buying books for seminary work. 2) Paperbackswap. 3) The prospect of moving after seminary. I've already been making mental notes as to which books can be given away or sold. My goal would be to get rid of 1/3 to 1/2 of our paper library. The closer we live to a seminary or Christian college, the more willing we will be to release our books.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Why are you not focusing on reading the books you already have?

Though I am a firm believer that the public sector is encroaching upon the private sector, and this dissolves liberty for individuals... isn't it a little naive' to affirm Yoder's views of pacifism? That view would support marytrdom (to build the Church?). I think this stance is foolish, personally.

On the other hand, Bonhoeffer chose his martyrdom, as his "noble cause". Is this what Christian discipleship requires for Wesleyans?

Bonhoeffer's stance (The Cost of Discipleship) is a little like John MacArthur's stance toward "Lordship theology" or the "Keswick movement's" view of overcoming...and the Wesleyan belief in the "proof of good works" (fruit/evidence of faith)....

The first view shuns the public as a valid way of serving "God". The second view collapses the two together, making one's life a matter of service.

Since the public arena cannot co-erce without limiting liberty of conscience (the private arena), then wouldn't each stance toward "truth" in life be a matter of personal choice/conviction?

musingmonkey said...

I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on the Metaxas book when you are done. I'm no Bonhoeffer expert, but I couldn't help but come away from the book with the feeling that Metaxas was painting a portrait of Bonhoeffer that would comfortably place him in the realm of conservative right-wing American evangelicalism.

That said, he is certainly a talented writer and story teller; as a biography it is quite the page turner!

On a different note, I've really been enjoying your blog this year. It is a blessing!