Monday, June 30, 2014

Letters from the Soul: This Month's Newsletter Column

(...and this year's reading recommendations!)

“School’s Out: Here’s Some Summer Reading!”

Dear Church,

Each of the past two years, I have dedicated my June “Letters from the Soul” column to letting you know what your bookworm of a pastor has been reading, and with this June’s column being dedicated to my marriage ceremony (which went fantastically, look for photos on Facebook soon!), my annual column of reading recommendations got pushed temporarily to July.  And so, here are a few of the books that have gotten plenty of attention from me so far in 2014, and I commend them to you for some quality reading during the lazy days of summer (do those really exist, though?!).

Adam Hamilton is the senior pastor of the largest United Methodist congregation in the country: Church of the Resurrection in my hometown of Kansas City, Kansas, and I was introduced to his work by Glen Miles, one of my pastoral role models in our denomination.  In this book, Hamilton lays out his vision for the role, authority, and foundational importance of the Bible in a 21st century church that must continue to strive to be welcoming to all comers.

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, by Nadia Bolz Weber.  Jericho Books, 2013.

Fair warning: there is a decent amount of PG 13 language in this memoir by the Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz Weber, but one would expect a certain edge from an irreverent comic who is also a recovering addict in addition to being one of the more thoughtful, articulate, and visionary mainline preachers of the present.  Her memoir of her spiritual journey is both heartfelt and stirring, as she recounts having to bury friends, achieve sobriety, and build a family all en route to planting a profoundly welcoming church.

Conversations With Myself, by Nelson Mandela.  Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2010.

I was extraordinarily blessed with the opportunity to go on mission to South Africa eight years ago with Global Ministries, the overseas missions arm of the Disciples of Christ denomination, and Mandela’s legacy was apparent throughout all of my experiences there.  With his death at the end of 2013, I once again picked up his autobiography from 2010 in the hopes that he had not taken all of his wisdom and compassion with him to the grave.  Read his stories and be inspired by one of the great humanitarian visionaries of our time!

So that is what has been on my shelf thus far in 2014...what book recommendations would you care to share with me?

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Eric

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