As I write this, we are exactly one week removed from Memorial Day and two weeks away from the summer solstice and the official beginning of summer. Combined with the increasing rate of vaccinations, and a loosening of pandemic restrictions many are thinking about their summer plans. Regardless of where your summer travels take you, if you are like me part of your packing list is a list of books you want to spend time with. What follows are my humble suggestions to make your summer reading a little more spiritual and edifying.
The Bible — I wouldn’t be a priest worth his salt if this didn’t top the list. Even if the whole bible is too daunting of a read, I suggest reading the books of Genesis, Ruth, and Esther. Genesis is packed with rich stories of the beginning of God’s interaction with human beings and their interactions with each other. Both Ruth and Esther are fabulous stories of the heroines of Jewish literature. And if you just can’t put it down, add the gospel of Mark to boot.
Many Waters — by Madelein L’Engle—One of the greatest Christian writers best known for A Wrinkle in Time. This book is fantastically entertaining and a new look at Noah and the flood.
Christianity after Religion: The end of Church and the birth of a new spiritual awakening. – By Diana Butler Bass. Butler Bass plots where we are as a church and people of faith in the 21st century.
Sabbath as Resistance: Saying no to a culture of now — by Walter Brueggemann. This will challenge your whole world view in light of the Ten Commandments.
Surprised by Hope — By N.T. Wright—The former bishop of the diocese of Durham England does a fantastic job of articulating the core belief of resurrection. A must read!
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created — By Charles Mann. I read this book over a long cold winter and was riveted and awed by the impact still felt today by Columbus and his discovery of the New World.
Naked Spirituality: A life with God in 12 simple words — By Brian McLaren. This too was a favorite. The chapter on the word “thanks” alone is worth your time.
The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, or Mere Christianity — All of these are the result of the wonderful work by C.S. Lewis. If I had to choose between these, I think Mere Christianity would win by a nose.
I hope you have an opportunity to read at least one of these. They are well written and certainly a wonderful way to spend some time as you sit poolside, at the beach or swinging in a hammock in your own backyard.
REV. SCOTT BAKER is the rector at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Franklin. Contact him at 562-4542.