When I visit my parents for Christmas, I read. Clearly I also catch up with them, see relatives, help with the Christmas prep, meet with church, visit friends in nursing homes, and visit the home of the heart, but it's also a wonderful chance for reading. My parents' minister was rather concerned that I rest my brain from reading theology, but it is resting - especially like this:
I arrive back and first thing, I investigate what books are lying around. My Dad's reading Wright's Surprised by Hope which looks interestingly non-novel, but I'd not get away with trying to read it at the same time as him. There were a couple of novels lying around - review copies my Dad had been sent to persuade him to stock them in the bookshop. Ha! I read one in an hour or so, which wasn't worth it. I think the lift repair man was supposed to be like Christ, but you'd be better reading a 'secular' novel that was actually well-written (Christians should lead with creativity, in the image of God, surely?) and discuss that with a friend, rather than reading a poor 'Christian' novel which isn't sure whether a lift repair man is a type of Christ or is pointing the characters to him.
Then it was a new biography of Frances Ridley Havergal, which needed to be reviewed for shop stock. It was ok, but I'd recommend Sharon James' biography of four women including Havergal, In Trouble And In Joy which is more readily available.
The next book lying on the coffee table was One touch from the King by Mark Stibbe. He advocates a position on miraculous healing which is more balanced and pastorally helpful than most charismatics I've read.
Atop the next pile on the coffee table (misnomer here: 'coffee' table should read 'table buried under piles of books') is Carolyn Mahaney's Feminine Appeal, which I was interested to see. It's primarily for wives & mothers, but was of value to me nevertheless. I wonder whether the view of women remaining at home owed slightly more (ironically) to culture than to Scripture, as before the industrial revolution both husband and wife would work in the husband's trade from the home, or in the fields together, with the children around them both - or so claimed Pearcey's Total Truth. However, with slight feelings of middle class American culture, the book's good overall.
Having refrained from picking up my Dad's current read, I did snatch my Mum's - Seasons of womanhood by Jean Gibson - and read it while she was off doing something else. Her only objection was that I couldn't possibly have read it properly to finish it that quickly. The book itself was mostly fine - short biographies of ordinary Christian women at various stages of life, their challenges and how they serve the Lord in them. One chapter seemed to say more about the Myers-Briggs(TM) personality test than about Jesus, but thankfully that chapter was out of place among the rest, and the book is a 'nice', short book, which will encourage some to be faithful to the Lord in all circumstances.
Deciding I'd exhasted the recent additions to the piles of books lying round the house (or the others being commentaries), I headed in to The Bookshop, and although I've asked for a list for Christmas, I browsed the second hand - and the rest of the shop which is mostly reduced. Picked up Josh Harris' Stop Dating the Church, which has been variously recommended, and read it before I went to sleep - it is good. Just a pity it's not IVP so I can't as easily sell it to students.
Yesterday was Sunday, which is marvellous, and I also managed to finish Frame, Apologetics to the Glory of God, which is good but hard going at times, and leaves me mostly agreeing but still feeling I'm not great at apologetics. Talks and written word, yes, but interaction with a buddhist-sounding nonrealist after a God is a Delusion debate, when he wouldn't admit he didn't live consistent with his nonrealism? Hmmm.
To top off Sunday, I read Krish Kandiah's Twenty-Four before I slept, and thoroughly recommend it. Finally someone else who is prepared to advocate godliness while driving - he has a whole chapter on commuting! I find it rather worrying in the inherintly selfish activity of driving, when each is focussed on his own agenda, how easily frustration and irritation arise in my heart. Commuting is a hard test arena for grace.
Now I await my Christmas books...
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