I recently finished reading the book, “Leonardo Da Vinci,” by Walter Isaacson. A church member loaned me the book. It was a great read. Isaacson is a super author and he specializes in books that focus on individuals from history. Another excellent book from Isaacson is his biography on Benjamin Franklin. I am always interested in a top-notch account of a person’s life.
Like many of you, I like to read a good book. I first began to invest in books as a young seminary student in Evanston, Illinois. A professor told me, and others, that we might be appointed to churches off the beaten path. He said we might find ourselves in settings that didn’t have a local library in town. He said we needed to develop our own library and study. Taking his words to heart, I started to purchase as many books as I could afford at the Cokesbury Bookstore on campus.
My biggest purchase at the time was a set of biblical commentaries entitled, “Interpretation.” I didn’t have enough money to purchase all the Old Testament books, but I did purchase the New Testament collection and I started my library. Better commentaries have been published over the years, but I still find these books meaningful and beneficial.
I am constantly reading these books, but I rely on other church books too. I try to read a new book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer every year. In February I read a book about one of his mentors, Karl Barth, while I traveled back and forth to Florida for a trip. I relish the books I have from modern theologians and scholars like Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, and Brian McLaren.
Current events motivate me to read books too. Ibram X. Kendi and Eddie Glaude provide significant insights into race relations in their books. Heather and I recently heard Viet Thanh Nguyen speak at Coe College about life as a refugee in America. I look forward to reading his book, “The Sympathizer.”
I believe more than ever that reading is essential in our world today. I hope you take the necessary time to read this summer, whether it’s done via hardcover, paperback, tablet, or phone. I tend to focus on non-fiction, but there is a wonderful world out there in regards to fiction. I am further reminded of Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (NIV)
Grace and peace to each of you, Scott