March Staff Picks Part 2: Even More Challenging Books

The March theme for our staff picks is “Books We Find Challenging.”

Sheila’s challenge: Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas

bonhoeffer

Sheila says:

“I find Bonhoeffer’s choice challenging. As I am reading through this biography, I’m finding the issues Bonhoeffer faced similar to issues we face today. How do I live as a Christian in the world? How should Christians be involved in politics? The book has also challenged me to think about what I remember about the history of the first half of the twentieth century. I’m not always sure Metaxas’s presentation of the zeitgeist and timeline is accurate, but I need to do more reading to see if my impression is correct.”

Connor’s challenge: Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals by Immanuel Kant

kant

Connor might have said:

“I’m a philosopher, but Kant is challenging no matter who you are.”

On seeing Connor’s Staff Pick, Everyone’s Favourite Campus Chaplain said: “That Connor is a weird guy.” On hearing that this month’s theme was challenging books, EFCC changed his comment to: “Oh, OK, yeah, Kant is challenging.”

The Academics’ Challenge: Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics

Dr. Heather: Volume I.1, The Word of God

word

Dr. Heather says:

“This is the only volume of Church Dogmatics I’ve dipped into so far. It was pretty challenging.”

Ryan: Volume IV.1, The Doctrine of Reconciliation

reconciliation

Ryan says:

“Karl Barth is easily the most important Protestant theologian of the 20th century. Perhaps more than anything else, Barth is challenging because of his rigorous Christocentrism. He wants all theological doctrines to be refracted through the lens of Christ, God’s personal disclosure of Godself to humanity. Readers will find this feature fully on display in this volume of the Church Dogmatics. Let Barth challenge you to see if you really think about humanity in light of Christ.”

Why do we try? Because it is is THE major work of 20th Century Theology. Plus most of our theological friends tend to be Barth scholars.

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March Staff Picks

Here we are in March, a month of time adjustments, the start of spring, and almost the end of term for students at the seminaries we serve. March can be a difficult month — Lent plus Term Papers equals Stress. In recognition of those stressful aspects of March, our monthly staff pick theme is “Books We Find Challenging to Read.”

You can see from what staff members say about their picks for the month that we define “challenging to read” differently. Have you read any of our challenging books? Will you challenge yourself to read them?

Cindy’s Pick: To The Heart of the Mystery of Redemption by Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr

9781586171544

Cindy says:

“Our staff pick “theme” this month was books that we find difficult but well worth the struggle to read, hence my selection of this book.  I find that von Balthasar’s writings stretch my brain to the point of snapping, but after a long period of thought and reflection my brain begins to slowly absorb his theological insights.  This book is particularly suited to the current liturgical season of Lent. Although it is a small book (only 135 pages) it is a long read.  Like eating an elephant, it is best to digest this book one small bite at a time.”

Ed’s Pick: Generation to Generation by Edwin H. Friedman

generation

Ed says:

“This book is dense with great information. It is challenging to read because you have to unpack every sentence. I found it a real tough slog, but worth it.”

Carolyn’s Pick: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

hobbit

Carolyn says:

“This month’s staff pick assignment is to pick a book that we find challenging in some way. On author I find challenging to read is J.R.R. Tolkien. I know, everybody loves this guy. And everyone should read him, right? Well, I picked up Lord of the Rings about 5 years ago, and I think I got Frodo and his pals as far as Rivendell, where they are waiting still. Sorry, Tolkienheads, I just can’t get into it. Too much geographical detail, I think. And Tom Bombadil is just too weird.

My mom read The Hobbit to me when I was a child, and there were parts of it I enjoyed, most notably Bilbo’s encounter with Gollum. But picking it up and re-reading it would certainly be a challenge for me.”

Rev. Heather’s Pick: For Self-Examination & Judge for Yourself! by Soren Kierkegaard

9780691020662

Rev. Heather Says:

“I picked a hard-looking book by Kierkegaard because Carolyn picked a Tolkien book. Tolkien is one of my favourite authors and Lord of the Rings is one of the best books EVER. Carolyn loves Kierkegaard (she keeps picking his stuff for books you love months). She thinks Tolkien is challenging; I think Kierkegaard is obscure. But we are still friends.”

 

Reading and Re-Reading: An Introduction to March Picks

The Crux Staff Picks them for February was “Books we Love.” The March theme is “Books we found/find challenging.” To bridge these two themes, we recommend reading this article on Re-reading Books. Sometimes we re-read books because we love them. Other times we need to re-read books to better understand them. Look for our books we found challenging posts over the next week or so.