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July 29th, 2006 by isaac · 4 Comments

First of all, I have to admit my blogging ignorance. I don’t know what a “Meme” means and I’m too lazy this Saturday morning to google it (and I shouldn’t be doing this since I have to prepare a sermon for tomorrow). But Jason “tagged” me, so here goes:

1. One book that has changed your life. John H. Yoder’s Originial Revolution: Essays on Christian Pacifism. I read it just after 9/11/2001, while I trying to think christianly about a response to ‘terrorism.’ I would have to say, that book marked a ‘conversion’ in my faith. I liked Original Revolution better than most of Politics of Jesus (except that last chapter of PJ is some of the best theology I’ve read). And I would recommend it to anyone—it’s a short read, not too much academic language.

2. One book that you have read more than once. Chaim Potock’s My Name is Asher Lev. I don’t know how may times I’ve read it. And I love it every time.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island. I’ll go with Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics. I know it’s a multi-volume (12?) ‘book,’ but I think it should count. I know the answer should be “the Bible.” But if I’m alone on a desert island, I don’t have any community with which to read the bible—so, it’s just bible and me, and that is no way to read faithfully. Well, Barth’s Dogmatics provides more biblical exegesis than any other theology I’ve read (Origen might be a rival on this score), and, more importantly, Barth illumines a hermeneutic that comes from his exegesis, and helps him exegete faithfully. So Barth gives me an attempt to think ecclesially about the Bible, and the Bible itself. I win on all fronts!

4. One book that made you laugh. I can’t think of any right now. I know, I’m lame.

5. One book that made you cry. I cried at the end of Northern Lights, the first book of Philip Pullman’s trilogy: His Dark Materials. Lyra’s sorrow at the loss of her friend was too much for me to bear.

6. One book that you wish had been written. Jesus and Me: Revolution and Betrayal, by Judas Iscariot.

7. One book that you wish had never been written. C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. I’ve just never understood all the fuss about the book. I think the idea of a “mere Christianity” is a bad one. It’s one rooted in protestant liberalism—cut from the same cloth as Adolf von Harnack’s What is Christianity? and Marcus Borg’s attempt to resurrect von Harnack (The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering the Life of Faith).

8. One book you are currently reading. Harry J. Huebner’s new book, Echoes of the Word: Theological Ethics as Rhetorical Practice. I don’t understand why the book isn’t listed on Amazon yet.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read. Fredric Jameson’s Postmodernism: Or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. I bought it last year at the AAR, and I’ve picked it up a number of times. I’ve read bits and pieces of it. But I still need to make the time commitment and read the whole thing through. I have decided that I cannot buy any books at this year’s AAR without first finishing Jameson’s book.

Tags: meme

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nance // Jul 29, 2006 at 9:04 am

    Isaac, you can’t think of any books that have made you laugh or cry? That’s just sad. It’s because you only read theology books (or other academic, hoity-toity books). C’mon! Branch out and read some novels!

  • 2 isaac // Jul 30, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    Nance,
    Ok. I updated the question on a book that made me cry. Hope that shows I have a tender side. Now I have to remember a book that made me laugh. Maybe I read too many depressing novels.

  • 3 Jason // Jul 31, 2006 at 12:50 pm

    Well, even if you can’t find one, your answer to number six definitely made me laugh. And your #3 has got to be one of the most thorough and creative answers yet.

    I’m curious why you think the idea of a “mere” Christianity is a bad one? Are you thinking it’s liberal in terms of the idea of boiling it all down to the basics? Or is it the idea of presenting a summary of what Christianity is all about that rubs you the wrong way (but isn’t that what faith statements, testimonials, etc. are all about)?

  • 4 Anonie // Aug 1, 2006 at 8:12 am

    Isaac,
    I think I’m with Jason on this one. Well, he’s just curious, and I’m a little more furious. I think C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity is one of the most important books I’ve read. It really spoke to me about how rational our faith is. And I think it gives some real fuel for apologetics which is so important for sharing the gospel to our culture. It’s pretty harsh of you to say that you wish it wasn’t ever written.

    But I do also love Chaim Potok’s books. I think my favorite is In The Beginning.