This week’s question is about something we all know too well, but can never get enough of: Books! What’s on our bookshelves? you may wonder. Well, so did this RevGal:
I have just returned from the RevGalBlogPals Big Event (B.E.11) in Dallas. In the course of her presentation, Enneagram master teacher Suzanne Stabile recommended about a dozen books related to Enneagram wisdom. Suzanne has also authored the soon-to-be published The Path Between Us. New books are so inspiring, whether newly published or new to me.
I would love to take a peek at your bookshelves, dear Matriarchs. As you think about the books you would never give up from your own library:
* * What are your favorite/essential ministry-related books?
* * And what are your favorite/essential non-(directly)ministry-related books?
* * * * * * *
Before we hear from the Matriarchs, a couple of shameless RGBP book-related plugs:
- We hope you have your own copy of There’s A Woman in the Pulpit, a collection of RevGal essays on ministry life. It also makes a great gift for a new seminarian, any pastor and/or a friend who wonders what in the world we do anyway.
- Registrations are open for the next RevGalBlogPals continuing education event. Big Event 12 will feature the Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney on the topic “Womanist Midrash.” Her highly-acclaimed book: Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to the Women of the Torah and the Throne is surely a RevGal favorite book!
Now, more of our Matriarchs’ book favorites:
On the practical side:
- Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison
- The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches are Transforming Discipleship and Community by Paul Sparks, Tim Sorens and Dwight J. Friesen
- Leadership Without Easy Answers by Ronald A. Heifetz
- The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Old Church by Diana Butler Bass
- Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership by Dan Hotchkiss
Less practical but favorite theological books:
- On the Mystery: Discerning God in Process by Catherine Keller
- What Would Jesus Deconstuct?: The Good News of Post-Modernism for the Church by John D. Caputo
- Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography by John Dominic Crossan
- Why Religion Matters by Huston Smith
- A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. edited by James M. Washington
I always find it tricky to name favourite books, as it feels like choosing a favourite child. Among ministry-related books, a few recent favourites for me are:
- On Living by Kerry Egan, who is a hospice chaplain…
- We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McLaren…
- Preaching the Big Questions” by Catherine Faith McLean and John H. Young
In books not directly related to ministry, recent favourites include:
- The Great Halifax Explosion by John U. Bacon – a wonderful work of narrative non-fiction that speaks to the way disaster brings out the best (and occasionally the worst) in people.
- Also, Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung is a graphic memoir that struck all the right notes for me.
- Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air is heartbreaking and beautiful.
- I recently re-read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and loved it as much as I did years ago. So many good books…
- Generation to Generation (Edwin Friedman)
- Embracing the Spirit (Emilie M. Townes, editor)
- Saving Paradise (Rita Nakashima Brock & Rebecca Ann Parker)
- Sexism and God Talk (Rosemary Radford Reuther)
- Making the Connections: Essays in Feminist Social Ethics (Beverly Wildung Harrison)
Other favorite books:
- The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
- Party of One: The Loner’s Manifesto (Anneli Rufus)
- Teresa of Avila: The Book of My LIfe (Mirabai Starr)
- The Artist’s Way (Julia Cameron)
- The World Peace Diet (Will Tuttle)
I highly recommend Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak as a periodic re-read for pastors, and I commend Karoline Lewis’s She even for those of us who think we know it all about being women in ministry, and for those times when we’re in the ditch, faith-wise, I appreciate both Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart and Renita Weems’ Listening for God: A Minister’s Journey Through Silence and Doubt.
* * * * * * *
Thank you, book-loving Matriarchs. What an inspiring list!
Now it’s your turn, dear reader.
- What are your go-to books?
- What book(s) could you never give away?
- What book is captivating you these days?
Share your favorites in the comments below.
Would you like some input on a question, dilemma, conundrum or challenge? We are here to help. Send your scenario to askthematriarch (at) gmail (dot) com
Rev. Sharon M. Temple is a United Church of Christ pastor living in Austin, TX. She is a contributor to the RevGals book There’s a Woman in the Pulpit and blogs erratically at Tidings of Comfort and Joy.
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