January Reading so Far
I am starting off the year working on Tim Challies’ 2016 Visual Theology Reading Challenge, and doing pretty well so far. I have finished, in the “light” section:
- a biography (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Eric Metaxas)
- a book for children (The Giver, Lois Lowry)
- a mystery or detective novel (The Covenant of Genesis, Andy McDermott)
- a book about Christian living (The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller)
My thoughts on the books (except for the fictional ones, I don’t really have lots of lessons to learn from them, I read them at the point I did because they are a quick fun distraction, but The Giver does have more actual merit of the two)
The Meaning of Marriage is a little easier to write something about. I was particularly challenged to think by one quote:
“In verses 22-24, Paul says, controversially, that wives should submit to their husbands. Immediately, however, he tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and ‘gave himself up for her’ (25), which is, if anything, a stronger appeal to abandon self-interest than was given to the woman” (pg. 45)
One of my first thoughts when I read that was of the US Army NCO Creed (it’s basically a memorable overview of Army leadership doctrine)
“My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind – accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my soldiers…”
I’ve been realizing that as I move up in rank (in a military or civilian sense) I become more responsible, by position, for leadership. I had a long discussion with someone last year on what this looks like from a Christian standpoint, and got the advice to look at Christ and how He lead the twelve, and interacted with those around Him. In all aspects of it, my conclusion is that sacrificial leadership, as exemplified by Jesus, is what a leader should be; as a husband, as a supervisor, and as an NCO in the military.
Overall his book was not what I expected. My philosophy is not that men are dictators in marriage, but it was still a different, and better, view of what a marriage should look like.
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy will be a little more of a challenge to write even a short review of.
A quick summary the events through the book. WWI ends, Germany loses territory as part of the treaty ending that war. Hitler is elected. He starts out pretending to serve the interests of Germany, so he can gain power for himself. The German church is taken over by Nazi leadership. Operation Valkyrie is begun to overthrow Hitler and gain concessions from the Allied powers, rather than defeat. That plot fails and 7000+ are arrested and many executed as a result, including Bonhoeffer in the end.
It’s a very interesting book. I’m not well versed in Theology, or who his influences were, so I will not try to discuss that side of the book. My conclusion of Valkyrie and the fact that a Theologian (even one that may have believed very differently from me) participated, makes the point again that war is not a simple thing. It’s a little easier to gather some other lessons from the events though. He was engaged before he died, and seems to have kept a very positive attitude through to the end. He wrote about getting out of prison and marrying. According to someone else he was in prison with he had a good attitude even to his captors.