My Summer Reads

Some people have asked me what I am reading this summer. After last semester with taking 20 credits to finish my Masters of Arts degree, I have planned on taking a 3-month vacation from studies, which means I plan on not reading very much. However I have bought a few books to read this summer and felt like sharing what I’ll be working through, any suggestions?

#1 Baptism in the Early Church: History, Theology, and Liturgy in the First Five Centuries, by Everett Ferguson

Performing an almost Herculean task, Ferguson has evaluated every important document and baptismal font from the first five centuries of the Christian era. By delineating the diversity of beliefs and practices he discovered, he sheds enormous light on how we should understand this powerful rite of initiation. 

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#2 Church History: Volume One: From Christ to Pre-Reformation, by Everett Ferguson

Ferguson’s fresh yet scholarly work integrates the development of church doctrine with the cultural, intellectual, and political climates of the period—as the church weathered controversy after controversy. With a readable format featuring illustrations, charts, and sidebars, this excellent resource will be a welcome addition to the library of the serious historian or seminarian.

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#3 Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality, by Rob Bell

Just as the physical world is linked with deeper spiritual realities, sex and God are intimately connected. But how? With unusual beauty and insight, Bell addresses this intriguing question to help you better understand that we can’t talk about ourselves as sexual beings without asking who made us that way. An enlightening exploration of sexuality and spirituality.

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#4 Judas and the Gospel of Jesus: Have We Missed the Truth about Christianity?, by N. T. Wright

A publishing phenomenon, The Gospel of Judas soared to the top of bestseller lists—and sparked a worldwide debate about its impact on Christianity. What exactly is this ancient document, and how significant is it for today’s believers? Wright tackles these provocative questions, offering a much-needed theologically sound response to this controversial “Gospel.”

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#5 Cash: The Autobiography, by Johnny Cash

A humble, happy look back from the man in black. Johnny Cash answers to many names; he’s JR to childhood friends and family, John to bandmates, and Johnny to fans. “Cash” is the name wife June Carter reserves for “the star, the egomaniac.” The star gets plenty of ink here, from the early days at Sun Records–with Elvis, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis–to his current status as a darling of the alternative rock set. But it’s the private man who’s most compelling and surprisingly complex. Cash writes candidly of his recurring addiction to amphetamines and his concomitant shortcomings as a father, addresses his spirituality without sounding maudlin, and displays genuine humility at his success and very little bitterness at his abandonment by the country music establishment. A more accurate subtitle might be “The Second Autobiography,” since this volume covers some of the same ground as Cash’s previous work, The Man in Black (1986), but a life so chock full of oddments (he once started a forest fire with an automobile and on another occasion was nearly disemboweled by an ostrich) and renegade stands (he opposed Vietnam, heresy to the nation’s blue- collar constituency) easily merits a second look. Organized around the domiciles where he divides his time–homes in Tennessee, Florida, and Jamaica, as well as his tour bus–the book stays grounded in the present, mixing reflections on his 40-year career with a running chronicle of an ongoing tour. This novel approach minimizes the as-told-to blahs that plague many a celebrity autobiography and highlights Cash’s wry humor and introspection. With the help of Carr, editor of Country Music magazine, Cash keeps the pace lively until the end, when the roses he throws everyone from grandkids to music biz buddies bog things down. Mostly, though, a pungent, substantive autobiography from one the most iconoclastic talents on the American music scene. (32 pages b&w photos, not seen) ($200,000 ad/promo; author tour) — Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. 

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#6 The Ten Commandments, By Thomas Watson

This volume is one of three that make up Thomas Watson’s complete Body of Practical Divinity. ‘One of the most precious of the peerless works of the Puritans, and those best acquainted with it prize it most.’ – C. H. Spurgeon

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