One of the great joys that I have in being in ministry in a larger town (at least larger than my previous location) is connecting with our pastors, leaders, and Christians who are pursuing a life with God. I've been wanting to get back on the blogging horse for awhile, but haven't done it. Thanks to a blog post and conversation with Paul Bowman- I have the inspiration for a post and hopefully the catalyst for more regular blogging.
So here are some of the books that I plan on reading in 2012 and a brief explanation of why.
American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodist: It's a biography of one of the most important leaders of American Methodism. It is said that he rode over 30,000 miles on horseback- and that more people recognized Francis Asbury than Thomas Jefferson in his day. Why do I want to read this? Well, I did attend Asbury College (his namesake) and I am a Methodist Pastor. But above all, Methodism was a dynamic movement during and after Asbury's time- which may come as a surprise for those accustomed to the institution called The United Methodist Church. Here's praying that we can, through the Holy Spirit, regain the movement!
The Pastor: A Memoir, by Eugene Peterson: I can remember when The Message came out in sections back in the 1990's as a teenager. The advertisements made me want to read The Message- and I wasn't disappointed as it has brought fresh insight on my spiritual journey- as well as Peterson's many other books.
For Calvinism and Against Calvinism This is certainly an era where New Calvinism is active in our culture. From the Passion Movement, artist like Lecrae, and the influence of pastors such as John Piper, Calvinism has been making a resurgence. The problem is- I'm not a Calvinist! Growing up in the Methodist Church- I have a Wesleyan-Arminian background and find parts of Calvinism troubling. But I want to read both books to have a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of Calvinism.
Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities: This piggy-backs off the previous books as I want to better understand my theological heritage. I commented to a friend earlier about how muddied theologically we become as we begin to listen to podcast of various pastor's of a variety of theological strains. Part of the challenge for us as pastors, leaders, and Christians will be to coherently know what we believe.
Last Supper and Lord's Supper, by I. Howard Marshall: I am currently a Provisional Elder in The United Methodist Church. Before now and next November, I have to write and teach a four week Bible study on communion/eucharist/Lord's supper. Having already done some research, this is on my list and I have begun to read as I prepare a study for our congregation.
There are several other books on discipleship and church leadership that I want to read in the coming months, but I don't have the titles here. Of course, there is the temptation that some book will come out in the meantime and work its way onto my list.
What are you planning on reading in 2012?