The Common Good

What I've Been Reading This Year

What a great year for books. I've been enjoying some new ones and some old ones lately. Here are a few in various categories.

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Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

Ministry:
Jerome Berryman's Godly Play and Children and the Theologians. I continue to feel that we need a revolution in kids ministry, and I think people like Jerome Berryman, Tom Boomershine, and John Westerhoff are saying what we need to hear.

Human Interest:
Kathleen Koch's Rising from Katrina chronicles the devastation of the hurricane on the Gulf Coast -- and the hard work of recovery in its aftermath. It's fascinating as an eyewitness story, but it also offers a window into a CNN journalist's engagement with a story that touches her own life -- and a window into the gritty reality of faith struggling and triumphing in a tragic situation.

Fiction:
This summer I read Frank Schaeffer's trilogy -- Portofino, Saving Grandma, and Zermatt. I laughed out loud more times than I have reading any other fiction, except maybe Candide. The three constitute a coming of age story, but also a comic/tragic window into the kind of American fundamentalism I know from my own background. Portofino captures love of place, Saving Grandma is poignantly hilarious, and Zermatt captures the simultaneous, furious, sexual angst of adolescent boys and adult fundamentalists.

Brian McLarenBrian McLaren is an author and speaker whose new book is A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith.

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