In addition to my summer reading recommendations from the other day, I need to mention a few more. I'm (finally, and belatedly) reading one of the best books I've read in a long time, by one of my favorite authors, Barbara Brown Taylor who wrote An Altar in the World. The book is a gem.
If my book Naked Spirituality is a prose exploration of spiritual practices, An Altar is poetry (written in prose form, but poetry nonetheless).
I just read a pre-pub manuscript by another gifted writer, Jana Riess. Although Flunking Sainthood won't be available until November, it's really something to look forward to.
In the category of free e-books, I have two recommendations. First, there's The Knight and the Gardener, available here, by Cassidy Dale. It's an e-book, it's free, it's important, and it's really good.
And Bill Dahl is releasing The Questians serially on his site. The first three chapters are available now, with more to come. Bill's a great storyteller and mixes intelligence and insight with a wicked sense of humor. Quotable:
The predominant thought that occupies the minds of an inmate can be reduced to one question: "What am I going to do when I get out?" Seated on the bunks of our cells, too many of us gaze at the bars of our lives that the Qage mentality has erected before us. A wall protects, but also imprisons. Every fortress is also a jail."(xix)
Such is the tension that inhabits the gap within human existence -- that space between what you think your life is -- and what it might become -- when I get out. For far too many of us, the Qage mentality is an operative illusion, limiting us to passively accepting the conditions of our current confinement. That's no way to live. Questians understand "Creative thoughts evolve in this gap filled with tension holding on to what is known and accepted while tending toward a still ill defined truth that is barely glimpsed on the other side of the chasm."(xx)
Finally, turning from faith/spirituality to nature/the outdoors (which isn't actually a turn for many of us) -- when I was in England recently, my friend and fellow birdwatcher Dave Tomlinson gave me a copy of How to be a Bad Birdwatcher by Simon Barnes. This book that will enrich your summer and your life, I promise.
Do you ever feel how fortunate we all are to be alive when so many tremendous writers are writing so tremendously?
Brian McLaren (brianmclaren.net) is a former pastor and the author of over a dozen books, including Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in Twelve Simple Words.
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