BOOKS I'M READING (MARCH 2010)
William H. Willimon: Conversations with Barth on Preaching
This is the most academically rigorous of all Willimon's books and reflects deeply on what we should get from Barth and what we should press him about.
James William McClendon, Jr.: Systematic Theology, Vol. 1: Ethics
After Barth, Bonhoeffer, Yoder, MacIntyre, Newbigin, and Hauerwas and Volf, I am now enjoying working through the three volumes by baptist theologian McClendon (1924-2000). The Christian Century obituary includes these statements, A widely admired theologian with Southern Baptist roots, one who moved comfortably in ecumenical circles, had the pleasure of viewing a finished copy of the third and final volume of his life work, Systematic Theology, shortly before his death at age 76. James William McClendon Jr. died on October 30 at his home near Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, where he was distinguished scholar-in-residence for the past ten years. "He saw the book just before he lost consciousness," said wife Nancey Murphy, professor of theology at Fuller . . . Theologian Stanley Hauerwas of Duke Divinity School said McClendon's three volumes--titled Ethics, Doctrine and Witness, in that sequence--"will acquire increasing significance and regard" among theologians. "It's the first presentation of what a theology would look like that takes very seriously the work of [the late] John Howard Yoder," he said. See also the fascinating profile of James Wm. McClendon, Jr. by Michael L. Westmoreland-White.
George Eliot: Middlemarch
Eugene Peterson has said about it, "The tangle of spiritual intimacy and vocational pride that is the worm in the apple of the Christian life is diagnostically narrated here in an unforgettable story." This week Alan Jacobs highlights Rebecca Mead's comment that "Sometimes I feel as if everything that is worth knowing about love and marriage (and maybe about everything else, too) can be learned from reading Middlemarch.”