After my last post I expected someone to ask specifics about my summer reading! When I was describing my A,B,C categories I didn't mention another group that looms large in my life: publisher's manuscripts. When reading them I try to use the same steps for seeing the big picture and framing structure, but I don't feel I can ever skim if I am to write an honest foreword or endorsement. Perhaps they form a category D because however I might grade them ultimately as A,B or C, I want to give my best by a fairly careful read. Its nearly always an honor to write a foreword because you already have a connection with the author or the subject - they have done all the hard work and I need only add a bow and note on the front! Only occasionally I have had to decline because I could not be positive enough!
Currently, I have two forewords requested: Brian Harris, The Tortoise Usually Wins: Biblical Reflections on Quiet Leadership (Paternoster) and Lori J Carrell, Preaching that matters (Alban Institute). I also need to give an endorsement for Richard H. Cox, Rewiring Your Preaching: How the Brain Processes Sermons (IVP). All D category.
In strictly A category terms my most recent read is Craig Van Gelder & Dwight J Zscheile, The Missional Church In Perspective (Baker Academic, 2011). This is one of those 'mapping books' which help to locate where other significant missional leaders and trends belong in the developing missional story. Based upon an incisive reexamination of the category A missional book, Garrell Guder, Missional Church, this not only maps out four differing developments: Discovering, Utilizing, Engaging, Extending, but opens up an extraordinarily rich conversation on the key issues to engage us all. I have found this extremely revealing as it locates much so much of my reading (and teaching) in useful categories. This kind of book deserves detailed attention and I've not finished yet. Good 'mapping books' are like this!