Book Review Wednesday

I am so pleased to see that the number of followers on my blog has nearly doubled in the past week. I suspect much of this has to do with my recent call to serve at Holy Comforter. This means, however, that many of you don’t know me very well, or even at all.

Remember when you were a kid, and had just scarfed 3 donuts, and your mom said, “You are what you eat!” Well, I believe you are what you read. So for those of you who don’t know me all that well, I’m going to share with you what I’ve been reading (other than the Bible) over the past month. My hope is that you get an insight to the world of Jimmy Abbott.

I’m not trying to brag by saying how much I read. I love to read and I want to share that love with you. Plus, at this point in my life, I don’t have any children, so I’m trying to stuff as many ideas into my head as I can before there are little Abbotts running around.


“Murder in the Cathedral” by T.S. Eliot – Maggie and I will be visiting Canterbury Cathedral in May. To get prepared, I read Eliot’s play about the murder of Thomas Becket. It’s a stirring dramatization of those events. The first time I read this was to prepare for my ordination to the priesthood. The four spirits that tempt Becket are the four spirits that tempt every clergyperson.

“The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” and “Gentlemen of the Road” by Michael Chabon – Michael Chabon is one of my favorite authors. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.” Chabon tries to write in the classic American novel genre. He thinks that simply telling a great story is good enough for a book. These two works are especially hilarious.

“Jesus and the Victory of God” by N.T. Wright – Tom Wright is a bishop in the Church of England and a prominent New Testament scholar to boot. Many say that he is the preeminent New Testament scholar in the world. This book, “Jesus,” is the second volume of an eventual five volume series on the New Testament. I love Tom Wright’s devotion to God, the Church, and authentic scholarship. He has written a number of books for the non-scholastic types. The top three, in my opinion, are: “Simply Christian,” “Surprised by Hope,” and “After you Believe.” (Maggie is reading “Surprised by Hope” right now.)

“Till We Have Faces” by C.S. Lewis In this story, Lewis reworks the Cupid and Psyche myth. There are elements of the Christian story and some real gems of wisdom sprinkled throughout the story. Here’s my favorite line from the whole book (and a great one-liner about Christian liturgy): “The story and the worship were all one in his mind.”

“Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics” by Sam Wells – I’ve only made it about fifty pages in this book. But already I love what Wells has to say. I am intrigued by the parallels between theatrical improvisation and a vibrant Christian ethic.

Harper’s Magazine – I only subscribe to one magazine, Harper’s. Call me a weirdo, but I prefer long-form journalism rather than sound bytes.

One thought on “Book Review Wednesday

  1. Two things:

    First of all, try to get into the Canterbury Scholars program before you’ve surpassed your first 5 years of ministry. It’s an amazing program and it meant I lived at Canterbury Cathedral for two weeks this past summer and talked about what it means to be a priest in the Anglican Communion. Kathy Grieb, who I’m sure you know from VTS, was one of the professors. The other people in the program are people just like you, only on other continents. It is still the best experience of my life.

    Another thing: Sam Wells is fabulous. He did a lecture on our campus this Spring and it was phenomenal. He is currently packing his bags and moving to England, actually. This is the ustream of his lecture, since I didn’t see you there: Totally worth your time.

    Thanks for sharing–sad I won’t have you as a clergy friend in Waco, but thanking God for the new opportunities for you and Maggie!

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