Thursday, August 03, 2006

Book Tag

My friend, classmate, fellow pastor, and brother in the Society of St. Polycarp, Rev. Dave Juhl has "tagged" me on his blog.

It's taken me a long time to reply, as I'm on vacation and very, very busy (y'all know how that goes...). Anyway, here goes. His "tag" is a list of questions about books.

1. One Book that changed your life:
The Augsburg Confession. This little booklet is what drew me in to Lutheran Christianity and made an Evangelical Catholic of me.

2. One book you've read more than once:
The Hammer of God by Bo Giertz. This is a novel that every Lutheran pastor ought to read at least once a year, and I would recommend the same to laymen (of both sexes) as well. It is a series of three novellas set in a rural parish in Sweden from the early 1800s to the WW2 ear. Bumbling Lutheran pastors struggle with the major enemies of the Christian faith from each era, and in the process, they themselves learn the grace of God in giving pastoral care to their flocks.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
The Holy Bible. Of course, that's cheating, in a way, as it is a collection of books. If I had to pick one and only one, I suppose I would choose the Psalms.

4. One book that made you laugh:
Several of the Jeeves books by P.G. Wodehouse (I know the question says "one book," but I don't have a favorite). They are especially great in their Recorded Books versions - guaranteed to make long driving trips pleasurable. Wodehouse is a brillaint storyteller with a gift for farce and characterization.

5. One book that made you cry:
Though I can't honestly say the book made me cry (I guess I was raised in a more masculine era...), I found The Long Surrender by Burke Davis to be incredibly moving. This is a well-written narrative of the last days of the Confederate States government, as well as the case of President Jefferson Davis' two years as a POW after the war in which he was imprisoned without charges, and never tried. His personal physician, a Union veteran, was so appalled by the systematic torture of Davis, that he wrote a book exposing what the U.S. government was doing. A shocked public demanded Davis' release - including the abolitionist Horace Greely, who signed Davis' bond at his parole. Though he insisted on his day in court, he was never tried for treason (as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court feared Davis would be exonerated by an impartial court, and the Confederate cause of secession would have been constitutionally vindicated!). Davis' wife, children (including an adopted black child who was taken away by federal authorities and never heard from again), and even former slaves suffered along with President Davis. In the end, the President's funeral dwarfed even Lincoln's. President Jefferson Finis Davis is one of my greatest heroes - in no small measure because of this book.

6. One book that you wish had been written:
I can't say. I'm working on it. ;-)

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown. This nouveau-riche pulp author and pseudo-historian calls our mother a whore and then is shocked that Christians aren't thanking him for the favor. He asserts his ridiculous tale as fact, while cloaking it in fiction - all the while people around the world who are ignorant of history (ecclesiatical and secular) are lapping it up.

8. One book you're currently reading:
I just started a new book called Overthrow: America's Century of Regine Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Steven Kinzer. It's a history of American foreign policy since the 1890s to the present. This isn't a topic that is well covered in school, and even less so among the political talking heads on TV - whether left-wing or right-wing.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
St, Augustine's City of God. I believe it is germaine to the times in which we live.

10. Now tag eight people.
Oh, boy. Everyone I know who has a blog has already been "tagged." So, I'm going to list some names, and invite them to post their lists right here as comments on this post.

Mrs. Grace Beane
Mr. Michael Green
Mr. Lee Honeycutt
Mrs. Syler Womack
Rev. Dr. John Stephenson
Mr. Aaron Wolf
Rev. Dr. Peter J. Scaer
Mr. Martin Fonda

Any other readers are invited to volunteer as well!


Mike Green said...

1. One Book that changed your life: So, You Want to Be Like Jesus? Eight Essentials to Get You There, by Chuck Swindoll. Just kidding. The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, by CFW Walther. This was a definite eye-opener for me. I had already been a Lutheran for a while before this was recommended to me (and so I was already familiar with our Law/Gospel paradigm, but after reading it, I reached a whole, new level of “Lutheran-ness.” Reading this book has affected the way I understand everything else I read, hear, believe and confess. And it lets me laugh at garbage like So, You Want to Be Like Jesus
2. One book you've read more than once: The Book of Concord. It amazes me that I so readily swore to uphold and adhere to the Lutheran Confessions with the help of God, and yet I don’t know them by heart. I pray that will change.
3. One book you'd want on a desert island: Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. No. The Gospel According to John. No. Ephesians. No. Galatians. Grrr, that’s a tough one. I guess I’d have to say Romans.
4. One book that made you laugh: So, You Want to Be Like Jesus? Eight Essentials to Get You There, by Chuck Swindoll. I never read it, but C’MON, LOOK AT THE TITLE! I wonder if Step One is “Be Born of a Virgin” or if Step Seven is “Suffer a Bitter and Agonizing Death for the Sins of Humanity.”
5. One book that made you cry: The Flames of Rome, by the LCMS’s very own Dr. Paul Maier. After reading several other books by Dr. Maier, I fear he’s in the “It’s OK to Pray [with Moslims, Jews, Wiccans, etc]” camp, but he still renders a very moving picture of the Church’s earliest martyrs.
6. One book that you wish had been written: Why We Became Lutheran, co-authored by CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien.
7. One book that you wish had never been written: The Book of Concord. More correctly, I wish it hadn’t been necessary. I mean, if the Papists had only listened to reason (or to Faith, aided by reason, as it were).
8. One book you're currently reading: A Comprehensive Explanation of Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, by Johann Gerhardt. Gerhardt is wonderful, but this particular book has not been especially enlightening. I say that not to boast of my own wisdom, but in the Lord, who surrounded me with five wonderful shepherds (Pastors Lofthus, Drew, Anderson, Beane and Brda) that crammed my head and heart full of appreciation and knowledge of the Sacraments.
9. One book you've been meaning to read: The Spirit of the Liturgy, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (aka, Pope Benedict XVI). It’s in the queue. And I’d also like to read the first draft of Fr. Hollywood’s opus in progress. ;)
10. Now tag eight people
Mrs. Amy Green
Pr. Robert Kraft
Mr. Wade Stoner
Ms. Judy Enos
Mr. Mark Ishii
Mr. Gary Olsen
Mr. Joel Petersen
Jesus of Nazareth (What Would Jesus Read?) ;-p

Aaron D. Wolf said...

1. Book that changed my life: I suppose that, in some way, every one does, in one way or another, but I'd have to list the Second Martin's Examination of the Council of Trent here. This book explains why I'm where I am today and not somewhere else.

2. More than once: I'll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition (Twelve Southerners), particularly Andrew Lytle's chapter "The Hind Tit." The second half of this essay is like a history of my own family.

3. David Daniell's edition of Tyndale's New Testament. Schaff's three-volume Creeds of Christendom is a close second, because it covers the bases. With all that free time, one could memorize . . .

4. The Best Christian Writing of 2005 made me laugh, but not in a good way.

5. Ole Rölvaag's Their Fathers' God brings tears, because, in the tormented marriage of the Norwegian/Lutheran/democratist Peder and the Irish Catholic Suzie, you can see what is fundamentally wrong with the whole idea of America. Tears of joy come from C.S. Lewis's The Last Battle for several reasons, including all of the sweet memories of finishing the series with my children.

6. Retractions by Hilaire Belloc. Or Great Lutheran Novelists of the 20th Century: An Anthology. Alas, both are impossible.

7. Either Boethius' Consolation of Philosphy or Clarence Larkin's Dispensational Truth. (Both titles are non sequiturs.)

8. I'm currently reading Flannery O'Connor's The Violent Bear It Away. Just finished "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." Brilliant.

9. Next is Allen Tate: A Recollection, by Walter Sullivan. A bug has been put in my ear.

10. [Names excluded to protect the innocent]

Pastor H.R. Curtis said...

RE: End of Confederacy books.

Fr. Hollywood,

Did you mean The Long Surrender by _Burke Davis_ or An Honorable Defeat by _William C._ Davis? I picked them both up from the library - but I was just wondering which one you referenced.

I'm a Cornhusker (capital: Lincoln, just west of Seward county; I've a good friend from Grant and I'm from McCook - bigger town, but just named after a Colonel.) and a fan of Civil War history and I've had a rather conventional understanding of it all: McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom was the first larger treatment of the War that I ever read.

However, I just finished Goodwin's Team of Rivals. It's meant to be a hagiographic story of Lincoln's cabinet. And I was moved by the deep friendship and manly love of this group of fellows (another blog entry on how a sodomy-loving society has made expressions of male friendship ever more extinct today would be warranted. . .). But Goodwin also inadvertantly opens wide the shutters on some of the not-so-great things about the first Republican President and Congress: the income tax, a curtailing of civil rights (even while, of course, expanding them for the enslaved population), the beginning of the welfare state, etc. As with most things, I'm coming to believe it's a more complicated story than either Honest Abe Freed the Slaves or A Peaceful South Just Wanted a Peaceful Release.

At any rate, I'd appreciate more book recommendations along these lines. Have you read The Real Lincoln by Dilorenzo? Is that any good?


Father Hollywood said...

Dear Pr. Curtis:

Thanks for the correction, "Burke" Davis is the author of The Long Surrender.

And yes, DiLorenzo's work on Lincoln is a must-read!

You might be interested in a book called "Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men" by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel. It gets into the ramifications of the Union victory. Hummel is no partisan of the South (in some ways, he is rather anti-Southern), but he gives an honest evaluation about the results and consequences of the war.

There are many other titles that I may also recommend in the future on this topic.

Favorite Apron said...

Book that changed my life: "What's Going On Among the Lutherans."

Book I"ve read more than once: "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon. A mass market time travel fiction novel. Sorta trashy, but a series I get lost in.

Book that made me laugh: "Lake Wobegon Days." Garrison and I don't see eye to eye politically, but I think he's very funny.

Book that made me cry - "Hannah Coulter" by Wendell Berry -- The story of the long marriage of a farm couple. Also -- "Boat of Longing" by Rolvaag --- the story of a Norwegian immigrant boy. I cry easily.

Book I"m currently reading - "Giants in the Earth" by Rolvaag - another Norwegian immigrant story. Recently finished "Father Elijah."

Book I've been meaning to read - ditto to "City of God." Have heard so many recommendations. Have already read "Confessions."

Martin Fonda said...

It is not every day one is challenged, and so I shall take this seriously and see what I can come up with.
But how shall I choose among all the thousands of books that I have read, then given away or sold.
When still at an impressionable age I devoured (as did so many in Europe at the time) Karl May's Mannitou novels about an imaginary America that he had never seen. A former East German, his books were proscibed under Communism, and reading them was punished. But today they are all the rage again.
It has been said that, if there had not been an American West, it would have been necessary for Europe to invent one. Boeks about the Boer War heroes were next (the Boer ones, of course). Ilf & Petrov's 'The 12 Chairs' made me laugh a lot; it can still do that now. It as an hilarious tale about bureaucracy and functionairies. They are the same everywhere and at all times.
Joseph Heller's 'God Knows' makes me laugh, although it is not funny. It is an extremely sad memoir by King David as he lay dying, and kept warm by Abishag the Syunammite (1 Kings 1). His wife, Bath-Sheba, was
too busy getting her son Solomon to be the next king. Do read it.
Taylor Caldwell's books make me sad. GBS is very funny. When my father saw me read Spinoza, he said that I could read him, but not to believe anything he says. Interesting. A book that, perhaps, should have been written, is a joint commentary by King David and Jesus about Psalm 133:
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it as for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that sescendethupon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for ever more." 'The Brothers Karamazov' is not funny, nor isTolstoy's 'The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You'. Preachers like to quote him, but would fain have him in their congregation. EJH Corner's 'The Life of Plants' should be required reading in schools. I alsogained much from Thomas B Costain's English Histories, as well as 'The Rise of the Dutch Republic', which occasionally I browse through again. For a desert island, what else but Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall' (and Flight Similator).
I am reading now for the second time CV (Cicily Veronica) Wedgwood's 'The 30 Years War', when Catholics and Protestants had not yet learned to live in brotherly harmony. She is apparently not favoured by other historiographers, because unlike them, she thinks that historic events are not so much influenced by the great and mighty, as by the stupid and insensitive. Also, she is a woman and sees things accordingly. A friend has promised to loan me a copy of Lewis's 'Mere Christianity'; I am looking foreward to it. Martin Fonda