Reading Update: Spring 2020

Spring is nearly at an end.  It is the custom of the kingdom, at this time, for me to share a reading update through a collection of quotes.  Enjoy browsing my bookshelf!


‘But, I wondered, could I write an honest testimony? Could I, in the Apostle Paul’s words and tradition, write and deliver a testimony that reveals repentance as a fruit of the Christian life? In English studies we have a mantra: A culture is comprised of its stories. “We are the stories we tell,” I’ve said to my students year after year. I was critical of the stories I heard from my churchy friends and my evangelical culture. But could I be more than just critical of the stories that encompassed me? Could I start a new conversation? What would happen if I just told the truth? Was anybody else out there ambivalent about conversion? Did anyone else see it as bittersweet? Did anyone else get lost in fear when counting the cost of discipleship? Did anyone else feel like giving up? Did anyone else tire of taking up the Cross daily? Did anyone else grieve for death to one life that anticipates the experience of being “born again”? Did anyone else want to take just one day off from the command that we die to ourselves?’

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield


Sticky looked nervously at Reynie, who said, “What do you mean? What would you like to know?” Sophie regarded him with anxious eyes. “Why is there all this interest in these papers?” “All this interest?” Sophie studied him. “Could it be a coincidence?” She shook her head. “And yet you seem like nice children.” “We are nice,” Kate insisted. “We don’t know what you’re talking about. What’s the big deal about the papers?” “People are being hurt,” Sophie said gravely, “because of these papers you wish to see.”

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, Trenton Lee Stewart


Nearly all that Bonhoeffer would say and write later in life marked a deepening and expansion of what he had earlier said and believed, but never any kind of significant theological change. He was building on what had been established, like a scientist of mathematician. However high and far one built from the foundation, one could never disown or float free of that foundation. In fact, the higher one went, the more one confirmed the solidity and integrity of the foundation and the previous stories. Bonhoeffer did go high and far, and those who focus overmuch on these latter heights may be somewhat excused for failing to know that somewhere below the clouds, there was an orthodox theological foundation to which they were solidly connected.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas


“Eudokia, listen to me. Listen to me, I’m begging you. There is no more the Fish can do for us. I am Emperor. You are Patriarch. There is nothing higher than this, nothing except God.” “Then I want to be like God.”

The Prince of Fishes, Suzannah Rowntree


The Corps had only ever been a means to an end.  The end itself remained: a time machine at Far’s back, centuries for the seizing, the Ab Aeterno waiting to be found sometime among them.  As tempting as it was to go full-on Pavlovian– drool on the warehouse floor, et cetera– Far knew dreams weren’t handed over without a price.  “So making wine runs as your bootlegger errand boy is a life of free-range fun by comparison?”  “I have more than enough couriers.”  The man nodded at the other three TMs.  “What I need is a thief.  History is brimming with lost treasures.  The Fabergé eggs.  Art sacked and burned by the Nazis.  Blackbeard’s hoard of gold.  Things that will never be missed or noticed by the Corps.  Things your going to help me obtain.”

Invictus, Ryan Graudin


I had put it off all that morning in that way humanity has when it wants and fears something at the same time. I picked up the first paper of yesterday’s work to find it clean. The other papers were just as pristine, and I sighed with what I thought was relief. Really, there was a shade of disappointment that colored the noise, but I didn’t recognize it, not then. I didn’t leave home that day, but wrote for hours. I intended to do the same the next day, but when I came downstairs the next morning and saw that my red pen was no longer in the pencil holder but sitting on top of my manuscript pages, I almost hit the floor. The ghost had murdered my story again.

For Elise, Hayden Wand


At hazard of wearying the youth this tale of vehement emotions must be prefaced by a discourse on geometry.  Nature moves in circles; Art in straight lines.  The natural is rounded; the artificial is made up of angles.  A man lost in the snow wanders, in spite of himself, in perfect circles; the city man’s feet, denaturalized by rectangular streets and floors, carry him ever away from himself

Squaring the Circle, O. Henry


“I’ll tell you a secret, Bredon.  Grown-up people don’t always know everything, though they try to pretend they do.  That is called ‘prestige,’ and it is responsible for most of the wars that devastate the continent of Europe.”  “I think,” said Bredon, who was accustomed to his father’s meaningless outbursts of speech, “she’s silly.”  “So do I; but don’t say I said so.”  “And rude.”  “And rude.  I, on the other hand, am silly, but seldom rude.  Your mother is niether rude nor silly.”  “Which am I?”  “You are the most egotistical extravert of the most irrepressible type.  Why do you wear boots when you go mud-larking?  It’s much less trouble to clean your feet than your boots.”

Talboys, Dorothy L. Sayers


Kilter woke not to the sound of bells, but footsteps. He lifted his head from the notebook he’d fallen asleep over during the night, and knew at once that something was wrong. Here in his workroom above the bell chamber, dim light slid in thin yellow bands through cracks in the slanted roof, and his breath appeared as a pale cloud in the nearest.

The Phoenix Thief, Stacia Joy


What is particularly noteworthy about this essential role played by the second century is the degree to which it has been overlooked by much of modern scholarship. As noted in the introduction, the second century does not have the foundational significance of the first century or the flare of the third and fourth centuries with their more full-orbed Trinitarian discussions and ecclesiastical politics. So, the second century has been all too easily missed. It is, as Larry Hurtado has observed, the ‘Cinderella Century’.

Christianity at the Crossroads, Michael J. Kruger

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