Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Books for a Liminal Time

Reading Week may have ended, but the reading hasn’t. Don’t think I’m complaining, though. For one thing, few things are more attractive during a windpocalypse like the one currently blowing through Chicago than a cup of coffee and a book. For another, this week’s lineup is a particularly good one.

On the agenda: Accompany Them With Singing: The Christian Funeral by Tom Long, Power in the Blood? The Cross in the African American Experience by JoAnne Terrell, Breathing Space: A Spiritual Journey in the South Bronx by Heidi Neumark, and This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers by Lillian Daniel and Martin Copenhaver.

At the moment, I’m particularly enjoying the opening chapters of Daniel and Copenhaver’s vocational memoir. I looked forward to it, having already judged the book by its pitch-perfect cover, but I had not expected to be quite so moved by the depth of reflection within. It’s a treasure to read.

And in some ways, it’s exactly the right sort of book for this senior year of seminary, nine months of classes oddly stuck between internship and first call. It’s a strange time. Most of the time it feels like having one foot in seminary and one foot out – except that the one foot out is dangling because it doesn’t quite have a place to land yet.

Thanks be to God, then, for books like This Odd and Wondrous Calling, and for classmates and colleagues to discuss it with. Liminality has its blessings, after all.

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