Blog Post by
Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
The other day while driving to the office, as I turned onto Olive off of 270, I felt the crash of my tire hitting a pot hole. It happened so fast. First the front tire and then the back. I fumed at the thought of a bent tire rim or my wheels getting out of alignment. Fortunately, neither of those happened. I only lost the cap off my front rim.
As we go through the year, we hit lots of pot holes in our lives. The cumulative spiritual damage is expressed in our lack of patience with one another and dimming hope for a positive outcome in our lives and our church. Lent is the time of realignment. Through 40 days of prayer and spiritual disciplines, we are able to commune with God and reset our faith walk again.
Each Lent I read a book a week as part of my discipline. My topics are a mix of scripture, leadership, creativity, and race in America. Each year I approach my reading with excitement and anticipation. I wonder what I will learn, how I will apply it, and most of all, “What is God saying to me at this point in my life journey?”
I am sharing my titles in case you want to read along with me. I find my books throughout the year from websites, footnotes of other readings, various book lists, and recommendations from friends.
As we journey through Lent this year, may we be driven into the mission God has for us in the coming Christian year.
Figuring– Maria Popova. Maria writes the blog, Brain Pickings. She describes her book this way: “It explores the complexities, varieties, and contradictions of love, and the human search for truth, meaning, and transcendence, through the interwoven lives of several historical figures across four centuries.”
Faith and Struggle in the Lives of Four African Americans– Randall Maurice Jelks. Randall is a brilliant African American Presbyterian who teaches history at Kansas University. “This book offers a fascinating look into the religious lives of four individuals, and Jelks also weaves his own religious narrative in and out of the stories he tells.”
Quietly Courageous: Leading the Church in a Changing World– Gil Rendle. I’ve walked with Gil through the writing of this book. We meet twice a year with three other mid-council leaders. “Gil Rendle offers practical guidance to leaders—both lay and ordained—on leading churches today.”
Leaders: Myth and Reality– Stanley McChrystal. I was inspired by General McChrystal’s previous book, Team of Teams. In this book he “profiles thirteen of history’s great leaders, including Walt Disney, Coco Chanel, and Robert E. Lee, to show that leadership is not what you think it is—and never was.”
Word that Redescribes the World: The Bible and Discipleship– Walter Brueggemann. My spiritual director recommended this book for me, so I’m reading it!
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America– Richard Rothstein. This book is a deep analysis of how the federal government, through redlining, created the housing segregation we are still living with today.
Rev. Craig Howard