Random Readings 23-03-2007

Well, this past week I haven’t been feeling quite up to par (or should it be down to par?). As a result, I’ve been a little delinquent in my reading. Irregardless I’ve finished A New Kind of Youth Ministry and am quickly making my way through Just War Against Terror. Below are my thoughts on the two books, and my future reading plans.

A New Kind of Youth Ministry: I think Chris Folmsbee does an excellent job in this book of giving a basic overview of what it means to create a missional youth ministry. He seasons his thoughts and recommendations with generous helpings of his own life stories. I often found myself relating to the story he was telling from his past, or alternatively cringing at his mistakes (sometimes both!). Either way, it kept me engaged. There are a few times, particularly in his section on education, that I think he limits himself to an either/or paradigm when he would be better served by a both/and. All-in-all I would recommend this book to anyone who is in youth ministry, or plans to be in youth ministry, and is interested in doing things differently. If you aren’t at all interested in the missional or emerging conversations, the book will be less useful to you. Regardless, it certainly won’t answer all your questions. But it will provide a solid starting point for further exploration. I’d also say, tentatively, that its a good book to have your youth ministry staff read through and discuss.

Just War Against Terror: I have to begin by saying I’m not finished with the book yet. So far the author has done an excellent job of communicating the history of the Just War tradition and explaining her points. I think I would find the book more interesting if it were a bit more objective. Having been written within the first two years after 9/11 it is somewhat of a defense for America using force to stop terrorists. The author appeals, like all (most?) just war advocates, to an Augustinian view of war and justice. I have certainly been given plenty to process as I’ve read through the book. I am still unsure of how to handle Christians fighting Christians though (as is/would be the case in a war between western powers). In my mind those Christians would be placing loyalty to a country above loyalty to the Kingdom of God. I find myself, even after reading as much of this book as I have, teetering on the edge of Christian pacifism. Yet I hesitate because God certainly wages war and has used war (just or unjust, it appears to be of little consequence). With this in mind my tentative conclusion is that I will probably personally be a pacifist, but not have a problem with others who follow Jesus serving in the military. Jean Bethke Elshtain’s book has helped me see where many people come from and the arguments are certainly logical. I just don’t know if I can completely agree.

Coming Up:

  • Old Testament Wisdom: An Introduction by James Crenshaw. I’m looking forward to reading this since I, generally speaking, enjoy anything written on the wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible. I’ve not read anything by Crenshaw before, so it’s also a chance for me to read a new author.
  • Emerging Worship by Dan Kimball, et al. Mandy actually bought this book some time ago. I can’t remember if she finished it or not, but it sounds interesting enough. I dearly hope that the book deals with worship as more than solely music.

As you may have noticed, I’m hoping to finish about two books every week(ish?). I’d like to try to keep it as one book on the Bible or Theology (preferably Historical or Biblical) and one book on church ministry (or some other topic that interests me from time to time). Although my Amazon.com wish list is at thirty some odd books right now, I’d love suggestions if anyone has them.

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