What am I reading and studying? [2012]

I want to record what I am reading and studying weekly or monthly, but since this is a start I’ll probably cover whatever seems recent to me this time. I’m not sure how I define “recent” precisely as a period of time. I’m talking more about my own mindshare, I suppose. It probably matters what day or hour I write, even.

The most prominent reading these days is a re-reading of Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. I’m about 75% of the way through a listen from audible.com. The reading is by Nadia May and she is quite good as Oruel. The book itself is a novel, retelling the story of Cupid and Psyche in a way that displays the themes of Lewis’ essay on the Four Loves. It has the feel of being very intentional in its construction, though I don’t know if this is so much a sign of planning as hard-won wisdom ingrained in the author’s personality and mind. It works well as an audio book. I greatly love Lewis’ writing and this novel is no exception. I think I’ve read it in print a couple of times, at least – but decades past now!

I’m slowly working through Eugene Peterson’s memoir The Pastor, in print. It’s not a book to be hurried through, a trait in common with much of Peterson’s writing. I am appreciating this book more than my average for Peterson. Being a very focused person, I tend to read things all at once, consuming and being consumed by them. That’s not really a style that fits Peterson. This book is no exception. It’s a good discipline to read it over time. And the content is priceless for one called to pastoral ministry.

I am working through the audio of a class taught by Gordon Fee at Regent College on Second Corinthians. It’s about 24 hours of audio that winds itself through the Greek text of what Fee believes are two letters making up our one book of Second Corinthians. After studying Fee’s commentary on First Corinthians in the New International Commentary series in print, this is an intense pass through an even more difficult book of the Bible. Upon beginning this course, I realized I was not prepared to start that Second Corinthians preaching series I had planned to start in late January. [Note: This was written in 2012; I’ve since done this series.] As with all the classes I’ve “audio audited” at Regent College, this one is excellent. I wish I knew more Greek at times, but I’m able to get by. Or maybe I don’t know what I’m missing?

I recently listened to Rikk Watts short series called “It’s About Life: A Biblical Journey.” The first lectures were fantastic; the remainder quite good. I think I shall plan to transcribe them as another step in working through the concepts. Time, time?

In that vein, a set of lectures given by Iain Provan recently in Australia are another gold mine. I intend to transcribe at least some of them, too. Here’s what I said about them on google+: I want to highly recommend a set of lectures by Iain Provan that are free online. Look for all the audio by Iain Provan at gospelconversations.com, but particularly the second one, “Who is God?”. I suggest listening in order but the second one was just excellent. Thanks to Lou Huesmann for the recommendation to listen to these lectures!

Lastly, I continue listening to the podcasts The History of Rome and Planet Money. Mars Hill Audio Journal is another audio pleasure. I finished Norman Centuries over a couple of trips to the gym after 12 Byzantine Rulers, both by Lars Brownworth. A couple of recent episodes of This American Life, 455 and 456 also captured my attention.

You may wonder how I manage to get this much audio fitted into life. I found working out to be about the most extraordinarily boring activity on the planet. And yet, it is needed. Playing basketball is logistically more difficult (other players needed) and I am old enough to be more injury-prone. My knees are bad and I take longer to recover now! So, I hit upon the idea of combining exercise with audio and sometimes video learning opportunities. Suddenly a boring activity combined with a somewhat guilty pleasure became one of my thrice-weekly highlights! I walk to the gym, do an hour on the elliptical, move a bit of iron around, and then walk home and shower – a couple of hours total, three times per week. I also listen when I drive and when I shave and when I prepare food and eat alone… times like that. My Galaxy S II phone does many more hours as an audio player, kindle, and web browser than as a phone. So there you go.

Periodicals I read pretty thoroughly include Books & Culture, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, First Things (except I’ve started skimming past some of the really Roman Catholic stuff), The Atlantic, and Mission Frontiers.

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