As you might have guessed, I was enthralled by the book sellers at convention in Pittsburgh last week. I came home with three new books to read…

At the Menno Media exhibit, I purchased A Christian View of Hospitality by Michele Hershberger. As I think about the future and possible changes in direction or vocation, I’m attracted by hospitality. Broadly speaking, I see hospitality as opening up spaces in which we can encounter God. Michele writes:

In our North American society at the turn of the century, where busyness is the curse of the hour, materialism threatens to destroy our families, and homes are sanctuaries instead of centers of community, there is great need to redefine and to revisit the notion of hospitality. What is biblical hospitality, and what does it mean to take up God’s call to be hospitable in our present age? These are the questions that we must face before our lives burn up in our frantic pace.

And so, I purchased this book as something of an investment in my future. I’m especially excited to read it after sitting in on a tremendous seminar on Bible study that Michele did at convention.

I purchased two books at the Wipf  and Stock booth. I had no idea that they’d be at Pittsburgh. (As far as I know, they aren’t a “Mennonite” company, although they publish a number of things of interest to Mennos.) But after purchasing and reading (almost done!) Unclean by Richard Beck, I was glad to browse some other titles.

Working with Words by Stanley Hauerwas is a collection of essays and sermons that reflect on…

…what it means for theology to be work and, in particular, work with words…

It is my hope that these essays and sermons exhibit the training necessary to say “God”.

I’ve been wanting to read some of Hauerwas’ work for a while now, and this is the first of his books that I’ve picked up. I think that I’ll enjoy this work, given my amateur interest in theology. I hope that the “training necessary to say ‘God'” is not too advanced. After all, the training should be accessible to fishermen, tax agents, and those whose wont is to sit under fig trees.

The final book I purchased is Presence by J. Alexander Sider and Isaac S. Villegas. While I was considering the Hauerwas book, I asked those at the booth if they could tell me a bit more about it. I didn’t immediately realize that the person who describing the book was Isaac Villegas. I had just heard him speak in the adult worship session, and he had his own book for sale at the booth. Once I figured that out, I asked him to tell me about his book, too. I’m hoping that I might find this book to fit in somewhere between the other two…

As a Mennonite congregation, our worship is a display of what it means to be a priesthood of all believers. To be a church of priests means that you mediate God’s life to me. The Holy Spirit offers a fresh word for you through each of the people gathered for worship…

…the Word of God is not God’s Word until it has been received as both ‘good’ and ‘news’…

Whereas I expect Hospitality to give insight into how we share God with each other in basic, tangible ways, my hope is that Presence will inform on how we share God in our conversations about God.

We’ll see. My current reading list should get me well into next year.

Advertisements