First of all, I hope everyone had a blessed and merry Christmas. I was fortunate to be able to spend the Christmas weekend with my family in a cabin on Mt. Hood here in Oregon. As I descended the mountain this morning I was struck by the startling realization that I begin my M.Div program next Monday. With course work only a week away, now would be the right time to purchase some books! This is where I need your help.
I am taking a course about maximizing the Church’s redemptive influence. This class allows the student to select a book to read from an extensive list provided. I thought I would list a few of these to get some help about selecting one or two. Here are some that caught my interest:
- Niebuhr, H. Richard. Christ and Culture
- Guiness, Os. The Case For Civility
- Webber, Robert. Ancient-Future Faith
- Budziszewski, J. Evangelicals in the Public Square
- Carson, D.A. Christ & Culture Revisited
Any input that I can get would be appreciated. I am sure my book selection will affect everyone reading this blog in some way, since I will be blogging about what I am learning. Am I foreseeing a trip to Powell’s Books today?
Niebuhr’s is a classic. I wouldn’t read Carson’s unless you read Niebuhr’s because I think Carson’s builds on Niebuhr’s. Guiness and/or Budziszewski may be interesting, but I have not read much of either of those two. I think Webber’s book is old news.
I think I am leaning towards Niebuhr’s book. I may try and squeeze Carson in if I have the time. Thanks Brian!
definitely Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture. its a critical book to read.
Carson does build on Neibuhr, offering a critique here and there as well. I would echo both Brians… Niebuhr is a classic!
I have no problems with Guiness, but I am just not a fan. Niebuhr is an established name as well as Carson. I also know of Budziszewski. Unfortunately, I haven’t read any of these books but they sound good.
Niebuhr would be an interesting read, but primarily because everyone refers to him. If you’re going to read Niebuhr, I’d suggest also digging around a little and reading some of the strong critiques that have been written regarding Christ and Culture. Carson’s is a fine choice, though I was somewhat underwhelmed. Honestly, I’d read Hunter’s To Change the World before any of them. Is that an option? White’s Christ among the Dragons or Hawerwas and Willimon’s Resident Aliens would also be good.
Marc, thanks for the suggestions others of us can consider too! 🙂
If your only choices are those that you’ve listed, I think I would go with Niebuhr. An interesting book on “culture,” written by a former prof of mine (as his dissertation under Gunton) is his The Word of Christ and the World of Culture: Sacred and the Secular through the Theology of Karl Barth by Paul Metzger. We “had” to work through it as our text in his class “Church and Culture” back in 02. So if you can go outside of your reading list above, this might be another interesting one for you to pursue.
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I think I’m going to give Niebuhr a whirl, and then read something else as well.
@Marc: Hunter’s book is not listed on the syllabus, but I may be able to pick my own book as well.
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