Top 3: Seminary Reads So Far

I'll spare you the details of my Christian history textbooks and Old Testament historical criticism (for now) and share with you a few spiritual works I've been reading in my first semester of seminary. Each of these reads have challenged and inspired me on journey lately. 


An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor. This collection of essays and reflections lifts my heart every time I turn a page. She writes with such honesty about how to incorporate spiritual practice into every day life that reading her words feels like sitting down with a mentor. 

"What is saving my life now is becoming more fully human, trusting that there is no way to God apart from real life in the real world."

Anything and everything by Howard Thurman. This spiritual mentor to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. challenges me to see beyond simple definitions in this world. His essay "The Sound of the Genuine" encourages you to find your true voice among distractions in this world.

“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.” 

"Revelation" by Flannery O'Connor. A short story centered on a disturbing character forced me, the reader, to confront my own prejudices in a new way. Creative and unsettling, O'Connor's writing has secured a place on my bookshelf. While it's near impossible to pull a quote from this story  out of context, here's a glimpse....

"Mrs. Turpin's head cleared and her power of motion returned. She leaned forward until she was looking directly into the fierce brilliant eyes. There was no doubt in her mind that the girl did know her, know her in some intense and personal way, beyond time and place and condition. "What you got to say to me?" she asked hoarsely and held her breath, waiting, as for a revelation."


Top 3: Recent Reads

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Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist 

This "love letter to life around the table" is a compilation of thoughtful reflections and delicious recipes. My weekly women's Bible study is currently reading this, and cooking through the recipes together, which I think is how this book is best digested - around the table. 


The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

This classic novella explores the themes of dedication and courage. A deeper appreciation comes when reading this outside the eleventh grade classroom. 



The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

A story of a family so unique, you find it hard to believe this is a memoir. Soon to be made into a movie, the book is worth reading first for the beautiful first person narration, moving from childhood to adult with a widening perspective along the way. 


Further Exploration: 

If you live in the San Diego area, both Shuana Niequist and Jeannette Walls will be speaking at Point Loma Nazarene University during the Writer's Symposium by the Sea in February. For schedule and tickets click here. Hemingway won't be able to make it. 

What have you read lately?