Worth writing home about

January 2, 2006

LET’S REFLECT FOR A MOMENT, BEFORE WE RUSH INTO OUR NEW YEAR SCHEDULES, ON BOOKS. The Christmas-New Year break offers cosy warm evenings in front of the fire curled up with an exciting page-turner, at least in the northern hemisphere; or long sunny days stretched out on a beach-towel somewhere south of the equator, devouring recent hot titles.

So what are we reading? As we have suggested before, write and let me know this week what titles you would recommend for others. Next week’s WW could be written by you.

Four books I’ve been reading this break include:
· The Challenge of Jesus, by N.T.Wright, Bishop of Durham, a refreshingly original evangelical Anglican historian re-examining the person and character of Jesus in the context of the first century Jewish world. Not light reading but greatly challenges our own cultural presuppositions about Jesus. He makes very clear application of the easter story to the message of hope we are to live and share in a post-modern world.
· The Jubilee Manifesto, ed. Michael Schluter. This was recommended reading for those attending the Winter School of the Jubilee centre in Cambridge this coming week. A group of YWAM leaders, including Lynn Green and myself, are participating to reflect on how Relationism, a Biblical framework for social reform, can provide an agenda for the task of discipling nations. To be honest, however, I got sidetracked by the following:
· Bono – conversations with Michka Assayas. Now here’s one out of the box! Highly challenging as Bono chats about his career, his passion for Africa and his faith, which bubbles up at unlikely moments. I’m impressed by his platform for social change and evangelism, his lucid thinking on a range of issues, and unashamed talk of prayer, saying grace, and trusting Jesus for forgiveness. I’m intrigued by his respectful talk of public figures from Bush to Blair, Billy Graham to John Paul II, and Elvis to Frank Sinatra. But I’m puzzled by his coarse language.
· Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas. I have enjoyed preparing spiritually for this season with my Bruderhof anthology of daily meditations by a very broad range of Christian writers throughout the ages, from Aquinas to Yancey. Worth ordering for next year.

I’ve been reflecting on the role of books in my life. They are a main source of spiritual and intellectual nourishment: biographies, devotionals, travelogues, histories, cultural analyses‚Ķ Yet a visiting speaker once told us at Heidebeek, “Get rid of all your books! You don’t need books! You only need the Bible!” He was an otherwise outstanding teacher. Some of his messages should have been transcribed and published as books! He has now passed away. Others could still be feeding on his teachings if only they were in print.

Think how much the books of Tolkien and Lewis continue to impact the current generation – albeit through film, which in turn introduces millions to the books. Loren Cunningham remarked to me once that he influences far more people through his books than through his speaking.

So let me close with a personal encouragement. Perhaps you have a book that needs to get written. I know of no better way to get started than to attend a writers’ workshop with Loren’s sister and co-writer, Jannie Rogers. She will be in Europe with workshops in Holland (24-27 Jan), The Ukraine (30 Jan -2 Feb), Switzerland (7-10 Feb) and Norway (13-17 Feb). Jannie has helped many get started with their writing and publishing. Interested? See www.ywameurope.org/news/news.asp?id=37 for details.

It will be worth writing home about.

Till next week,

Jeff Fountain

Till next week,

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