Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer 2012 - in Review

At the end of summer, I haven’t had time to note my reading!


These short snippets will have to do – as I move on to too many other great projects.
The Inductive Bible Study – by David R. Bauer and Robert A Traina is an excellent, and most thorough resource for thinking about the task of doing precisely as the title says, Inductive Study of the Bible.  It lays out a proper methodology/philosophy – and gives practical aid in how to do the work itself.  The book could easily “stand alone” as a textbook in a class designed to work learners through Inductive Study and active engagement of the Bible.  I’ve picked this up for my personal library and will come back to it for supplemental teaching ideas in a class I teach on Methods in Biblical Study.

Perhaps the best read of my Summer, Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in World that Can’t Stop Talking.  I audio-read the book two times on one road trip – then came back to a few chapters.  I will be picking up a paper copy of the book to glean a few specific quotes and highlights for future use.  I didn’t like that fact that the book on introverts, spends too long and too much time in the opening chapters talking about extroverts – but alas, she set the stage – just took too long.  The power of this book in my own life is important.  I have, no doubt, misinterpreted introverts for years.  Pastors should read this book to understand people in their congregations.  Leaders should read this book to understand how to lead (and get out of the way) of certain people.  Teachers should discern it’s insight and parents should glean from it for those in their charge.  In short, if you work with large groups of people, there will be introverts and this book will give insight into how to better work with them, “for” them, and get them to be productive in families, teams, churches – based on their unique abilities and contributions.  A must read, I would say.

Transfiguration by John Dear provided solid reflections on how to think about “transforming ourselves and our world” -  a portion of the subtitle.  I was happy to get more acquainted (via reading!)  with the author, a committed peace activist whose work with the Fellowship of Reconciliation has been active for years.  Since I read their blog posts and updates, it was nice to read this single work by John Dear.  The work gave insight into his journey, told stories of others in the journey of transformation to peacemaking, and incorporated discernment about how to “come down from the mountaintop” to get involved with the business of working for peace and justice among the people.  A meditative study.

I appreciated John Wenham’s Easter Enigma:  Are the Resurrection accounts in conflict.  A straight forward presentation, reviewing (as it notes) conflicts in the stories as recorded in the Gospels, attempting to make sense of them in light of the geography, topography, practices, customs, and characters invested in the story as the story is told.  Differences in stories, he attributes to independent reporting from multiple witnesses, but still accurate in their detail. 

The Snowball:  Warren Buffett and the Business Life.  An interesting audio read from my summer.  I learned much from it – but not sure that it was “worth it” in any major sense.  After finishing the book on a road trip, I came back to review some facts on other websites, etc.  In truth, every core story line found in this book, can be found on the Wikipedia page for Warren Buffett!  No joke!  Of course the book has tons more detail.  I’m not sure the book was worth it, though.  Explores his life.  Doesn’t offer advice, other than to think, be diligent, frugal, and thoughtful.  In other news, he’s clearly an introvert, see Quiet above!

Even with several earned degrees, I’m an advocate for self-study, auto-didactic work!  I’ll never forget being forced (by my own choices/calendar) to learn French on my own in Graduate Study.  I did it – and have long since thought in that respect and in many others – we don’t “need” teachers in all cases and “classrooms” and “formal” education should not replace personal study and self-education!  In that regard, I’ve thought about doing an MBA for years.  I don’t think I will – especially after reading, The Personal MBA:  Master the Art of Business.  I’ve discerned the MBA is not for me – for many reasons, but I think I’m convinced that in most ways, the author in this simple book – with hundreds of tags to his posts online, has, in fact, created an accessible, way to summarize (cliff-note-version) the MBA into what he has gleaned.  Note:  I don’t have an MBA, so I can not objectively evaluate this claim I am making!  I am only making the claim that from my perspective, he seems to “be on to something” in discerning that the core principlies are at the heart of a good education – and then, anyone has to figure out how to live into those.  I enjoyed the book.  I’ll come back to it, I’m sure. 

I literally have no idea how or why I picked up We Learn Nothing:  Essays and Cartoons by Tim Kreider.  I do ample browsing at the Public Library, but do not know why I picked this one up.  Sitting in a Mall one day this Summer, with internet down, waiting on kids to shop, I read it.  I’m not sure what to make of it.  I have a few ‘take-aways’ from some keen statements made at points – but in other ways, the book was a ‘rant’ on some issues, and clearly just personal commentary on other issues, by Kreider.   I certainly would not recommend the book, it was crass at points.  And yet, I might come back and re-read it. 

My Summer included extensive review of several teaching resources for Biblical Hebrew, again this summer.  I continue to try to hone my practice in teaching and develop supplemental resources for learners.  I’ll still plan to use the same textbook I’ve used in the past, by Page Kelley.  I was surprised to find several new PDF versions of texts, self-published by young scholars who are trying to overcome the pedagogical dilemmas associated with teaching this ancient language, with its curiosities and aware of different learning styles and practices.  I’ll be posting those to a link associated with the Biblical Hebrew Class I teach – for learners there and for my work with learners into the future.

I loved the audio version of:  A Carpenter’s Life, As Told by Houses.  In a style reminiscent of Bill Bryson, who I love in most of his works, the author narrates homes and his experiences with homes – and growing up in Nebraska, and his life in many homes around the world.  Retiring in Oregon, and singing praises of this paradise (! Ha! My words!) – I couldn’t help but appreciate the book.  I’ll be honest, I’m biased in several ways.  The author and I hold several presuppositions from the outset – on the need for moderation, sustainable practices, and awareness of living within our means and within our local environment.  So, my review is prejudice!  I liked the book, I’ll listen to it again, I’m sure.

My public library loaned me the audio book for Martin Luther King Jr’s landmark speeches.  A Call To Conscience:  the Landmark Speeches of MLK.  How could I pass on that!  Listening to his epoch shaping rhetoric – in preaching and speaking!  A great series of lectures I listened to at different points in the summer, before having to return the resources.

I read again, Getting Things Done:  the Art of Stress Free Living – and for the past several years my wife and I, and our family, have been putting into practice the idea of “next action” – which I call “naction.”  It helps us accomplish more, reasonably, thoughtfully – and with a track-record of success.  I’ll be coming back to the principles in this book and in many web-friendly GTD sites, for years.

I’ve got some future Australian hopes – so spent ample time doing some research on travel and study programs there – with DVDs and books resources.  Let’s hope!

Finally, I read, re-read, re-read, and re-read drafts of my own book – which, after first publication is still not perfect!  Alas!  That is me!  I’m very proud of it.  It’s simple, small, short – and accessible – but I hope offers insight that really will matter for life.  The Greatest Commandment:  The LORD’s Invitation to Love.

No comments: