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Vicar writes – 28 February / 1 March

posted 01.03.2015

Since I became a Christian at the age of 13, I have learned and grown in the faith through reading good Christian books. We also learn through other channels, such as audio sermons (live or recorded), didactic teaching and so on. But when someone writes and publishes a book, it has probably gone through many rounds of revision, research and careful record of footnote references.

A book is often a culmination of a person’s life work and experiences. Many authors will finally put material down in a book that they have lectured on for many years.

On this note, I can recall someone prophesying that I would write a book one day. The "one day” has yet to arrive and in part, it is because I feel I need more life experiences before committing to publishing a book that is worth being read by others.

The book format is also suitable for reflection; one can read and re-read paragraphs to slowly digest the content. With time and through the guidance of others, you can be more discerning as to the books to spend time on.

I have been enriched by these books, at various stages of my life:

• The Christian Priest, written by Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsay who was actually present at the laying of SJC’s foundation stone in 1973.  
• A book of sermons by local Bible-Presbyterian pastor, Revd David Wong, whose reflections on Elijah are still being used in some of my sermons. I have since misplaced that book!
• Life in Christ - a reflection on Romans by Roman Catholic priest Raniero Cantalamessa, which I have found very refreshing and one I return to often to re-examine my heart.
• Some of Charles Colson's books were also helpful as it introduced me to an evangelical faith which has a social-political side to it
• Pastor Edmund Chan’s* Deeper Life was also good reading.
• Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline was helpful in my mid-twenties as it introduced me to what was for me then, deeper Christian literature, peppered with quotations from Church fathers and saints. Some think that his Quaker background made his book iffy when it comes to being “sound,” but mature Christians will be able to discern.
• During the same period, Gordon Macdonald’s* Ordering your Private World was very helpful, and I can imagine even more needed for today’s world.
• St Augustine’s Confessions is another classic that I am reading till today, a book which seems to have no end as it is so rich, deep and in many parts, hard to understand!
• Rick Warren writes for the general audience and I found his book Purpose-driven Church vey helpful.
• I have benefitted from John Stott, especially Issues Facing Christians Today and The Living Church.
• I have read C.S Lewis’* various books in parts, enjoying his literary style
• Currently, I am finding Timothy Keller’s* Centre Church fascinating reading as he talks about the church and the modern city.

I also read good articles and theological journals. The website and journal First Things keeps my mind sharp and current.

The list is of course longer than this. I often think that it would be such a waste of our life if we live it without benefitting from the reflections and experiences of other fellow pilgrims who live out their faith in different cultures and epochs of times many whom we will never meet in person. How will you unless you pick up a book and read?

Reading widely has given me a solid basis and kept me from being gullible and easily influenced by contemporary trends, beliefs and opinions. It has set me free from the “now and here” perspective and enabled me to see a much larger world, from which I can then judge mine critically. I have encountered intelligent people who are strong academically and experts in their own field but unwise in others as they have not read widely. You can be very intelligent but spiritually and intellectually shallow.

I should mention that sometimes a few good books are sufficient to open windows to new or better ways of thinking. Think carefully over the books you want to commit to reading. Now that we have the Treasure Trove set up, I trust that you will be both inspired and guided in your reading. And Lent is a good period to pick up some books again!

* The Treasure Trove carries books by these authors.

SUNDAY 1 MARCH 2015
LAUNCH OF

Treasure Trove @Milk X Honey
Opening times:
Tue - Fri: 9am - 3pm
Sunday: 8.30am - 3pm
Sat: 6.30pm - 7.30pm
Come and Browse, Borrow and Be Blessed!

All Are Welcome!
Come and enjoy a free cup of coffee

 

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