Yes, I know this is pretty much a month late. Let's just say I wanted to have some time to think over my list.
Like many seminarians, I dreamt of the day in which I could spend my time reading any book I wanted, no matter how simple or complex it seemed. I thought days like that would come after school...but anyone on this side of education laughs at the thought.
Around October last year I actually began making the time to read again. It was great. I knocked out around 5-6 books in the last few months of the year and realized I wanted to plan out my reading in 2013.
I made a short list. It is actually not very interesting, somewhat old and even trivial, but these are my official "must reads" of 2013.
1. You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church...and Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman. I actually finished this last week. It was as interesting and insightful as I have heard. Anyone involved in the leadership and design of the local church needs to read it. Kinnaman really makes the complicated social structure of sub 40's faith accessible.
2. E M Bounds: The Classic Collection on Prayer (Pure Gold Classic) by E.M. Bounds. This is a classic early 20th century collection of writings on prayer. Bounds was a Methodist clergyman who spent the last part of his life in publication and deep prayer. This is the type of book that really shakes things up. I started reading it late last year and hope to finish it soon. At almost 600 pages it can be quiet the beast, but the chapters are short and really easily read in devotional times.
3. Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works (Cultural Liturgies) by James. K.A. Smith. I read "Desiring the Kingdom" several years ago and it was amazing. I was really excited to find out he is continuing the thread. This isn't out just yet, but I am really excited about it.
4.Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law. This is old school. As a Methodist pastor I tend to be fascinated with John Wesley's devotional practices. This book was formative to him. I want to read it this year. I tracked down a good edition last year and I am excited to read it deeply.
5.Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by N.T. Wright. FULL DISCLOSURE. I have never read ANY N.T. Wright. He never popped up on a reading list in seminary and I didn't fall quickly into him early on in my studies like many of my classmates (I read James Smith and Barry Harvey pretty heavily). When I began formal academic work on Revelation a few friends shared they thought I must have read alot of Wright. Since I never had, I considered my thesis an experiment in writing a modern eschatology without the influence of Wright. I need to now rectify the problem. I have been saving this book for about 2 years.
Those are my formal reading plans. I have finished a few other books and have some in my que, but they aren't "essential readings" formally. Did you plan any reading this year? Share what you are most excited about in the comments.