Friends and readers, from time to time, wonder what I am up to. What am I reading? What am I learning? What am I working on?
I have several projects going on all the time, but here is my FOCUS for January, February and March.
These first three months of 2013 find my early morning writing time devoted to the editing (and additional writing) of the Exercises devoted to the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Friends have been using the Draft version of this volume for over a year... but the time had come to bear down and do the work of additional writing (the Exercises I never finished) and a very major EDIT of everything.
I have been immersed in the Gospels, reading and re-reading them.
And I am immersing myself in books about Jesus and the Gospels. Most recently I have read (or am in the process of reading) the following books.
The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others by Scot McKnight.
If there is one book on Jesus that I would recommend to anyone - this is the one. McKnight is a wise scholar, a passionate teacher and a skilled communicator. It is not that anyone has to "help Jesus come alive"!!! But, McKnight shares with you how Jesus has come alive for Scott. As you read what McKnight has learned and how he has drawn close, you are greatly assisted in your own journey.
Images of Jesus by Anselm Grun
Grun is a German Benedictine. He writes for a post-modern world that is drawn to images. His book is 50 short chapters providing 50 images, or pictures or windows or illustrations to help you know who Jesus is. For someone who would like to do devotional reflections on Jesus and the Gospels in the new year - I recommend this warm book for you. The only detraction is this - he does not provide the core texts that stimulate his devotional musings!
Recovering Jesus: The Witness of the New Testament by Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld
This is not an easy book, but it is a good and worthy book. This is for someone who wants to do some more scholarly study of Jesus. It is written to be used by college students. He provides wonderful insight into the context and setting of Jesus' world as a means to make sense of the texts.
Jesus: A Portrait by Gerald O'Collins
This Austrailan Jesuit has written a very powerful book about Christ. Every author has their own Voice and every book has its own DNA. I am not exactly sure how to describe this Voice/DNA in a few words. I can say this. Every page hits me HARD and asks me - how will I respond to this peson called Jesus? I cannot IGNORE him. I dare not MINIMIZE him. I must FOLLOW him. This Jesus is Christ the Lord. Since I am writing/editing my own Exercises on Jesus, this Jesuit theologian, author, speaker, director is one of my favorite guides.
Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus by Robert Capon
This is a classic trilogy collected in one volume. There is probably no better explanation of the parables of Jesus and Capon is an incomprable writer.
There are still others I must get and read...
As well as revisit a few previously read books...
I am also diving into a number of new commentaries on the Gospels that are quite good...
The combination of thoughtful study that sets the stage for lectio divina reflection and prayer, which then works its way out in writing - that is my 1st quarter task.
I am also enjoying finding beautiful images of Jesus on the internet. I especially like stained glass representations like this.
Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International