December 18, 2003

The Twelve Books of 2004

As the year draws to a close, I've been sorting through all of the unread books on my shelf and arriving at conclusions I'm not entirely comfortable with. The bottom line: I'm a book-aholic. (There...it feels so liberating to admit it.) I'm one of those people who buys books, stacks of books, mountains of books...and then never gets around to reading them.

No more. This year, everything's gonna change. This time, for sure.

Resolved, to read no less than one book each month as prescribed by my "Book of the Month" list below.

Resolved, not to buy any books in a given month until I've completed the "Book of the Month".

Resolved, to submit myself to the accountability of my friends, both local and global, for the accomplishment of the above resolutions, and to accept whatever discipline or punishment they should deem appropriate, necessary, or personally satisfying to their sordid imaginations should I fail to keep same.

So, without further verbage (well, maybe just a little)...NeoTheolog's Twelve Books of 2004!

January
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Stephen Covey

I've owned this book since 1995 and have, on occasion, waded as far as halfway into it, only to set it aside for something more pressing...and never get back to it in time to pick up where I left off. That being said, the wisdom I've picked up on my aborted attempts to read this book keep me getting back on the Seven Habits horse, so to speak. My feeling is that if I can get through this one "first cat out of the bag" (pardon the plethora of zoological metaphors), perhaps it will yield dividends throughout the year. We'll see...

February
A Primer on Postmodernism
Stanley Grenz

Another one I've started a couple of times and never finished. I want to complete it before heading to Emergent 04, and if I get my wish and can attend the San Diego incarnation, I'll need to get it out of the way before March.

March
Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work
Eugene Peterson

I have three Peterson books on the list this year, and I'll squeeze in two more if I can find the time. From the back cover: "Whereas much of the current literature on pastoring stresses up-to-date training and new techniques stemming from the behavioral sciences, Eugene Peterson here calls for returning to an 'old' source--the Bible--as the basis for all of pastoral ministry." Right up my alley.

April
Open Sources
Chris DiBona et. al.

Prophetically speaking, I'm convinced that the Open Source Software movement is but a shadow of what the entire world is becoming. "An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come" (Victor Hugo). "Nobody has a monopoly on the truth" (Anonymous).

May
The Contemplative Pastor
Eugene Peterson

From the back cover: "TO get at the often-overlooked essentials of [pastoral] ministry, Peterson redefines the meaning of pastor through three vivid, strengthening adjectives--unbusy, subversive, and apocalyptic. I've always thought of myself as a subversive; now I have an excuse.

June
Leading Life-Changing Small Groups
Bill Donahue

Our church's small group ministry tends to wane in strength a bit in the summer, and I typically use August as a month to breathe some new life into the groups. We prepare for that by training leaders in July; reading this Willow Creek book in June will train me to train them.

Okay...enough for now. I'll post the rest of the list tomorrow. Any thoughts on what you've seen thusfar? Any suggestions for the rest of the year? Care to share what's on your must-read list for next year? Click on "Comments" below!

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