Sunday, September 13, 2009

Getting Into My Books

Book, books, books, so many books, so little time. I'm ratcheting back on pontifications this week due to time constraints and the fact my creative juices need some rejuvenating. So I'll share some good reads.

I'm presently reading a most interesting book by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange who was one of the greatest Thomist theologians of the Twentieth Century. Fr. Garrigou taught at the Angelicum in Rome from 1909 to 1960. The Angelicum is the Pontifical University in Rome. The book I'm reading is The Three Ages of the Interior Life: Prelude of Eternal Life. This is a massive and difficult read.

In an age of "Bobby Sox" theologians who think they are experts in the area of Meditation and Contemplation this is a must read for them. Many evangelicals today are discovering meditation and contemplation and are diving in without discernment. Much of what I see are practices mixed with Buddhist and other Eastern religious practices and claiming they are following in the traditions of the church fathers. Fr. Garrigou and other notable experts on church history and contemplative practices like Fr. Thomas Dubay, author of many books including the classic, Fire Within would argue otherwise.

Fr. Garrigou's book is one of those books that takes work to read. Many who can't read a sentence beyond five words or words with only one or two syllables will not tolerate this book. I keep a dictionary handy when I read this book. It is deep, hard and highly rewarding. It's one of those "red meat" books. I know some of my Protestant friends may believe I read too many "Catholic" books, but the reason I do so is that our faith has its roots in the Catholic church, whether we like it or not. And in my desire for truth, I must read their books.

I encourage you, if you have interests in meditation and contemplation, take a few lessons from the masters like Fr. Garrigou and Fr. Dubay. You may find that your current practices are not based on the church fathers as you thought, but are more in line with eastern religious thought.

The second book I'm reading is a completely different kind of book. I don't read current event books as often as I should, but they are worth reading and this one promises to be a good read. It was loaned to me by my boss and it looked interesting to me. The title is Golden Bones, An Extraordinary Journey From Hell in Cambodia to a New Life In America. The author is Sichan Siv, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. It is the story of his harrowing journey from the death camps of Pol Pot to freedom. I'm anxious to get into it this week. I'll let you know how I enjoy it. It looks to be a good relaxing kind of read. Relaxing not in subject because it is a heavy subject, but, for me, it is a nice break from difficult reading.

A couple of other books you may enjoy. The Dangerous Act of Worship by Mark Labberton. This book is an excellent and easy read on the subject of God's living call to Justice. This is an area the evangelical church has largely ignored.

I also recommend I Am Not, but I Know Who I Am by Louie Giglio. It is an easy, sometimes too cutesy but relevant read on how God is actively involved in our daily lives. I liked it other than over use of cliches and catchy phrases that really don't add to the book. But it will appeal to the younger element and is an excellent resource for those new in the faith who want to know what God is all about.

Finally, I want to repeat a book that can really help us all. All too often we want to know what is right vs. what is wrong. In the book, The Best Question Ever, Andy Stanley presents a great argument that wrong vs. right are the wrong questions. It is a book on wisdom and should be read by everyone, in my opinion. It is a very easy read. I read it aloud to my wife for several nights as a part of our evening devotional time that we regularly practice. If you are looking for what God's will is in your life, the wisdom questions Andy highlights are profound and could end a lot of the "worship wars" we see in our churches.

Well, I got long winded again didn't I? And all I did was highlight some books. I hope you try some of these and then share back here on this blog, some of your ideas.

Until next week...yep...I'm not blogging for a week again. I think it will take retirement to bore you on a daily basis.

Ta ta.....


  1. The Best Question Ever sounds worthwhile, and my speed to boot. Thanks for the recommend.

  2. I think you'll enjoy it Pennyyak. It is a book Catholics and Protestants can enjoy and learn from.

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