A parishioner told me that I need to read more than theology. I do, but her point was well taken, so I’m reading the book she loaned me: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (New York: Picador, 2004). The story is about an elderly Congregationalist minister who – in a very creative and lyrical way – is recounting his life (including the 25 feet tall stack of 40 years of sermons in the attic that he just can’t forget about). Here’s one little blurb.
After lamenting his age, Reverend Ames (the one writing the story) says he wanted to recount the old days by doing a little waltz in his study (sort of a way to defy his age, or fight it).
“I have thought I might have a book ready at hand to clutch if I begin to experience unusual pain, so that it would have an especial recommendation from being found in my hands. That seemed theatrical, on consideration, and it might have the perverse effect of burdening the book with unpleasant associations. The ones I considered, by the way, were Donne and Herbert and Barth’s Epistle to the Romans and Volume II of Calvin’s Institutes. Which is by no means to slight Volume I” (p. 115).
The book is a flowing narrative, so it is good for the sake of story (it won a Pulitzer Prize). There are some great episodes in it as well. The oddest thing for me, however, apart from the gun-totin’ abolitionist preacher is that the book doesn’t have chapters! Still, go get it if you want a light-hearted enjoyable read.