Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Now reading

I almost never read just one book at a time.

Maybe it’s because I am just not disciplined enough to concentrate on one book. Maybe it’s because I need to read something different on a day when I have few responsibilities than what I might read after a long day of workshops or driving.

Anyway, I’ve just finished one book that has made a real impact on me, The Locust Effect, which I commented on in a previous post.

In the meantime I’ve begun four other books:

First there is Gregorio Iriarte’s ¿Qué es una comunidad eclesial de base? which I’m reading for my work with base communities in the Dulce Nombre parish.

In November I finished In the Company of the Poor: Conversations between Dr. Paul Farmer and Father Gustavo Gutiérrez.  Now I’m reading a book of speeches of Paul Farmer, To Repair the World. Farmer is very inspiring and motivational.

When the lectionary had a week of readings from the First Book of Kings, I started Dan Berrigan’s The Kings and Their Gods: The Pathology of Power. Dan Berrigan has been writing his poetic and prophetic commentaries on scriptures for several decades. This provocative volume isn’t disappointing me.

I was looking for something to help me start Lent next week and so I opened Gerhard Lohfink’s Jesus of Nazareth: What He Wanted: Who He Was. The first chapter on fact and interpretation was fascinating.

A few days ago I finished the mammoth History of the World Christian Movement: Volnhume II: Modern Christianity from 1454-1800 by Dale T. Irvin and Scott W. Sunquist. It was my diversionary reading. I find reading histories and biographies relaxing. I also will read a trashy suspense novel or thriller, if I really need a diversion.

Right now, I have no diversionary book.

There are a few books I have on my soon-to-be read books, including the following:

I’m going on a five-day retreat in March (with the help of a US Jesuit in northeast Honduras. So I may read Margaret A.L. Blackie’s Rooted in Love: Integrating Ignatian Spirituality into Daily Life.

Lent is a week away. I will probably read George Weigel’s Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches. I’m reading this partly to recall my pilgrimage to Italy last February. Some people may be surprised that I’m reading George Weigel whose politics I hardly agree with. But I found his 2004 book Letters to A Young Catholic fairly good, except for his chapter on liturgy. I want to see if he can speak to me as he did in that book.

A friend recommended Mitri Raheb’s Faith in the Face of Empire: The Bible Through Palestinian Eyes. I had met the Lutheran pastor Mitri Raheb about a decade ago when I visited Palestine where my friend was working with Pastor Raheb.

I may look into Giorgio Agamben, The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life.

I should also be reading a few more books in Spanish – but that is often more work than enjoyment.

I should get to Ramón Amaya Amador’s Prisión Verde, about the Honduran banana workers strike. I’ve had it for more than five years.

Another book in Spanish I must read is José Antonio Pagola’s Jesús: Aproximación histórica, which an Irish priest in Lima, Perú, gave me in October 2011.

And that’s my short list.

There are a few philosophy and theology books I should get around to reading. They are on my shelves gathering dust.

And then there are a few others: Gary A. Anderson’s Charity: The Place of the Poor in the Biblical Tradition; Flannery O’Connor’s A Prayer Journal; Hannah Arendt’s The Last Interview and Other Convversations; Christopher Pramuk’s  Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton; Freddy Derwahl’s The Last Monk of Tibhurine; Walter Brueggemann’s Journey to the Common Good.

And then there's the book that I've been slowly reading since last year: Donal Door's Option for the Poor and for the Earth: Catholic Social Teaching. It's a good book but demands time fore study.

Any suggestions – especially in terms of biographies or histories (with an emphasis on the poor) – are appreciated.

One question my readers may have: Where does he get his books?

I often exchange books with the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters in nearby Gracias, Lempira.

When I go to the US or have visitors, I will order a few books on Amazon and then bring them back here or have a friend bring them.

But then there is the blessing (or curse) of Kindle. It gives me access to a lot of books I’d never have been able to find here. It’s been a help and I can easily carry it the books with me on the road.

Reading has been a part of my life since before I began first grade way back in 1952 at Blessed Virgin Mary Church parochial school. It continues. It’s a diversion and an escape, as well as a spur to thought, to self-examination, and to helping me evaluate what I’m trying to do here.

My only regret when I find a book that really speaks to my life and ministry here in Honduras is that I don’t have many people to help me process.

But now back to work - or a book - or a blog post on the Final Document of Aparecida...

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