Monday, January 24, 2011

Who are you reading?

I will admit that it is dangerous for me to go to Fort Wayne in the dead of winter.  It has nothing to do with weather and everything to do with visiting the Concordia Theological Seminary Bookstore and and even larger display of books set up for the Symposia.  I am weak and not even the spirit attempts to be strong when facing tables upon tables of books and shelves upon shelves of even more books.  I blew the old book allowance big time (even with special pricing and a 20% Pastor discount -- one of the few left in the world).

Not all of these are books meant to be read.  For example, a commentary is more likely to be used as a resource for specific causes (sermons and Bible studies) than to be read from cover to cover.  Some of them are not books at all ( broke down and purchased TLSB for computer -- read that The Lutheran Study Bible).   Some of them are books for personal edification (bought the Valerius Herberger volume).  Some of them are pure theology (a new book on natural law).  Some of them are history.  I could go on...

My point is that Pastors need to read -- read things that are of the faith, that challenge your faith, that equip you for your task (preaching, for example) and that build you up and edify you as an individual.  But don't stop there.  I read and follow very closely a dozen or so blogs and then occasionally visit another couple of dozen blogs.  I read news and commentary.  I read sci fi and I read classics.  I read and I read because I forget too much.  But it is what helps me keep the preaching fresh and my approach to things fresh and new.

If you are a lay person, why not give your Pastor an Amazon gift card or make sure that the church budget includes money to provide such resources that will help him keep fresh, keep encouraged, and keep new.  $500 sounds like a lot for this but it may only purchase 15 books or so.  Journals have pricey subscription costs and average about $30-40 per year per periodical.

I hope you will join me in getting some new books, sitting down and working through some of them, and using some as new reference books to inform your pastoral responsibilities and equip you for the daily task...  It is a deep and abiding responsibility that is made easier when we open a book or two or a dozen or two...  Try it sometime.


Norman Teigen said...

Let him that is taught in the Word, share everything good thing with him who teaches. St. Paul's words to the Galatians apply here.

And don't forget the pastor's wife, either. A Caribou coffee card will tell her that you care.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that some Sem grads
think their book education is
finished when they arrive at their
first call? If they say Yes, then
they really are finished as far as
future growth in theology. Look at
the pastor's library after 20 years
in the ministry. If there are no
new and recent volumes, then it is
a case of no theological growth. The
purpose of the Seminary is to whet
your appetite to become a lifelong
learner in theology. Thankfully
my parish furnishes me with a
$800 book allowance and $1200 for
continuing education.

Steve said...

Pastor Peters,
I have the TLSB on my computer and can't believe how helpful it is. You're going to love it.


Anonymous said...

Not just pastors! Catechesis is never over for the parishioner, either!

Pr. Alex Klages said...

Yeah. After a few years here in the parish, the congregation sprung for new wall-to-wall shelving, as it was becoming apparent that the two not-so-small shelves here were insufficient.

I've always maintained that since pastors are about preaching the Word, we ought to be in the Word and into words.

Fallhiker said...

12 Ordinary men..... by John MacArthur

ErnestO said...

"Who are you reading?"

Morning and Evening by Spurgeon.

Today the bible verse was Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

I found this Spurgeon statement profound in todays reading:
"Grace is the mother and the nurse of holiness, not the apologist of sin."