Today marks the start of the On Christian Doctrine Augustine bookclub, so, if any of you are interested in joining, you’ve actually only got three paragraphs from the preface to read today in order to get all caught up with the rest of us. And one of those three grafs goes like this:
To those who do not understand what is here set down, my answer is, that I am not to be blamed for their want of understanding. It is just as if they were anxious to see the new or the old moon, or some very obscure star, and I should point it out with my finger: if they had not sight enough to see even my finger, they would surely have no right to fly into a passion with me on that account. As for those who, even though they know and understand my directions, fail to penetrate the meaning of obscure passages in Scripture, they may stand for those who, in the case I have imagined, are just able to see my finger, but cannot see the stars at which it is pointed. And so both these classes had better give up blaming me, and pray instead that God would grant them the sight of their eyes. For though I can move my finger to point out an object, it is out of my power to open men’s eyes that they may see either the fact that I am pointing, or the object at which I point.
Meanwhile, I’m still finalizing my choice to the book that will succeed last year’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus (my posts on Pope Francis’s book are collected here). I’ll read and blog on weekly through 2015 on one of the following, so speak up if you’ve got advice:
The Kernel and the Husk — Edwin Abbott (31 chapters)
I love Abbott’s Flatland, which has already helped shape how I approach theology, philosophy, and all habits of abstract thought. I’m very excited to see what Abbott has to say when explicitly writing about religion. This book is written as a series of letters.
Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus — Robert Farrar Capon (44 chapters)
I’ve recently read and enjoyed Capon’s Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage and The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection (which is a combination theological work and cookbook). His writing is exuberant, to say the least, and I haven’t read any other books structured around Christ’s parables.
I reread Loss and Gain: The Story of a Convert very happily this year, and would like to try some of Newman’s non-fiction. The topics should be diverse, but there is much more here than fits a sermon-a-week blogging schedule.