1 Jul 2017

What Do You Recommend?

          In my experience, we live in a world full of variety, of choices, and - as a result - of recommendations. We ask wait staff for menu recommendations, we read reviews for film recommendations, we check out user review websites for activity and tourism recommendations.
            One of the conversations I have most often with friends is about books. What we like, what we don't like, what we would recommend to one another.
            In fairness, recommendations can come with hesitation... I once suggested a book I absolutely *love* to a friend, and while she was keen to read it, she was worried she might not like it (and thereby offend me). (Note - she liked it, didn't love it, we have had many conversations about the topic, and there was never any offence).
            In the courses I've been taking, there are often suggestions and recommendations being made. Some are for academic resources (I'm part-way through Wiggs-Stevenson's "Ethnographic Theology," recommended by a respected colleague after an engaging seminar discussion).  Some are based on context (I've just finished Martel's "Wolf Hall" after being told it helped someone better understand the Reformation in England, and as an Anglican he was sure I'd enjoy it [he as right]). Some are just for fun (my sister and I are regularly comparing notes on our latest reads, lately mysteries and psychological thrillers). 
            I receive and give recommendations for all sorts of prayer resources, theological commentaries, scholarly articles, &c.
            One thing that's missing there is the recommendation for the favourite book of the Bible.
            I wonder if perhaps that is because we presume that as Christians, we will have already read the sacred scriptures? And yet, with other sources, we recommend re-reads (François Mauriac wrote ' «Dis-moi ce que tu lis, je te dirai qui tu es», il est vrai, mais je te connaîtrai mieux si tu me dis ce que tu relis.')
            The Bible, as we know is full of wonderful books, that tell of exciting and inspiring truths for all of God's people. It holds within it more than mere stories, but the Word of God. It's a better page-turner than anything any novelist could hope for. (I've often said that anyone who thinks the Bible is boring obviously hasn't read it!)

            So I invite us all to consider what our favourite Bible book is... what might we recommend to friends and family to read? And next time our opinion is sought, perhaps that will be what we suggest. Let's recommend that the book be brought off the shelf and enjoyed for the wonderful gift that it is.


  1. Was the book recommendation The Great Work and I the person receiving the recommendation? (Also, I've met Natalie Wigg-Stevenson - happy that you're reading her book!)
    And my favourite book of the bible would be Mark. At least if you ask me today!

    1. Ha! Actually no - it was another person/book! Although, come to think of it, this does apply to those conversations too :)
      And I'm not sure how I feel about Wigg-Stevenson's thesis... trying to apply it to my DMin research. Hmm.