As a younger man just starting in full-time ministry, I began to pursue ordination. I met with the Credentials committee several times, and each time I met with them was worse than the previous. Though I have retained much of my youthful pugnacity, it showed itself with much more vigor then. I regularly bucked the system presented to me. One such occurrence is the inspiration for this blog.
During one meeting with the committee, they asked what I had been reading when I was not reading seminary texts. I told them, “Well, I mostly read fantasy, and I have been reading through the Harry Potter series.” They were looking for a different answer. After a few furrowed brows and funny looks, one of the men said to me, “You need to read more Edwards…” He also went on to explain his own method of picking one “church forefather”, reading his entire works, then picking another. With the other men sitting around, nodding their heads in agreement, I said, “Well, that just isn’t for me.” Again, they were looking for a different answer.
All these years later, the presbytery (that I now work in) recently recommended me for ordination, thus ending a 7-year journey through seminary and Edwards, Luther, Calvin, and the like. My views of ordination have changed over the years, and I now see the need for seminary training and the stupidity of my thinking as a young-20’s youth worker. I cherish my seminary training and count it a blessing to have received it. That said, the writings of Edwards and others still are not for me. These writers and their works are important and even necessary for the church today, but they are not something I am going to pick up and read for pleasure. I do not have the mind for it. I admire those men who can pick up Calvin and read it with ease, but as many times as I have tried, I cannot do it. Though I have waded through many academic texts over the past years, I am still a fan of fantasy.
With my recent finishing of the ordination process, I have committed to reading only fantasy for the next year. I will have to read nonfiction texts to prepare for sermons and to teach, but other than that, I am putting nonfiction on the shelf this year. This blog will detail my journey back into the realm of fantasy. My particular focus will be to pull the redemptive elements out of the books I read. I plan to read works done by Christian authors, atheist authors, and those in between. I believe that ultimately, all truth is God’s truth. One can find redemptive elements in most all things, and fantasy literature is no different.
My goal is to post at least once a week on what I am currently reading, and bring out the redemptive elements. I do not plan to be “preachy” but that will no doubt occur some along the way. I will post a tentative reading list soon.