The following happens to me every year: I go to family Thanksgiving dinners and as I finish a piece of pumpkin pie I am reminded that I need to produce a Christmas wishlist. A good thing, right? Somehow every year I totally struggle to come up with ideas. What invariably comes first to my mind is books. Images of book covers run through my head like the Cover Flow feature in iTunes. Do I go with a commentary? A dictionary? A missiology (my favorite subject in theology) book? Something thick and dense, like Barth’s Church Dogmatics or Calvin’s Institutes of Christian Religion? Perhaps something classic that I don’t yet own, like Augustine’s Confessions or Kempis’ Imitation of Christ? Or something a bit lighter, like Donald Miller’s new A Million Miles in a Thousand Years? Or maybe a book by someone I actually know, like Matt Rogers’ Losing God? Or maybe (and this is my least favorite) something with no overt theological meaning?
This year I am putting a biography on the top of my list (at least for now…I can be fickle with this). Over the past year, books by a late missiologist, theologian, and ecumenicist Lesslie Newbigin have been placed in front of me- some requirements for classes, some for research, and one as a gift from a friend. I have been deeply challenged both personally and academically by Newbigin, as has been evidenced by the number of posts on this blog related to him.
So I’ve decided to put this book in the top spot: Lesslie Newbigin: A Theological Life. The author is a Duke Divinity theologian named Geoffrey Wainwright.
Here is the thing: I don’t actually expect to get the book. It’s $75. I always put the unattainable ones on the top of the list. I just feel like I have to provide a list that is faithful to my desires- no paring down the list based on price.
My remedy is to provide a more realistic option as number 2. I am still working on this. I am leaning toward Newbigin’s Household of God: Lectures on the Nature of the Church.