Monday, September 29, 2008

What are you reading in September?

share This was not that productive of a month for me, as far as reading was concerned.  To be honest, my eyes have been giving me some problems in the evening most of this month (probably due to the chemo treatments I am taking).  But I did manage to get one book finished which I recommend, but with conditions. 

Craig Hovey's To Share the Body: A Theology of Martyrdom for Today's Church is a helpful study of the theme of martyrdom in the gospel of Mark and its ramifications for the church today. What I found most helpful by Hovey's study is his assertion that martyrdom is an intrinsic part of the gospel of Christ for all Christians, regardless of where they live.  This means, according to the author, "that, so long as we assume that 'we' are not a martyr-church, we have ceased to live with a proper and appropriate antagonism to the world in attempts to preclude the possibility that we might die the death of Christ" (page 18). 

Hovey does provide a number of insights into Mark's teaching on martyrdom; insights that I will want to integrate into my own teaching and writing on the subject.  Readers, however, should be cautious of the author's less than evangelical view of hermeneutics, however, as he argues that it is neither possible nor desirable to know what Mark intended to write.  Having said that, the author writes as though it is possible (which is true of most commentators). 

That said, this is a valuable contribution to the biblical study of persecution. Sadly, I suspect that this book will have a rather limited appeal and so, if this is a study that you are interested in pursuing, you had best get this book while you can, as publishers are pretty quick to take such books out of print nowadays.

4 comments:

Matthew said...

This looks like a really interesting book, and I'm glad that he points out that Christians are to be martyrs wherever they are geographically. It has become more and more apparent to me as I've grown older that the evangelical church in the West still struggles greatly to stand as a counterculture on issues of comfort and suffering; the idea of suffering for Christ is something we praise when we hear about other people doing it, but rarely is it taught that we ought to intentionally make ourselves uncomfortable for Him in a culture that places comfort as a high priority. The call of Christ is that we take up our cross and follow Him; I hope and pray that more Christians will be able to savor that teaching and find their joy in God.

Michelle said...

I am reading The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoyevsky in this month of September, and will be reading it in October and at the rate it's taking me to get through it, probably November too! :)

Thanks for sharing your reading material! I am always on the lookout for good books!

Adele Konyndyk said...

I've taken the trek through The Brothers Karamasov as well, Michelle (two years ago, as part of my graduate studies). Many of Ivan's musings on the nature and role of human suffering and how it relates to the existence of a good and divine God linger on in my mind. He's a challenging character to encounter, that's for sure. I think I may have to reread the work at least once more to fully appreciate and absorb it though. Oh, and it was a slow and steady read for me too, but worth it ;)

Glenn Penner said...

Never read The Brothers Karamazov, but read Crime and Punishment a few years ago. I have gotten into some modern Russian authors such as Alexei Tolstoy (Peter the Great) and Mikhail Sholokhov (Quiet Flows the Don). Yes, they were Soviet communists, but they were also good authors.