Another Small Bookstore Closes
I am very disappointed to note that my favorite Christian bookstore, Words of Hope in Monona, WI, is finally going out of business. To be honest, I have no idea how Al, the owner, managed to keep it open all these years. I live nearly an hour away, so I haven’t had many chances to get there in the past few years. But when I used to live in Madison I would always make sure I bought all my books through him. Why? Well first, as a matter of principle, I think it’s a good idea to support local businesses. But beyond that, Al’s place was always special. He was they only person I know of who ran a store that stocked a full supply of theological books and commentaries. Good stuff, not just fluff. He had stuff sitting on the shelves for years because he knew it was good material and ought to be in the store. That’s a bad business practice because it leaves equity tied up in books that aren’t selling. But I can’t tell you how happy I was to know that Al would always stock all the old classics. Need a book on (or by) John Wesley? Al would have one. A copy of Disciples Are Made, Not Born – Al was the place to go. A book on the spiritual disciplines or an obscure biography? Al. And of course the back wall of theology books. I literally spent hours at a time there. I remember getting into a great discussion with the Fortress Books rep about good theology books. For a wannabe New Testament scholar and budding theologian, you couldn’t ask for a better local bookstore. What a tremendous loss.
On the other hand, I did score a pile of books at 70% off, so now I have a whole new pile of books to read. Here’s what I got:
Evangelicalism and Modern America, ed. George Marsden – a bunch of historical essays on Evangelicalism by guys like Mark Noll, Martin Marty, and Marsden himself.
Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, George Marsden – Marsden is the key historian for understanding the connections and breaks between the two camps. A classic.
Crucifixion, Martin Hengel – One of the most brilliant New Testament scholars around.
The Word of God and the Mind of Man, Ron Nash – Nash is such an interesting character. He seems like he borders on being a Fundamentalist, yet he can present a strong philosophical case. I’m sure I’ll disagree with a lot of what he has to say, but I think this will be a good read on the doctrine of scripture.
The Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight – McKnight is the king of all Christian bloggers. This is a book I’ve always thought I’d like to recommend to people, but I ought to have read it myself first. In some ways Scot is too emergent for me, in other ways he’s not emergent enough. But I’m glad to finally have a chance to dig in to this book.
A Wideness in God’s Mercy, Clark Pinnock – the most popular defense of soteriological inclusivism by an Evangelical.
Jesus and Empire, Richard Horsley – N.T. Wright thinks Horsley’s stuff work on Paul and politics is the most exciting thing happening in the field right now, so I’m sure this will be a good read too. Looks like it was written at a popular level with an eye towards finding application to contemporary America.
God Crucified, Richard Bauckham – I am ashamed that I did not already have this book, and even more ashamed that I haven’t read it yet. It is a modern classic on the deity of Christ in the New Testament.
A Passion for Truth, Alister McGrath – For some unknown reason, this was the first book of the bunch I read when I first got them last week. McGrath is more conservative than I expected. He is right on about a lot of stuff, but in general I felt the presentation was often too simplistic, especially in areas I was more familiar with (like pluralism).
Ecclesiastical History, the Venerable Bede – A classic in English history, chronicling the earliest church in England from Roman times until Bede’s own days, I don’t know, 800 AD? I’m not all that familiar with that portion of church history, which is why I got the book.
Liturgies of the Western Church, ed. Bard Thompson – A really cool look into church history, and an alternate tool to use for quiet times.
Readings in Christian Theology, vol. 3: The New Life, ed. Millard Erickson – a great collection of theological essays, with special emphasis on Evangelical authors.