Mother Susan's Recommended Book
Heaven, edited by Roger Ferlo
As I started preparing for an upcoming sermon next month that deals with the afterlife, I became motivated to tackle the unknown realm of “Heaven." What will it be like? How do we even begin to imagine it? Do I need to fear that I might be excluded? I feel like I am in good company at wondering about all of that... So - beyond praying and meditating upon what I would like to convey in my sermon on the 10th of Nov, I also went to this amazing book that I purchased while in Seminary. Professor Ferlo - the editor was one of my teachers and priest at seminary. I highly recommend this book. It's actually a compilation of short essays by fairly well known Episcopal priests (mostly) who help flesh out some of their own wondering. It includes essays by Barbara Brown Taylor, Phyllis Tickle, Alan Jones, Barbara Crafton, Martin Smith and Malcolm Boyd. Every one of these short essays leaves me feeling hopeful. What a great Christmas or Thanksgiving Day gift for someone who doesn't have a lot of time to read - but wants some substance and wonder in their day. This book offers hope and perspective. God is so gracious - to give us life, and more life.
Nick's book recommendation:
This Far by Grace
It's probably no surprise that after I arrived in Pensacola my family and I BY GRACE began all of the things you do to set up shop in a place: buy a house, find the grocery store, find a doctor, a dentist, an optometrist, etc. And always, there were the questions, "What brings you down here?" and "O, where do you work at?" At the time, I was surprised A Bishop's Journey by just how many people knew of St. Christopher's, the Episcopal Through Questions About Homosexuality Church, and the theological work the church at large had done in the past twenty years. For instance, in the dentist office Teresa was J. Neil Alexander speaking about St. Christopher's and then seemingly out of nowhere was asked about Gene Robinson by her hygienist! That says something to me. What I was not prepared for, however, was that folks genuinely expected our interpretation in return to their questions about the church's stance on sensitive matters such as sexuality. These kinds of conversations got me to thinking about where people are theologically in their understanding of Grace and sexuality in our parish. So, we thought it would be helpful to offer a Faith Forum that helps us think about what scripture says on the matter. I highly recommend Neil's book. In this thoughtful and timely book, as Bishop Alexander (Dean of the School of the Theology at the University of the South) explores his journey through the theological, scriptural, and pastoral aspects of the questions surrounding homosexuality and the Christian faith. As the former Bishop of Atlanta, I find his story fascinating and I hope you will too, should you be asked to give an account of the hope that is within you.