Wednesday, May 26

A Couple of Responses

Mr. Standfast has written a couple things lately that I've wanted to make responses to, but I've been too busy with other things to do so. So I thought I'd forego the Purposes of Christ's Death post for today, and respond to his posts instead.

First of all, he's listed his most influential books, and in it he challenges his regular readers to do the same. I'm going to do that here, although my list won't be as well thought out as his. And I'm not going to do the lovely Amazon links as I'm feeling just too lazy right now.

From my younger, formative years:

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I can't even do justice to how important this book was to me. I read it at fourteen--my first adult book. I was an avid reader as a child, and before I picked up this book I had read just about every juvenile fiction book that interested me in the slightest bit in every library I frequented. From this book I learned that there was a whole world of adult classics for me to read. It also aroused an interest in European history, and I went on to read anything I could get my hands on about the French Revolution, and then I branched out from there into other things, including the Reformation. It also helped form my worldview in ways I'd like to go into sometime, but this is just supposed to be a quick post, so I'll leave that hanging for now.

Asimov on Numbers by Isaac Asimov. This book is a series of fascinating essays on all sorts of interesting math and number subjects. I had always been good at math, but this book sparked my love for mathmatics. Its the reason I started out as a math major, rather than journalism or English or history. (This changed to an education major with a math concentration after my first two children were born.) My children can tell you what a certified math geek I am. I often sat with them at the table and did their algebra problems right along with them just for the fun of it. I insisted that they understand the why of what they were doing, that they know what properties they were using, something that math programs (here at least) seem to ignore.

The Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis. These books did a lot to clarify for me how God worked in our world.

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. This one showed me that my faith was a reasonable one.

I should probably be adding a Francis Shaeffer book or two in this section, too, because I know that as a group, they really did influence my thinking, but I'm having trouble remembering exactly which ones and why.

In my older, already half-baked years:

In Understanding Be Men by T. C. Hammond. I got this one as a handbook for a Sunday School class on doctrine. It's a rather short little thing, nothing too indepth, but a good overview of Christian theology. It really started my interest in things theological, and as you can tell if you read this blog, this has not been just a passing interest.

Knowing God by J. I. Packer. I read this one over every few years. I always learn new things, and I know it has had a deep influence on how I think about God.

There are others that I've read more recently that I've really liked, but it's hard to assess their influence at this point. If I write another list in a few years, maybe they'll be on it.

So, there's my list of influential books. Now onto the other matter. Bob has also mentioned the description of my blog that you'll find right underneath my blog title, particularly the list of things I promise not to write about: the American presidential race, the war in Iraq, or anything "Purpose Driven". I've never explained why I'm not writing about those things, so I thought I might do that.

On the "Purpose Driven" matter. I've been a bit of an old fogey since the day I was born. I don't do fads. Well, I did once. It was called Late Great Planet Earth. Need I say more? If a book's been around 15 years or more, I might consider reading it. Fortunately for me--stodgy sort that I am--I live up here where many of these Christian fads tend to come later, and I can learn from the rest of the civilized world's mistakes.

To the political issues I'm avoiding. I used to be a bit of a political junkie. I lost interest. In the real moral issues, I stand firm. In the rest of the stuff, I just don't care all that much. I am aware that living in Canada for 30 years has changed my political views, and the direction of that change isn't to the right. It has also made me aware of how much our political views are shaped by the culture we live in. So I mostly keep my mouth shut (or my fingers still) on these issues.

Phew! I feel better now. Everything thats been swirling around inside my head is now out and I can move on.