The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Leo Tolstoy (February)
Don’t be intimidated by the name Tolstoy. This book is short and the style is straightforward. Ivan Ilyich will be our introduction to the body. We will be reading itas we approach lent (traditionally a time to reflect on our own mortality). I got you excited huh? Betcha can’t wait to start thinking more about dying . . . sorry, but I think in the end it will be good for us.
Our Greatest Gift, Henri Nouwen (March)
What is A Family?, Edith Schaeffer (April and May)
I’ll admit that Schaeffer’s style can be a bit tedious but Schaeffer, in her unique fashion, will help us look at the family through different lenses. She will transition us from thinking about our own bodies to our bodies in relationship. Family is our initial and most essential connection to the physicality of others. On the surface she gives advice and perspective on family life but she will also build a bridge to the deeper ideas of our bodies being indwelt with Christ and our ability to minister to the people closest to us through Him.
At the Heart of the Gospel, Christopher West (June, July and August)
Three months for this one. It has some deep and essential ideas about the sacramentality of the human experience, specifically in the context of sexuality. I figured since we will be reading it over the summer we will probably move at a slower pace. If you don’t happen to be Catholic don’t let West’s multiple references to Catholic documents and officials confuse you, he is digging into some great ideas that have value for all of us.
The Supper of the Lamb, Robert Farrar Capon (September and October)
In some ways this is the lightest but also the most tedious read especially if you don’t share Farrar’s love of cooking. It is 98% cooking and 2% theology. And yet the 2% wouldn’t mean anything if it wasn’t for the 98%. This book could have been written about any type of work, more than being about cooking (though it really is mostly about cooking) it is about the value of paying attention. When we put forth the energy to work with care whatever interaction we are having with the world leads us to experience God.
On Social Justice, St. Basil the Great (November)
This book was written only 300 years after Christ walked the earth, in the days when the Church was still newly established. It is perhaps the founding document on Christian social justice. You will be amazed at how readable and also how applicable this book is to our modern life. If Christ in us then we are truly His hands and our work is to extend His hands to the rest of the world.
For Further Reading on Body and Spirit (there are a million more these are just the few that I’ve read)
2015 Reading List – An Introduction to Life and Sacrament