Monday, August 22, 2016

Reading for Renewal

I love to read!

For Homeland Ministry Assignment (HMA), I decided to embark on an intentional reading journey. In case you are just casually curious or intellectually intrigued, here is what I am reading, in no particular order:

1. Making and Unmaking Nations: War, Leadership, and Genocide in Modern Africa by Scott Straus (2015).
This book has been extremely helpful in the light of our doctoral student residency to Rwanda to study post-genocide rebuilding. Much is said about other countries, as well, including Nigeria. It will become required reading our our doctoral students.

2. From Crisis to Calling: Finding your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions by Sasha Chanoff and David Chanoff (2016).
The context is the Congo Rescue Mission that grew out of the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide. The story is riveting and real. It is sort of an African version of Joseph Badaracco's book, Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose Between Right and Right.

3. The Challenge for Africa by Wangari Maathai (2009). Written by a Kenyan who won the Nobel Peace Prize for Sustainable Development, Democracy, and Peace, this book is incredibly insightful about all parts of the continent. I have some reservations about some of her presuppositions and conclusions, but I find her perspective to be particularly helpful. She certainly challenges my notion of how to help people, communities, and nations in Africa. Unfortunately, she passed away much too soon (in 2011 at the age of 61). 

4. Made to Flourish: Beyond Quick Fixes to a Thriving Organization by Shelley G. Trebesch (2015). This book piqued my interest because long ago, my good friend from my Johns Hopkins University days, Dr. Lindsay Thompson, introduced me to the notion (and field of ethics) of "flourishing." This author earned her PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary and presents an excellent overview of the concept from a Christian perspective. It is the kind of book, I think, that is best read in community with lots of discussion. I believe it will make the reading list for our doctoral students.

5. The Shepherd Trilogy by Philip Keller (originally 1970).
This is a collection of three books in one: A Shepherd Looks at the 23d Psalm, A Shepherd Looks at the good Shepherd, and A Shepherd Looks at the Lamb of God. I had heard about the first of these books since I became a follower of Christ in the early 1970s. But, for some reason, I never read any of Philip Keller's writings. Now, they have even more meaning for me knowing he, himself, was a shepherd in the rural hills of Kenya, where I have had the privilege of visiting. This book is very encouraging and inspirational. I am glad I am reading it.

6. Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Father Jacques Philippe (2002).
A little over a hundred pages, this devotional is perfect for focusing on peace for one's own heart. Based on Colossians 3:15, "May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts," the author explores what that looks like in everyday life and how to achieve and sustain that peace that only Christ can give.

7Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (1992).
Written a long time ago, somehow I missed this book. I found it in a bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas and it is proving to be helpful as I think about managing competing demands.

In the Queue

8. Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows (2008).

9. Systems Thinking for Social Change: A Practical Guide to Solving Complex Problems, Avoiding Unintended Consequences, and Achieving Lasting Results by David Peter Stroh (2015).

10. Teaching for Critical Thinking: Tools and Techniques to Help Students Question Their Assumptions by Stephen Brookfield (2012).

Have you read any of these? What do you think? I'd love to hear from you.