The Taser's Edge

Tuesday Reading Roundup 9: Spring Break Edition

1. Upside Down: The Paradox of Servant Leadership by Stacy T. Rinehart–Not only do I have to read this book (and it’s a decent critique of so much corporatespeak in church leadership), but I have to preach this Friday.  Yes, of course I need your prayers.  The one thing that irks me about Rinehart is his sometimes inaccurate read of church history.  For instance, the period between 325 CE and the Reformation is referred to as “The 1,200 Year Gridlock,” and it seems like not even the apostles got church right.  What hope do I have?

2. Great Lent by Alexander Schmemann–The 133 page book that never ends.  It’s even good, and I can’t get through it.

3. All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians, and Artists by Terry Gross–This is a collection of 35+ interviews which Terry Gross has done on NPR’s Fresh Air, including a ton of interesting people.  My favorite, I think because he talks about innovation and music technology, is Grandmaster Flash.  Zack or Ben, you would be interested in the interview.  It’s fascinating, although I don’t know how much of his telling is actually true, and how much is akin to Jelly Roll Morton’s claim to have invented jazz.  (Admittedly, Grandmaster Flash’s claims are much more modest.)  Another cool thing I just found in hunting down some links.  NPR has compiled a bunch of interviews into The History of Hip-Hop.  I’m going to have to spend some time there.

4. The Crow by J. O’Barr–Possibly the only person my age who has now read the book but who has not (yet) seen the movie.  Fascinating.  Violent.  Lean.  Not an extra panel in here.  Also, it really makes me wonder how, according to imdb, there have been now been four movies of The Crow which followed the original.  And according to Wikipedia, a remake of the original is on the way.  Fascinating how fascinating this brief material continues to be.

5. The Education of Hopey Glass (Love & Rockets Book 24) by Jaime Hernandez–This is my first experience with the Love & Rockets world.  Pleasant although somewhat inconsistent, I would say.  I do like comics about normal life and experience, and this fits that bill (mostly).

Tuesday Reading Roundup, Week 8

1. Cane by Jean Toomer–The back of the book quotes somebody saying, “Cane is an important American Novel.”  Personally, at just over half way through, it may well be great, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a novel.  Unless I’m missing something, which is possible, it’s more of a series of prose and poetry vignettes.  I began reading it months ago, and stopped in the middle.  I would like to finish it.  We shall see.  Spring “Reading Week” (Duke insists on not calling it Spring Break) is next week after all.

2. Great Lent by Alexander Schmemann–Still plugging away at it.  Marvelous book, but I have nowhere in my normal scheduling to place a book which is neither wholly for pleasure nor for school, and it’s getting to the point that the tag cloud to the right of my site is making it seem like I read a ton of Schmemann.  Not the case, visitors.  I have read very little of him over a very long period of time.  That cloud is also over-the-top with Hauerwas.  I’ve read less than a book by him, too.  Y’all will be hearing from Schmemann throughout Lent, just as I seem to be.

3. Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix–I was supposed to have read the first half for last week and then to finish it off for this week.  Clearly neither of those things is going to happen.  But, the tiny bit I have read is quite interesting.  The guy actually is a trained psychologist, after all.  That’s Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. to you.

4. The Lady, Her Lover, and Her Lord by T.D. Jakes–I said last week that I was surprised by how much I liked the book.  That ended at about 35 pages in.  Questionable biblical exegesis, overly conservative gender assumptions and gender role assignments, and terrible prose.  That’s not to say that there aren’t good points in it, because there are many of them.  And I’m still not finished with it yet.  I have to write a review on this or Hendrix’s book for Wednesday.

5. Upside Down: The Paradox of Servant Leadership by Stacy T. Rinehart–Rinehart (surprise: he’s a dude) is coming to speak at this month’s Anglican Missional Pastor training thing, at which I have to preach.  Eep.  At least if I don’t like his book and he doesn’t like my sermon, it will be a nice trade-off.  Self-psychoanalytical moment: Why would I be approaching this book with such a negative attitude?  For one, the president of Moody Bible Institute provides praise on the back.  What has Duke done to me?  I never even slightly considered Moody myself, but I have been good friends with a couple really good people who went there, and I never used to despise that brand of Christian conservatism.  It (this stance in me) is ideological, and I don’t like it.  And now returning to Tuesday Reading Roundup…I do have some hope–I’ve had good luck with the couple NavPress books that I’ve read, this book is with NavPress, and Rinehart was a vice president with the Navigators as of the writing of the autobiographical blurb.

6. Supreme: The Story of the Year by Alan Moore–This one’s as close to a normal superhero comic as I’ve read since I got a free issue of X-Men at BagelFest as a kid (actually, it might have been Zack’s issue, and I think it talked about the importance of recycling), or perhaps that Power Team comic in which they fought a gang with lots of paperclips in their faces, and in which the Power Team won over evil by wielding a bulletproof Bible (the same version, The Sword, that the Power Team would sell you).  Anyway, that’s not to say that it’s normal at all.  Apparently Supreme was an existing superhero (according to Amazon, a super-violent rip-off of Superman) before Moore took over in 1996.  Moore reinvented Supreme as a new revision of the old character who has to travel to his past in order to recover from his amnesia.  As a new version of an old hero, this Supreme doesn’t know about his past, because it’s not his past, but the past of a different Supreme.  As Moore tells the story, the book alternates between sleek and shiny computer-aided graphics and a retro look from the thirties or forties.