Logsdon Faculty Summer Reading List
While many Logsdon students take summer classes, some choose to take a break, giving them time to relax, travel, and read. Logsdon professors have the perfect suggestions for a diverse and enlightening summer reading list.
Dr. Rodney Taylor, Associate Professor of Theology, recommends Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon’s, Resident Aliens. “The work of Stanley Hauerwas is broad and deep, but this summary gets to his essential point: times have changed, and the church should celebrate those changes rather than mourn them and try to hold on to some mythic Christian America past,” he said. “Here Hauerwas and Willimon explore how the church is always a counterculture rooted in a way of life that is different from the world. At the heart of his message is a call not to withdrawal but to witness. By embodying Christ, the church creates a different vision of human life that tells the world of God’s salvation.”
Taylor also commends Christian Ethics: A Brief History by Michael Banner. “How do Christians live in the world? How did they live in the world? In a book that lives up to its title, Michael Banner succinctly explores how Christians have thought about living rightly from the early days of the church until the present time,” Taylor said. “From Benedict and Augustine to Karl Barth and John Paul II, Banner neatly summarizes the different challenges the church has faced in different epochs, and how the church has responded, both well and poorly, to those difficulties. A helpful companion to the Hauerwas book that reminds us that the church has always been a pilgrim people.
Finally, Taylor suggests that students ready Charles Marsh’s God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights. “Where was God during the civil rights era? How could some churches exclude fellow Christians based on the color of their skin? Charles Marsh details how our theology—our beliefs—can lead away from or to God’s presence in the messy realities of our world,” Taylor said. “Recounting the stories of five people in early 1960s Mississippi—an older black woman struggling for civil rights, a white Methodist minister, a white Southern Baptist minister, a grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and a young civil rights activist swept up into the black power movement—Marsh provides a vivid analysis of the intersection of theology, faith and politics, and how so many Christians were led astray as they proved better at being Southerners than being Christians.” Taylor called this book a classroom favorite.
Dr. Myles Werntz, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics and Practical Theology, plans to read Oliver O’Donovan’s, The Ways of Judgment. O’Donovan is “one of the premier theologians working on how and why political judgment matters, and what all that has to do with the Christian life,” Werntz says.
He also recommends John of Damascus’, The Orthodox Faith, the first systematic theology of Eastern Christianity from the 8th century, and one of the landmarks of Christian theology. Finally, Werntz is reading Kathryn Tanner’s, Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism, an account of the relationship between Christianity and money, and how Christian theology provides a more sound basis for thinking about economics.
Dr. Kelly Pigott, Professor of Church History, recommends reading The Overstory by Richard Powers. Pigott says it is beautifully written, and nature plays a major role in the narrative. He’s also reading The Expanse: Tiamat’s Wrath, the eighth novel in James S. A. Corey’s sci-fi series. He says he recommends the book “because, duh, it’s THE EXPANSE and I’m a huge fan.”
When she isn’t writing poetry, Dr. Susan Pigott, Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, enjoys reading mystery novels. She also recommends N. D. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, a Hugo Award-winning sci-fi fantasy. Under the apocalyptic storyline, Jemisin writes a powerful social critique commenting on how society treats the marginalized.