Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Question of the Week #6

Welcome to the sixth edition of Question of the Week. I hope you're enjoying answering these questions. I welcome you to email me with any thoughts, questions, or feedback. This week's question...

Have you read any Christian classics? Which would you recommend and why? If you haven't read any, why not? Are they too intimidating? Not enough time? Are any on your TBR pile?

My answer:

I've read some "Christian classics" through the years. I've read Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. I've read Hinds' Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard. I've read The Christian's Secret Of A Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith. Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.

I think some older books are intimidating, but I think others are more reader-friendly. The Christian's Secret of A Happy Life is a great example of that. Very conversational. Yes, there are thees and thous. But excepting that--which isn't all that incomprehensible--it's very down-to-earth and practical. In other words, just like in today's publishing world some authors are more accessible than others. Perhaps I need to think of other ways of saying what I want to say. You know how there are different categories in most Christian bookstores--devotionals, prayer, Christian living, biographies and memoirs, and theology--same goes for these classics. So you can find books that are right-for-you. Not every book will be. Then again the same is true for contemporary books.

I'm not one to see value only in "classics"--there are plenty of great books being published each year, each decade. But I don't think you should say, 'oh it's old, why bother?' either. It doesn't improve in quality because it's old. You'll find varying quality no matter what century a book is published. Good. Great. Excellent. Bad. Ugly. Just-plain-wrong.

I have plenty of books on my TBR shelves. Spurgeon. Pink. Edwards. Luther. Calvin. Just to name a few.


Anonymous said...

My answers are up:

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I've read the Screwtape Letters other than that I haven't read any, at least that I recall.
I'm certainly willing I guess that my main problem is the lack of knowledge.
My main source for book reviews is the New York times and the New Yorker, supplemented with random sources as I come across them, and what my friends and acquaintences recommend. None of these have been a source of Christian Classics.

I keep a spreadsheet on google docs of books I'm interested in reading. It is several hundred books long now. It grows about 4 or 5 times faster than I read books it gives me a resource to look at when I order books from the library.

I would try some Christian classics if I had an idea of what they were. I think your post today would be a starting point.

Amy said...

Hinds Feet on High Places is one of my all time favorite books! :)

Andromeda Jazmon said...

I've read a lot of the Christian Classics over the years. Hinds Feet is one of my favorite books from childhood. I often think of it when facing difficult times. I call myself "Much Afraid" when I am feeling whimpy.

I've also read C. S. Lewis,
Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
Thomas A Kempis Of the Imitation of
Brother Lawrence Practicing the Presence of God,
George Fox's Journal,
some Calvin,
Confessions of St. Augustine,
Cloud of Unknowing,
Rule of St. Benedict
You can read many of these online for free here.

More modern spiritual writers I have on my shelf that I am in the midst of or working on getting to are Margaret Guenther, Diana Butler Bass, Thomas Merton, and Lisa B. Hamilton's Wisdom form the Middle Ages for Middle Aged Women. I want to read more of the women's wisdom literature like Hildegard of Bingen, Clare of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, St. Teresa of Avila, and Catherine of Siena.

Unknown said...

I don't think I've read many Christian classics, except maybe Pilgrim's Progress, but oh boy, that's been a long time. I just am not a "classic" reader in general. I like my books modern and contemporary.

That's not to say I haven't ever enjoyed a classic in my life, there are many mainstream classics that I've read and enjoyed. "Classic" is probably my last choice of genre though.

Becky said...

Good point, Yogi. It's not always easy to know about Christian classics. Sure most people have probably heard of Pilgrim's Progress, but outside of one or two...they're not getting much word-of-mouth...and if there are bloggers who heart Christian classics and review them on a regular basis...and there very well might be, it's a big world after all...then I haven't discovered them...yet.

Sherrylinn said...

I've added mine as well. Thanks again for keeping us accountable!


hopeinbrazil said...

Hi Becky, Thanks for putting up such an interesting question this week. I read Pilgrim's Progress about every five years or so and it's always "fresh". There is a list of Christian classics on the sidebar of my blog. I add to it as I come across exceptional books.

Soozie4Him said...

I read Pilgrim's Progress years ago. For those intimidated by it, I recommend "Little Pilgrim's Progress", a children's version, but not all that easy, and very helpful. I've read some CS Lewis, Hinds Feet, and my FAVORITE "classic" is Corrie Ten Boom's "The Hiding Place". EVERYONE should read that one! I have many other classics on my shelves, and should get to them!

moot96 AT aol DOT com