Summer Reading & Thinking Theologically
Summer is approaching and visions of curling up with a good book while sitting by a lake or by the ocean bring a welcome sigh of pleasure!
I enjoy reading with theological lenses from time to time. Here are three books from Geraldine Brooks – all historical dramas - that I would recommend for this purpose.
YEAR OF WONDERS (2001)
This story is based on a true story of a town in England (Eyam) that quarantined itself during the plague so that other towns wouldn’t be affected by the disease that was rampant in their own community.
When I read this story, I felt as though it were a parable of 9/11 and its aftermath. This is a community that has the plague, and like our country’s reaction to 9/11 fear takes hold of this community. People in this country responded differently to their fears after the terrorist attack. That’s also the case in this story – people respond to the catastrophe in different ways.
Questions for theological reflection:
1. What are the different ways that people react to fear in this story? In the Bible the phrase, “do not be afraid” appears 59 times! What does fear do to this community spiritually?
2. Think about the following terms that are commonly used in church-speak. Where are examples in this story of betrayal, hypocrisy, brokenness, sacrifice, compassion, grace, redemption?
PEOPLE OF THE BOOK (2008)
A lot is made of the differences between the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths. After reading this book, it might be worthwhile to reflect on what our similarities are and how we can use that for making healthy connections between the three faiths today!
These are three favorite books of mine. What about you? What books of fiction would you recommend for summer reading that can be read with a theological lens?