I've allowed myself to become paralyzed. I want to read all of these books equally (and more), and so as a consequence I read none of them. The paralysis comes from the idea that how can I sit down and read one of these when that will take so long and really I want to read all of them? It makes no sense, yet still this logic rules my life. Inherent in the act of sitting down to read one of these page by page is intractable guilt and anxiety that I can't do more, that I haven't done more, and that I am missing something by committing to this.
To quote a future book title of mine, Why Are We So Stupid? Of course what must be acknowledged is that maybe I'm just the crazy one and I'm not speaking for the group. Maybe you don't go through these machinations; probably you don't go through these machinations and this has been nothing but solipsistic, indulgent twaddle.
All that to say here is my solution of the week: I get to pick five, and I only get to read those five until they are read.
Will this work? Hell if I know, but I'm hoping so. I'm tired of being paralyzed.
Here are the lucky winners:
1. The Spirit of the Disciplines, by Dallas Willard. This was selected because it's going to be providing material for an upcoming sermon...I think.
2. A Praying Life, by Paul Miller. This was selected because this is Jess and I's book to go through and dialogue after each chapter. It was needed because we feel we both suck and/or are frustrated with the title endeavor.
3. A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, by Donald Miller. This was selected because maybe I want to write like him so I have to see how it's done. Plus it's good.
4. Reaching Out, by Henri Nouwen. This was selected because it's about getting in touch with the Holy Spirit, and I don't know real too much what that's about, but I feel a pressing to get that figured out.
5. Reason, Faith, and Revolution, by Terry Eagleton. This was selected because I perceive it to be a super-intellectual throwdown in favor of my side and I want to feel sharper about articulating my faith in this culture. Eagleton is smarter than you and me and six other people put together, so if I can piggyback and ride on his coatails to appear in some measure smart and informed then I will do that. Eagleton is difficult waters to navigate, though: He's an unreconstructed Marxist, (former?) Catholic, and England's foremost literary critic. So yeah, I might come away with some tools for articulating my faith but in the process I might also end up a left-wing socialist lesbian (not that there's anything wrong with that).
What's missing from this list? Novels, of course. I don't know, I just haven't felt like them lately.