Reading List:April

Only five books this month, and not terribly voluminous ones at that.

I am not really sure what happened, save only for certain distractions and occupations of recent tumults.

Admittedly, the first quatrain of days was almost wholly devoted to various referential readings of the Messiah – His pre-existence, His foretelling, His imminence, His life & work, His death & resurrection, His return, and His glory forever.

Following hard upon these studies, the works that I read thereafter could not help but seem frivolous and trifling… with only rare exception.

I can say that I feel this was a much better month for reading than the last… or, at least, it seems as such.

Here and now, is my record of readings for the month of April:

Discipling Music Ministry: 21st Century Directions by Calvin M. Johansson

An extraordinary and refreshingly ambitious work. Spanning theology, philosophy, history, culture and theory, the author outlines a “holistic” approach to the “Sacred Music” ministry – and succeeds elegantly at dealing with the various facets of these issues in a concise and rigorous manner.

Lean yet very strong, this work is infinitely quotable – especially in its stern criticisms of modern “self-love” trends as well as the unreasoned adherences to “arbitrary” traditional conventions.

Recommended for any considering a calling to the ministries of Music in Christian worship, as well as those already engaged thus.

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

Not for the faint of heart, nor for the limited of vocabulary.

This rambling tome by master historian Edward Gibbon is written in a flowingly ornate narrative style – relating the events of Rome`s fall in storybook fashion. Long-winded and oftentimes tedious, Gibbon never fails to wax philosophical in his interpretation of events – especially in regards to the relationship of the burgeoning Christian faith within the arc of Roman culture.

His overt and obdurate anti-religious biases notwithstanding, I would still recommend it to the ardent student of History… though I would certainly need to caution them to keep a sharp critical eye out for Gibbon`s numerous philosophical/theological blunders.

The Book of Ezra

Yet another work pertaining to History this month… the book of Ezra: a chronicle of the events occurring near the close of the Babylonian captivity of the Israelites.

A turning point – to begin again from a new beginning. By GOD`s Grace, the Babylonian king grants the Israelites passage to return to their homeland… a homeland that has more of an appearance of a “ghost town” than the “land of milk & honey” of ancient remembrance

Ezra was a man of powerful personal conviction, as well as a resolute man of GOD`s Law in the mold of Moses (and the dear Patriarchs). He was GOD`s man in an exceedingly difficult time, and a thrilling testimony to the wonder of the LORD`s loving-kindness towards His people.

Recommended for any that wish to behold the might and glory of GOD.

The Life of Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare

Though not historically reliable in-and-of itself, Shakespeare`s Timon of Athens is based upon a real person. However, this is a work that finds its home more with philosophy than with anthropology.

Being nearly incomprehensible in some parts and emanating sheer literary genius in others, it is notably uneven. However, if one can get past the curiously uncharacteristic foibles, there is a rich treasure of a story underneath.

Hedonistic excess, dim but inexorable hope, irrational cynicism, and the misanthropic endings of a wholly man-centered person are on display here – in a story that, in my humble opinion, ranks among the best stories “the Bard” ever wrote.

Recommended for misanthropic fools and guileless optimists.

William Blake: The Gates of Paradise by Michael Bedard

Blake was someone I always consciously avoided studying as I was growing up – for no better reason than so many “know it all” busybody teachers (and other adults peripherally interested in my intellectual welfare) seemed to think I shared so much in common with him.

However, it was only after the serious studies I made of Blake in my older years that forced me to concede some slim wisdom in their appraisals.

Written in simple and straightforward prose, this work serves as an excellent introduction to both William Blake as a man and that bizarre mystic center from which his fantastical artistic visions flowed.

April has ebbed and flowed in a fearful asymmetry of bearing and temperance. Some warm balmy days amongst the frigid northers and sopping stormy evenings. Now, `tis at its ending…

I bid these days and words a very fond “adieu” knowing that a loving remembrance has been kept for them both within the expanse of my heart.

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