Tuesday, April 08, 2008

What I Am Reading Now: Or, This Is What Happens When Your Buddy "Tags" You

My friend Reid Monaghan "tagged" me to fill out this little survey about reading. I played along.

What are you reading on Spring reading days?

I do not have Spring reading days. Currently I am reading various works of Jonathan Edwards for my class on the same. "Heaven Is a World of Love" was recently on the list, and it was simply stunning. I'm also reading Voltaire's Candide for my Enlightenment class. This week I'll be working through The Life of David Brainerd by Edwards.

What do you wish you had time to read?

Well, I've been making time here and there to read the 1999 biography of John D. Rockefeller, Sr by Andrew Chernow entitled Titan. It is a masterpiece. It's a bit fiduciary for my tastes; I don't have a great mind for finances (just ask my wife). However, Chernow explains the financial stuff with clarity and punch, and that makes for easier reading. The material on Rockefeller's personal life is absorbing. As with all good biographies, I get lost in his world while reading. He's such a fascinating figure--an extremely moral, ethical Christian who nonetheless torques the business world to advance the interests of his oil trust, Standard Oil Company. He becomes the richest man in the world, and yet he does so while constantly encountering very complex moral questions that do not have easy answers. What is the Christian response to predatory pricing? To the free market? Should one work to crush competitors, or is it more ethical to allow them to exist even when their extinction could be achieved? The biography raises such matters, and is simply a joy to read. Biography is perhaps my favorite type of writing to read, with the possible exception of fictional character studies of the type that novelist Tom Wolfe does (I Am Charlotte Simmons, Bonfire of the Vanities).

What have you decided NOT to read that you were assigned to read.

Hmmm. Nothing. I need to read it all. I should read it all, as I'll benefit from it all.

What is one great quote from your reading?

Jonathan Edwards on the absence of jealousy in heaven--"The saints shall know that God loves them, and they shall never doubt the greatness of his love, and they shall have no doubt of the love of all their fellow inhabitants in heaven. And they shall not be jealous of the constancy of each other's love. They shall have no suspicion that the love which others have felt toward them is abated, or in any degree withdrawn from themselves for the sake of some rival, or by reason of anything in themselves which they suspect is disagreeable to others, or through any inconstancy in their own hearts or the hearts of others. Nor will they be in the least afraid that the love of any will ever be abated toward them. There shall be no such thing as inconstancy and unfaithfulness in heaven, to molest and disturb the friendship of that blessed society. The saints shall have no fear that the love of God will ever abate towards them, or that Christ will not continue always to love them with unabated tenderness and affection. And they shall have no jealousy one of another, but shall know that by divine grace the mutual love that exists between them shall never decay nor change."

Why are you blogging? (You’re supposed to be reading!)

Because by blogging on reading, I'll hopefully induce others to read. I've highlighted two excellent things to read here, and I hope some will check them out.

Also, though, I love to write. It's a bit like breathing for me, except I only do it for a few moments each day. I suppose, then, that I only breathe for a few daily moments. Somehow, that's enough for me. To write is to live; to live is to write.

(Take that, snarky question asker.)

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