Tuesday, February 03, 2009

100th post/Reading...(the Feb. 3 edition)

It took me almost 4 years to reach 100 posts.

I have almost reached as many posts in the 5 weeks of 2009 as my total between 2007 and 2008. I struggle to predict when the writing will flow. Maybe the Nike proverb of just do it applies to more than exercise.

On to Reading...

Jeff Galloway. Galloway's Book On Running (Shelter Publishing)

Jeff Galloway has been writing for Runner's World magazine for years. He was an Olympic marathoner in the 1972 Munich games. My brother gave me this book for Christmas a few years ago. For a couple of years I only skimmed this book at best. After ACL surgery about 5 years ago, I thought my basketball and running avocations were over. Basketball--yes, it's over. Running has returned to my fitness scene, years after I thought I was doomed to the elliptical trainer and the occasional cross-training activity. I was inspired by a 2008 Stanford study about how long term runners can have better joint health than non-runners. If this Stanford study is true, then Galloway's book is even more important for the prospect of becoming a long-term runner (being a runner for decades). He not only coaches runners for performance, but his website also speaks volumes about the wisdom of running and the truth of the Stanford study: www.runinjuryfree.com I never gave much thought to injury prevention in fitness--I always used to be young (not so much so any more). I don't know why the epiphany now--I've had my share of injuries. However, most of those injuries were not consequences of bad training or preparation--only being overly aggressive. I didn't realize until reading Galloway's book that my approach to running--finding the best combination of distance and speed--was foolish. If you take a look at this book, prepare to have your ego and conventional wisdom about running and fitness challenged.

James K. Wellman, Jr. Evangelical vs. Liberal: The Clash of Christian Cultures in the Pacific Northwest (Oxford University Press)

Wellman teaches in the Comparative Religion program at the University of Washington. For me, he is one of the top 5 writers in the Religous Studies field today. I'm a bit geeky about anything dealing with the Pacific Northwest and Religion. That doesn't mean that anyone who writes on the subject is good--he challenges assumptions (including his own) about tired methodologies and frames about religous topics. Within the first 30 pages of this text, Wellman challenges public discourse dichotomies of liberal and conservative. Ever since I read James Davison Hunter's sociological study of the Culture Wars during my Sociology of Religion class at Wesley Seminary, I have also pondered the deficient language that left and right, liberal and conservative offer to public and academic discourse. Someday soon I hope to take on this questions more in depth--but at this time, my interest in Pacific Northwest religion is hobby that I can build into a vocation

Richard Swanson. Provoking the Gospel of Mark: A Storyteller's Commentary (Pilgrim Press).

Swanson does not produce a typical preacher's commentary. His mind works differently than many biblical scholars. First of all, he doesn't try to rub intellectual prowess in a preacher's face. Second, he avoids churchly and cultural taboos that may inhibit getting to the heart of a biblical text. "Provoking" is the operative word here. Swanson practices interpretation of the text through playing out biblical scenes with drama. This provides fresh insights to a particular gospel lesson. Provoking also entails preachers and other interested parties to consider numerous angles of textual meaning. I don't often come out of reading Swanson with a specific homiletical drive, but my mind is always expanded. Shouldn't any commentator be able to do that? Unfortunately, most commentaries are deficient in pondering the depths of a biblical text.

By the next time I offer a reading list, I hope to add a piece of literature from Keith Law's top 100 books.

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