My interview with the FUMC Library Ministry Team

One of the things I love about First United Methodist Church is our library and our Library Ministry Team who are committed to learning and reading. The following is an interview with Linda Fogleman who heads up this team who wanted to know about some of my personal reading habits.
In the near future, I hope to update a monthly “Pastor Recommends” section as well – so stay tuned.

Linda: Who was your favorite children’s author?
Pastor Kevin: C.S. Lewis

Linda: Name a favorite children’s book.
Pastor Kevin: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and all the books in the Chronicles of Narnia.

Linda: As a middle school reader, would you have been more likely to choose a book from biography, science fiction, fantasy, nature and science, fiction, or history?
Pastor Kevin: Because of C.S. Lewis, I began to love fantasy. I also loved reading J.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was much later that I learned of Lewis and Tolkien’s friendship and how they were committed to communicating deep truths of the Gospel through mythical tales from Narnia and Middle-earth.

Linda: What are you reading now?
Pastor Kevin: I like reading several things at the same time, usually one tome that I chip away at all year long and then other books I read along the way. Currently, this year’s tome is Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch and my other two are The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Leading Beyond the Walls: Developing Congregations with a Heart for the Unchurched by Adam Hamilton.

Linda: Who is your favorite author?
Pastor Kevin: That is a tough one, for I like so many. C.S. Lewis is way up there. I also love N.T. Wright, who has actually written some books very similar to Lewis. Anyone who loved Lewis’ Mere Christianity absolutely has to read Wright’s Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense – it is the kind of book that will invite you to fall in love with God and the Christian faith all over again. Here is a previous post where I addressed this some.

Linda: What was the last book you read for fun, for pleasure?
Pastor Kevin: Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton, and Erin Torneo. It was a book that was given to me when I first came to Graham, NC and I highly recommend it. Natives to Graham will likely remember parts of the story, and the people involved, as Cotton’s trial was held right here in the Alamance County Courthouse on Main St. I also liked that despite the senseless violence and pain that begins the book, there is a powerful story of forgiveness and reconciliation that follows.

Linda: Name five titles that have influenced you the most.
Pastor Kevin:

  1. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer radically challenged my understanding of grace and my desire to avoid “cheap grace.”
  2. The Wounded Healer by Henry Nouwen was the book I was given to read while I pursuing a graduate degree in psychology and caused me to rethink my vocational direction.
  3. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis is one of the best books on heaven, hell, and the freedom we have to choose for or against God that I have ever read.
  4. Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony by Willimon and Hauerwas changed the way I thought about the church and was likely part of the reason I came to Duke Divinity School. It was first published in 1989 and was a major influence on many seminaries and theology schools. I came to Duke one year later, in the fall of 1990.
  5. Under the Unpredictable Plant: Explorations in Vocational Holiness by Eugene Peterson was a book that helped me remember that pastoral ministry and holiness of heart and life are intricately tied together. I also love the way Peterson writes and how he utilizes Scripture, and have sought to do similarly in my own writing.

Linda: Name the one book that has meant the most to you.
Pastor Kevin: That’s an easy one – The Bible – but it is actually 66 books!

Linda: What do you read daily?
Pastor Kevin: The Bible and the New York Times (on my Kindle).

Linda: What is the book you want to read next?
Pastor Kevin: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.

Linda: You authored our adult Sunday school quarterly for the spring of 2011.  Are you planning other writing projects?
Pastor Kevin: I wrote a week’s worth of meditations in “The Upper Room Disciplines 2012” which is the daily meditation book for next year and is now currently available at Amazon and Upper Room Books. I am also writing a 5-week portion of the 2013 “Daily Bible Study” supplement resource that coincides with the Adult Bible Studies for June-July of 2013. A co-author book project that I am working on with Dr. Colon-Emeric from Duke Divinity School is still in the planning phase.

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