Having completed reading Spirituality and Theology, which was a generally good experience, I am now reading The Undoing of Death by the delightfully named Fleming Rutledge, which is a book of sermons.
I have read the first two and I'm not sure. Not sure, that is, about reading rather than hearing sermons. They are well crafted and I'm sure have been editted to some extent for publication. They are competent (meeting most of my criteria for good preaching) but reading them is not the same as hearing them would be. The whole 'shape' and 'feel' of an act of worship is lost, the ebb and flow of (loosely used in my case) liturgy is missing and even though I have experienced the style of worship in which she preaches, something is missing.
Maybe I'm not the typical reader of the book - I am not dipping in to it, nor am I seeking ideas to pinch for sermons of my own, rather I am systematically using it as devotional resource. I will stick at it, not simply becuase I'm stubborn like that, but because I'm sure that there are pearls to be discovered along the way.
After this (or even as an interruption to it) it will time to read this year's Archbishop's Lent book, which I've just ordered from dear old Amazon. Samuel Wells Power and Passion is reviewed thus on the St Andrew's Press website: -
Samuel Wells vividly paints the stories surrounding Jesus’ cross and resurrection. We see the weakness of Pontius Pilate and Barabbas, and the compromised character of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. We discover the subtle power of Pilate’s wife. And in Peter and Mary Magdalene we find the true power of resurrection, bringing forgiveness and ending the stranglehold of death, thus transforming all human passion. Through close readings of the gospel texts, Wells demonstrates the significance of these characters for faith and life today. In this book, structured with one chapter for each week of Lent, Wells guides us from the deathly power that put Jesus on the cross to the new power brought by Jesus’ resurrection. The book offers opportunities at the end of each chapter for prayer and discussion. The Archbishop of Canterbury has selected Power and Passion as his Lent book for 2007.
Sounds good and definitely meets the 'improving book' requirements!!