Saturday, March 6, 2010

Touching Base! Part 77

What Are The Staff Reading?
By Carmen Gauvin-O’Donnell

(This article can also we found on our website at under the tab called “Blog”)

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God’s Word needs to be discussed in community.

This TB topic was actually suggested to me on the squash court by Julie Wight. She has just finished reading Yann Martel’s book, What is Stephen Harper Reading? and told me that she’d love to know what the Bethel staff have been reading lately. Well, Julie, your dream has come true: not only do you get to play squash with me every week, but I even do everything you tell me! :)

Firstly, I can say that since his arrival, Mark has repeated (many many times! :)) in our hearing that “Leaders are Readers.” I wholeheartedly concur and would even take it further: learners are readers, and learning is a life-long process. Is there nothing on earth more difficult than carrying on a conversation with someone who is stagnant… hasn’t cracked a book/newspaper/magazine in years… has no idea what’s going on in the world… and has no interest in changing that fact? It’s painful, believe me.

So Mark encourages us all to read… and not just Christian theology either… we need to get out there and read all sorts of stuff, even stuff we might disagree with (if we’re comfortable with the idea). In Oliver Wendell Holmes’ words, “Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

So here’s to stretching the brain! And at some point, we’ll have another posting about what the staff are studying in God’s Word.

Now YOU let US know what you’ve been reading! Feel free to use the “comment” box on the blog site online.



The Brotherhood of War, W.E.B. Griffin. I usually re-read this 10-volume military series every few years. In it, the author focuses on and fictionalizes some lesser-known American military engagements: the conflict against the communists in Greece, the Congo and the Bay of Pigs, among others, by following the careers of some core characters who simply grow on you!

The Pocket Guide to Amish Life, Mindy Starns Clark. This excellent short little book covers everything you wanted to know about the Amish, and even provides the pros and cons of each belief/tradition.

The Reason for Sports, Ted Kluck. Many believers seem to think that we Christians should be ‘above’ sports somehow. That stuff is all so … secular. But surely, one can love God and still watch/play sports?! As a lot of you know, I love sports, and that’s why I read this book.


Church Unique, Will Mancini. This tool is helping the Bethel leadership develop God’s vision for Bethel.

Knowing God, J.I. Packer. This classic work aims to redirect our attention to the simple, deep truth that to know God is to love His Word, and covers topics such as the trinity, election, God's wrath, and His sovereignty.

The Celtic Way of Evangelism, George Hunter. Celtic Christianity was one of the most successfully evangelistic branches of the church in history. The Celtic church converted Ireland from paganism to Christianity in a remarkably short period, and then proceeded to send missionaries throughout Europe. The North American environment today is really no different than the pagan Ireland of the Middle Ages, hence the usefulness of the Celtic method.

In the President’s Secret Service, Ronald Kessler. A behind-the-scenes look at the Secret Service, which safeguards both the American President and other VIPs, and the nation’s financial infrastructure.


The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey. This book helped me to see Jesus in a new light, and fall head-over-heels for Him again! It really challenges our assumptions, and the things about Jesus and the Kingdom that we take for granted.

Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers, Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. I've just started this one, but I think it's going to be amazing. It's talking about how prayer and action must go hand in hand, "Otherwise we have little more than a bunch of inactive believers or worn-out activists, and neither do much good for the world."

Anne's House of Dreams, L.M. Montgomery. Carmen said they don't all have to be theological - so I'll tell you honestly that I just finished reading this one... again (about the 5th time)... and I've cried every time.


...has been taking a Small Engine repair course in his spare time, so all his reading has been in small engine repair manuals… but he’s not finished yet so NO, you cannot call him to ask if he can look at your lawnmower! :)


Crazy Love, Francis Chang. A must-read for everyone! Chan writes with infectious exuberance, challenging Christians to take the Bible seriously. He describes at length the sorry state of lukewarm Christians who strive for a life characterized by control, safety and an absence of suffering.

Student Ministry and the Supremacy of Christ, Richard Ross. Ross introduces a new student ministry paradigm our churches desperately need.

Don't Waste your Life, John Piper. A must-read for college/university students, warning people away from a life that counts for nothing-and into a life that means everything.

When I don't Desire God; How to Fight for Joy, John Piper. The title speaks for itself.


The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible, Scott McKnight. McKnight uses an odd encounter with an out of place bird (without spoiling the story) to illustrate the way many people approach reading the Bible.

Forgotten God, Francis Chan. The author pleads passionately for the church to live by the power of the forgotten God: the Holy Spirit.

Primal, Mark Batterson. This book is an invitation to become part of a reformation movement. It is an invitation to rediscover the compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy that turned the world upside down two thousand years ago. It is an invitation to be astonished again.


The Reason for God, Timothy Keller. Keller mines material from literary classics, philosophy, anthropology and a multitude of other disciplines to make an intellectually compelling case for God.

Shake Hands with the Devil, Roméo Dallaire. For those who would understand the inexorable but entirely preventable unfolding of the Rwandan holocaust, this account, told from the eye of the storm, is indispensable.

Chrétien v. Canada (Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities, Gomery Commission), for my Administrative Law class. What a woman has to do to graduate around here…!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic blog. Nice to see unfamiliar titles recommended and favourite reads listed here.

I'm re-reading Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ, heard about it from Sharon Rusk at a coffee & conversation one Sunday.

As well as reading a new one from Bethel's library - Sister Freaks.

I usually have a Max Lucado close at hand, too. Just finished rereading his "Next Door Savior."

I hope other people post their current and favourite reads!