Summer Reading, vol. 1: Brent Strawn

Congratulations to the Emory and Candler communities on a stellar year— and particular congratulations to students in the Class of 2017! Whether you are headed to a new job, new school, or a well-deserved vacation, Pitts has polled faculty and staff to find the perfect books to keep you company.

For our first entry, we spoke to Dr. Brent Strawn, Professor of Old Testament and Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Candler. First on Dr. Strawn’s list is Helmut Thielicke’s A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, which provides wide-reaching and insightful advice for seminarians, including those new to the field. In addition to this short and sweet volume, Dr. Strawn also suggests the C.S Lewis classic The Great Divorce. Dr. Strawn tries to reread both of these works every year despite his busy schedule.

As a final suggestion, Dr. Strawn recommends Henri Nouwen’s In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership. Nouwen wrote this slim volume during his tenure as a priest at Daybreak, a L’Arche community. In his own words, Nouwen hoped to explain, “how I live from day to day after having spoken for twenty years to young men and women preparing themselves for ministry” (Prologue). We absolutely agree with Dr. Strawn’s recommendation of this “inspiring” book! Nouwen’s thoughts on bridging the gap between the academic study of theology and the lived experience of ministry have particular significance to all of us who are a part of the Candler community.

Last, but not least, since Dr. Strawn was too modest to add any of his own publications to this list, we will go ahead and brag for him! Dr. Strawn’s newest book, “The Old Testament is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment” came out earlier this year. We would highly recommend this timely monograph, which urges contemporary Christians to study the Old Testament (and study it well), mining this rich resource for new life in the church!

Many thanks to Dr. Strawn for his wonderful suggestions– stay tuned for more faculty and staff summer reading ideas in the upcoming months!