In 2013, we are encouraging our readers to mix up their reading habits, and read (or re-read) classics in addition to new books, such as the ones we review here in the ERB.
Broadly speaking, a classic is any book that is not a new book, or in other words that is worth reading five, ten or even one hundred years after its initial publication. ERB Editor Chris Smith has an article on The Huffington Post website arguing for reading a mix of classics and new books in 2013.
We’ve asked a number of noted writers to pick the classics that they often return to, and we will be running these lists as a weekly feature on our website through 2013.
This week’s post in the series is by ERB Editor, Chris Smith.
Writers on the Classics:
[ #1 – Shane Claiborne ] [ #5 (Last Week) – Ragan Sutterfield ]
Chris Smith is the author of five books, including The Virtue of Dialogue: Conversation as a Hopeful Practice of Church Communities (Patheos Press 2012) . He is currently finalizing the manuscript for a book entitled Slow Church, co-written with John Pattison (forthcoming IVP Books, Late 2013). John and Chris blog about this new book project on Patheos.
Here is my list of the classics that I return to often. Of course, this list might be different if you asked me next week…
The Rule of Saint Benedict
This the classic work on living in Christian community that has influenced century after century of Christians seeking to live faithfully together as the people of God. Benedict offers us here a vision of what it might look like to foster a culture rooted in Christlike love.
John Cassian: The Conferences
A lively, and often bizarre, account of the earliest monastics: monks sitting on poles, subsisting on the barest of diets. This work is probably the best surviving narrative of the lives of the desert fathers and mothers. It will certainly challenge our ideas of what it means to follow seriously and radically in the way of Jesus.