An Open Letter
Reading for the Common Good:
How Books Help Our Churches and Neighborhoods Flourish
C. Christopher Smith
Paperback: IVP Books, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
By Ragan Sutterfield
I couldn’t write a straight review of your book. I know you too well and I couldn’t really be objective (not that that is an ideal). Instead I want to offer a kind of open letter, a way to reflect with you about the book and invite others into the conversation.
There are two things that guided my understanding of Reading for the Common Good. The first is that, like you, I cannot conceive of my faith apart from reading. As a child my faith was formed by fiction—Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time, and so many others. Later, it broadened to include philosophy and theology, the classics of the spiritual masters, and profound fiction such as The Brother Karamazov. My reading now is steady and varied, this year I’ve enjoyed books about microbiology and woodworking, Christian ethics in a time of climate change and a novel about a community in the midst of a fracking boom. All of it has something to say to my life as a Christian because such a life is lived through the God who is the creator and sustainer of all things. This is something you get and communicate so clearly in Reading for the Common Good. You share this deep love and dependence on books and you make that alive to the reader.