Summer Resolution #1

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I’ve decided a few summer resolutions are in order.  The first is an evaluation of my free time.  I am resolving to spend three hours each day this summer reading on a schedule (this probably is not far above my average time spent reading – but I get in a media rut in the summers), before devoting any time to media.   Here is how I want to break it down, and I am coming to you all for suggestions:
1 hour/day – scholarly reading (I am likely to devote most of this time to RO, but may throw in some other good suggestions)

1 hour/day – enrichment reading (I am thinking I need to go back through writings by Plato, Shakespeare, Foster, Westerhoff, et al – but again, I am open for suggestions)

1 hour/day – enjoyment reading (Anybody read a great novel recently?)



  1. I’d like to schedule my reading better. I get in roughly that amount as well but it tends to be a bit more haphazard than I should really like.

    -What on RO are you planning on reading? I could offer suggestions off of that.

    – Over the summer I’m embarking on my epic historical philosophy phase. So I’m starting with Aristotle’s Organon and moving on to his other primary works; On the Soul, Metaphysics, Physics, Nich. Ethics, etc… Could you possibly combine your academic with enrichment?

    -I just read the Brothers Karamazov and it was powerful. I look forward reading his other work. So if you’ve not yet read Dostoevsky I’d definitely put it on the short list.


  2. For enjoyment reading – it’s not exactly new (c. 1980), but I just finished reading Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children,” and it was fantastic. (And a tad easier than Dostoevsky!)


  3. @Tony,

    I am finishing up Smith’s work on “Introducing RO,” and I think I am going from there to Ward, to Long and haven’t thought past it from there. I also have Wright’s “Justification” that James gave me for my birthday – I am going to read it next.

    I am at a place where scholarly reading I do to “keep up” (or “catch up” as is often the case), and it is sometimes also enriching. The reading I want to do for enrichment will be to be a better ______ (you know – Christian, father, nerd, etc)

    I am actually at the beginning of the “The Brothers K” right now – weird.

    @ Joel – Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll look it up!


  4. Shawn,

    Well it might be a lot of work, but running through Milbank’s Theology and Social Theory before others might really help place them in perspective even if they (Long, Ward, et. al.) differ in ways here or there. It really is a sort of ‘founding’ book for the ‘movement.’

    Regarding Ward, I’m soon to write up a couple posts on him so you can take what you want from those. I’ve not read Long yet so I can offer no notes but that he seems a cool chap as I run into him on blogs.

    Obviously there is the collection entitled Radical Orthodoxy: A New Theology which you already know about, and to get a wider perspective I’d add another RO’ish collection of essays edited by Phillip Blond, Post-Secular Philosophy: Between Philosophy and Theology.

    With respect to systematics, though he does not call himself RO, nor does he agree with everything RO, David Bentley Hart’s epic The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth agrees with a many Milbankian and RO perspectives.


  5. Tony,

    I appreciate your advice, and I trust your evaluation. I’ll just have to take the plunge, so to speak. I have read all of these authors as contributors and essayists, but not their full published books. I must confess, Milbank is a rough read for me, because I don’t have the background in formal philosophical training necessary to breeze through his work.


  6. This summer, I resolve that you guys lighten up a bit and read the entire corpus of P. G. Wodehouse. Dostoevsky in the summertime? Seriously? He’s best read in the fall or winter when weather-based depression helps you get in a sympathetic mood.

    Skip Radical Orthodoxy and just read the Orthodox. The 4-volume Philokalia is always interesting.

    As for amusing fare, I highly recommend Flyfishing with Darth Vader by Matt Labash or the classic exercise in comedic political science, The Parliament of Whores by P.J. O’Rourke.


  7. Ha, like I do any better! I just stumble through as best I can. Almost everything I read in academics is over my head, being as I am completely self taught in theology and apart from a great intro course, in philosophy as well.

    Hell, that’s part of the reason I’m starting to read Aristotle. Everybody I read is constantly talking about him so I might as well get to it.


  8. George,

    Those are all great suggestions. I am waiting on the Philokalia because in another year I could read it in Greek, but I am to read some Athanasius so that should fulfill some Eastern credits.

    I’ll look into anything about Darth Vader to be sure.


  9. George,

    I always thought “My Man Jeeves” looked like fun, I might have to try it out.

    The Philokalia would definitely fit into my “enrichment” parameters, and I was hoping that someone could recommend funny books for enjoyment. My tastes usually run along the lines of Christopher Moore, but he is too raunchy for some so I don’t recommend him often. “Fly Fishing” may not be my cup of tea, I really do detest politics so much that I don’t know that I can even make fun of them without getting annoyed – but I’ll try not to judge a book by its cover.


  10. Oh, and George, I live in the Desert Southwest, I don’t think I ever get the kind of weather induced depression appropriate for Dostoevsky. Give it a year, and depending on where my Diocese sends me for priestly formation I might be able to toe that line.


  11. double weird…I just read Brother’s Karamazov a few months ago. (way past time I did, too)

    If you’re looking for enjoyment reading, Kurt Vonnegut. Funny, mind-bending, morally challenging. My introduction to Vonnegut was reading the table of contents to Cat’s Cradle. The table of contents alone are more enjoyable than most modern fiction.


  12. If you have not done so, I suggest you all read a book that James gave me. It is a wonderful piece of post-apocalytpic, science fiction titled “A Canticle for Leibowitz”

    you won’t regret it.


  13. I just want to say that I hate everyone who has summers off.

    In the good novel category, I’m thinking of reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. It’s been sitting on my shelf for awhile. DFW is pretty freaking amazing.

    For enrichment I’m listening to all the lectures of UC Berkley’s course on Non-violence which is made available for free from ITunes university. But, I guess those of you in school don’t want to listen to a bunch of class lectures during your summer break. For those of us who are jonesing to go back to school they are like drinking cool water on a 90 degree May afternoon.


  14. I have a sort of guilt trip any time I am recommended contemporary novels because I’ve not even read the Classics. “First let me get to some Dickens (I say) and then I’ll get to this Japanese post-modern novelist dude you’re talking about.”


  15. Tony,

    I’ve read a lot of the so-called “classics.” I say don’t waste your time reading everything that has caught that moniker. Do the real Classics, (i.e. Golden and Silver Age Greek and Roman), read Medieval literature (far more interesting and intelligent than it gets credit for) and skim through some Renaissance stuff. Skip Dickens and almost anything else written in Victorian England (maybe keep Trollope), cliff notes Shelley, keep Dostoyevsky and the other 19th century Russians, do Kafka, skip anything written in America until the early 20th century (except Melville, but only if you REALLY like boats) read Steinbeck, then do some Graham Greene, then read David Foster Wallace. Of course I’m making some overly-sweeping statements, but not THAT overly-sweeping.


    1. Joey Nichols Yeah, I would say it’d be good for newer believers or for smeoone who is seriously seeking and wants to know what those Christians believe as he explores the Bible. Josh’s writing is really accessible and comes across as honest’. For what it’s worth, even as a more seasoned’ believer, I find his approach to the subject refreshing, and his illustrations are down to earth.


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