October Edition: What Faculty are Reading & Watching

Written by Ryan Fallgren
October 17, 2013

"When it comes to discerning what to read, watch or listen to in the precious time we have, it is always helpful to have the suggestions of people who read and experience new information as part of their living. Some of our faculty share here monthly the books they are reading, as well as the electronic media they are listening to or viewing.?? Most of us have a stack of books at our bedside, while some of us have stacks near our reading chair, our cocktail table and any other horizontal surface capable of supporting weight.?? Most of us also have long lists of films we want to see or music groups we hope to experience.? When it is possible, some of the faculty will give you a few words of evaluation of what is occupying their leisure time.
In a world with too many options for reading and watching, we hope faculty suggestions will help you in your discernment process about what to read on your journey."?

~ Dean Mark S. Markuly, PhD?

Michael Reid Trice, PhDDr. Michael Reid Trice

I?m reading:

  • Our very own United Methodist Bishop Grant Hagiya?s book Spiritual Kaisen: How to Become a Better Church Leader.? I recommend it for its insightfulness on the future of leadership and church culture.
  • If you want a very accessible read that emphasizes the stories of faith and hospitality, pick up My Neighbor?s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth and Transformation, Orbis, 2012.? I?ve used this in my course on Reconciliation.? The students loved it.
  • You never go wrong by returning to Augustine in the autumn.? His biographical magnum opus, Confessions, is saturated with meaningfulness from a life informed by faith that seeks to understand (and be understood).? I keep a copy of the Confessions close by in the fall of each year.
  • Finally, for those who are grieving I recommend Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying (2003).? It is helpful for reflection and self-discovery.


Dr. Leticia Guardiola-S?enz

"A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts" by Hal Taussig





Dick Cunningham, PhDDr. Dick Cunningham

Two books have captured my interest in the past month.? They are very different and great reads because each challenges basic assumptions ? one about US global involvement and the other about the nature and purpose of religion.?

  • ?Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, by Jeremy Scahill - Scahill is a National Security Correspondent for the Nation magazine and New York Times Best Seller.?? He has reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, the former Yugoslavia, and elsewhere across the globe.Dirty Wars systematically examines the complex and perplexing changes in the military operations of the United States globally and inside the US.? 9-11 marks the beginning of a significant power shift in the White House and Department of Defense, funded through ?black budgets?. Scahill goes beneath the surface of covert wars, conducted in the shadows, outside the range of the press, without effective congressional oversight or public debate.Dirty Wars follows the consequences of the declaration that ?the world is a battlefield,? as Scahill uncovers the most important foreign policy story of our time. This is a must read for those concerned about US domestic and foreign policy and a faith that does justice.
  • Religion Under Attack: Getting Theology Right, by Nigel Leaves - Nigel Leaves begins by stating that ?Religion is back, but perhaps for all the wrong reasons?? Speaking from his own experience the author challenges the reader to examine what religion means.?? He suggest that we address two questions:? ?Why is your religion worth bothering with?? and more pointedly, ?What kind of God do you want me to worship? if I follow your religion??? These interrogations led the author to wonder whether, and at least to suspect that, the current predicament of religion derives for the God it proclaims.? That is the central thrust of this book.

Television Viewing:
Television has become a enormous and costly wasteland, as programs play to mind numbing interactions and reinforce a world of violence and fear.? Two PBS programs run counter to mainstream television.? These hopeful alternatives are Doc Martin and Last Tango in Halifax.? Each program offers comedic drama, without a laugh track, while developing strong characters, challenging dialogue, and provocative social issues.? Both of these programs can be viewed on the internet, thus eliminating the need for costly cable.?


Christie Eppler, PhDDr. Christie Eppler
My favorite book I've read recently is Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (the same author who wrote The Invention of Hugo Cabret): http://www.wonderstruckthebook.com. It is a story filled with (mis)connections, search for family, quests for missing objects, and puzzles. One story set in the late 1970's is told in words; a parallel story set 50 years earlier is told though pictures. It is visually stunning, and a fun read.

I went to see the film "Gravity". I've heard so many reviews speak of isolation, but I think it is a story of zest, grit, and healing. I've also watched the first few episodes of the television show "The S.H.I.E.L.D." since I'm a Joss Whelon/Avengers/Super Hero fan. I also just bought Mary Oliver's book "Dog Songs".

Recently, I joined "I Run4" an organization that connects runners and kids with special needs. I was assigned a buddy, and I dedicated a 10K-benefit to fight childhood cancer that I ran with Dr. Andrew Davis' wife to my new little friend.

?Dr. Andrew Davis
This summer I read two longish novels: The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.? Now that we're in the school year I'm back to reading short fiction, esp. Alice Munro and William Trevor. My wife and I turned my three year old on to "Fiddler on the Roof", and now we often watch YouTube clips on the music numbers. Otherwise, "Modern Family" and football on Sunday are our only must-see TV.