Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Formative firsts: 10+ books that have inspired or affected me

“List 10 books that have affected you. They don't have to be great works of literature, they just have to be books that have spoken to you in some way.” Here's my list, in no particular order:
  • Creation, the law, and the prophets: Pearl S. Buck, The Story Bible: how I learned half the Old Testament, when I was in sixth grade
  • Intro to the New Testament I and to liturgical English: The American 1928 Book of Common Prayer, my first liturgy
  • Intro to the New Testament II and to written Latin, and forming a conscience; practical guide to being Catholic: St. Joseph's Sunday Missal from around 1962 with its examination of conscience in back, and the traditional Roman Missal generally
  • C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
  • C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
  • Don’t trust the government! George Orwell, 1984, read in 1984
  • George Orwell, Animal Farm
  • Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
  • Paul Fussell, Class
  • Betty Edwards, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Unlock artistic talent by literally seeing things as they are; also a spiritual point
Honorable mentions: St. Thomas Aquinas (the greatest theologian); Fr. Seraphim (Rose), The Soul After Death; Cyril Korolevsky translated by Serge (Keleher), Metropolitan Andrew (history of Greek Catholicism); Bud Macfarlane Jr., Pierced By a Sword; Malachi Martin, Windswept House; Thomas Day, Why Catholics Can't Sing; Canon Winfred Douglas's Monastic Diurnal; the 1920s Anglo-Catholic Prayer Book from Faith House; the Uniontown Greek Catholic office books; the Msgr. William Levkulic Greek Catholic pew book (Byzantine basics, and how I started learning Russian); the Baltimore Catechism No. 3 (just the facts, ma’am); and Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited.

So you've got serious pre-1970s Episcopal as the base (credal and liturgical basics), on which is built pre-Vatican II Catholicism (all the theology and religious practice beyond the basics; V2's right about the vernacular, religious liberty, and ecumenism, none of which are doctrine) with Russian Byzantium as an alternative backdrop (hooray for the Greek Catholic option), and just a dose of libertarian wariness of the secular powers that be.

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