Via Peter Sean Bradley, I hve been challenged to answer four simple questions and one direction to keep the virus going. I had to laugh at what Peter said about me, however: "for the culture that the High Church tradition can bring." It ain't me babe, no, no, no, it ain't me, babe, It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe. (See my response 4(4) below.) Here are the questions which I hope to complete in the near future (watch this space):
1. Total Number of Books I’ve Owned: All books -- ever? You gotta be kidding me? I've got no way of knowing -- just the text books I've gotten rid of run in the hundreds. Put it this way, when I moved back to DC from law school in the mid-70's I shiped back over 70 boxes of books by the U.S. Mail, each one with an average weight of 50 pounds.
I'd say the number of books I own currently is more than 1,000 but less than 2,000.
2. Last Book I Bought: Hmmm. I bought 3 grocery sacks of books at the library used book sale (during the last hour each bag was just $5). Among my finds was Charles Murray & Catherine Bly Cox's Apollo Story (which I found out is now back in print -- this is the ultimate book about the Apollo project -- if you have any interest, you must go buy this book), Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz, The Burden of Proof and The Laws of Our Fathers by Scott Turow, The Gulag Archipelago (Vol. 1) by A. Solzhenizyn, Toland's Hitler, etc. Almost all my books have been purchased at book sales -- especially library book sales.
3. Last Book I Read: meaning, I guess, finished. That would be Brian Haig's Private Sector. I'm currently reading The President's Assasin by the same author and Arc of Justice by Kevin Boyle. I should be finished with both by Friday.
4. Five Books That Mean a lot to Me:
This is what's going to take some time. I'm assuming these aren't desert island books (5 books I must have on a desert island) or my all time favorite books (that would include The Vicar of Christ by Walter Murphy). These are books that simply mean a lot to me and I'll tell you why.
(1) The Bible-- yes, I know it's a fairly standard answer but there's just so much there. Simple stories like the Tower of Babel or the Parable of the Good Samaritan. More complex stories like Job and Daniel. The story of Creation, the fall, the deluge, the calling of Abram, the exile, the plagues, passover, exodus, wandering; the conquest of promised land, the beginning of a nation, the struggle to live as a nation, the kingdoms, the exile, the prophets, the rebuilding. The Incarnation. The Sermon on the Mount and on the Plain. The calling, baptism, wilderness and temptations. The miracles, the parables, the questions and answers. Holy Week, from triumphant entry through Supper, arrest, judgment(s), condemnation, passion, crucifixion, death and burial. The resurrection. The Resurrection.
He Is Alive!
The road to Emmaus, Doubting Thomas, the restoration of Peter, the Ascension. Characters such as Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Saul, David, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and John. Philosophy like Ecclesiastes or Proverbs. Poetry like the Psalms or Song of Songs. Not to mention the teachings in the letters and the very mysterious Revelation to St. John. It is wonderful.
By the way, I like the Berkley Version -- it's very clear and has terrific footnotes. For example, from I Chronicles 25:4, one of those lists of who begat who the footnote indicates:
Starting with the sixt son, Hananiah, the names, when translated from Hebrew, form the following prayer of Heman about his work as a singer:  Be gracious, O Lord;  Be Thou gracious to me!  My God, Thee;  I have praised:  And exalted for helping;  Though sitting forlorn;  I have proclaimed;  Highest;  Visions.Another example, in the Gospel of Matthew 6:13, from the end of the Lord's prayer, he brackets the phrase "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." and in the footnote, observes,
The words enclosed in brackets are not found in the majority of the most reliable ancient manuscripts. The may have been added to the text here to make the prayer more appropriate for use in public worship. Certainly the last sentence is compatible with Scripture. Cf. I Chron. 29:11. In Luke's account of the Lord's Prayer, Lk. 11:2-4, this sentence is omitted.
(2) Mathematics by David Bergamini. New York: Time-Life, 1963. This book was something my parents bought when I was little. I first looked at the pictures and was gradually sucked in -- what a terrific book!
(3) I guess a play can count -- it's in book form. Robert Bolt's A Man For All Seasons is something I probably quote from at least once a month. It beautifully explores the relationship between conscience, duty, faith, honor, law
(4) Green Lantern No. 61 (June 1968). "Thoroughly Modern Mayhem!" Writer: Mike Friedrich Penciller: Gil Kane Inker: Sid Greene. This is a parable of sin and falleness is 23 short pages. Interestingly, the thrust of the story is shorter than those 23 pages, yet it speaks volumes. This opens with the Hal Jordan Green Lantern and the Alan Scott (Golden Age) Green Lantern teaming up to defeat “Captain Challenge." Following that story, Scott returns home to Earth-2, flying over scenes of evil and rottenness, returning to his house and finding it ransacked by a burglar, Scott/Green Lantern orders his power ring to get rid of all the evil in the world at which point everything including Scott/GL disappears. Hal Jordan later goes to Earth-2 and finds Scott/GL and the rest of humanity frozen in a state of suspended animation in a desert. They restore everyone to their natural state and Scott learns a lesson about sin. It’s funny, but this is a story which has stuck with me ever since – while we are created in the image of God, we are all fallen and in need of saving. There were a lot of other comics I grew up with that were also modern parables. See for example, Superman Issue 236, “Planet of the Angels” which can be read on line here.
5. Tag 5 people and have them do this on their blog.
Done -- look for these folks to (possibly) follow up on this: