As I’ve gotten to know a few military service members over the years, it has struck me that the Church might take a tip or two from the military. Certainly she ought not to buy into everything the military is about. Yet there is a discipline inherent in the military that seems to be generally lacking in the Church. When I think of discipline, my first thought is of a particular Marine I knew (and for that matter, most Marines).
Among many things the heads of the various armed services maintain (and I have know idea how long such things have been in effect) are recommended reading lists. These are slowly evolving lists of books that should be read by all members, divided by rank (an unofficial “ecumenical” site and the Commandant’s official list). I haven’t really spent much time with the actual lists, but I’ve been mulling over the idea of the lists. This is in part because I happen to be reading a book from the USMC list, Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire. It’s the battle of Thermopylae set as a novel. I’ve only scratched the surface, but I’m seeing it’s obvious applications to a Marine’s vocation, and not unobvious possible applications for the Church.
I think there are plenty of books, the study of which could be quite fruitful for Christians today. And not all of them are primarily theological, though significant connections might be made. If such a list were to be made, what would you like to see included on it? I’m looking for accessible, edifying books that could open doors of new understanding for Christian persons, lay and clergy alike. I’ll start the list with some familiar titles, in no particular order. I invite you to add others in the comments below.
And because I’ve just mentioned it, Gates of Fire, Pressfield.
My choices aren’t limited to these. Call these a little list starter. What would you add?