Bishop, I sense you’re a voracious reader. Would you use that term to describe yourself?
I would say as a parish priest I was, but as a Bishop less so, because the schedule and demands – which are voracious – have truncated that.
How many books do you read a month?
Far less than I wish, unfortunately. About two a month.
What are you reading right now?
This summer I’m rereading Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth. I’m also listening to two lecture series on the tragedies of Shakespeare and looking for opportunities to attend performances of those plays. Remarkably, we’ll be at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in August, and they’re performing Hamlet and Macbeth. There’s also a haunting performance of Lear by Anthony Hopkins in a movie version.
I’m also reading Landscape and Inscape: Vision and Inspiration in Hopkins’s Poetry by Peter Milward and The Man Who Went into the West: The Life of R.S. Thomas by Byron Rogers. (Thomas was a Welsh Poet and Anglican Priest). So I’ll reread his poems along with this recent biography.
How do you go about deciding what to read?
Often I will choose a reading project. When I was in parish ministry, I did this all the time. I’d read books in three areas: preaching and teaching, leadership, and pastoral ministry.
For preaching and teaching I would read 8 to12 books per year in theology, commentaries on the scriptures, homiletics or preaching. For leadership I’d read books from the secular world whether it be a book by Stephen Covey, Warren Bennis, Peter Drucker, James Burns, John Maxwell, etc., as well as in the Christian world and certainly biographies of leaders in various walks of life. The other arena was books on pastoral care, what’s known as pastoralia. That was for many years what I did in terms of my calling or vocational reading.
Bishop Mark Lawrence speaking at @AFM_US conference on 2 Timothy chapter 4 and finishing the race well. “What are those things that keep you from a vibrant relationship with God?” Quoting @JohnOrtberg, “ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” #Anglican pic.twitter.com/eIpxB0sQGb
— Jeff Walton (@jeffreyhwalton) September 25, 2019