Daily Archives: 2008/12/14

2008/12/14 — Brigada Today

“Brigada: Since 1995… Buckets full of Resources, Trends, Challenges — all in a weekly e-zine & website…”
Compiled by Doug Lucas, Team Expansion, Louisville, KY
(Almost caught up!)

In this issue…

1) 2008 Scott Shaum Reading List: ***Introduction***

For the third year in a row, we’re blessed with a reading list featuring “great reads from the past 12 months” by our good friend, Scott Shaum. I believe I was originally connected to Scott via a mutual friend, Donna, who has a passion for member care. She’s volunteered *profoundly* for the organization I lead (Team Expansion) and recently *also* has picked up working member care for a very missions-active local church in Joplin, MO. She introduced me to Scott and somehow, the next thing you know, he was sharing his reading list for the past year. What I *like* about it is that it’s always heavy on issues that relate to member care, but also broad enough to pull in a wide swath of issues, both global and domestic. I believe you’ll find it both compelling and enticing again in 2008. Scott wrote, “This year’s list is broken into several sections hopefully to be of help in making choices. I begin with a list of the best books I read, then have provided annotated comments below from these books and others. There are some titles I read that I did not put on this list as I am not convinced their worth your time or money. Please do realize that these are my opinions and heavily influenced by my own journey.”

In case you want to purchase any of these books, we’ll include links to them from Amazon. Just click on the image of the book/cover beside each item of this edition of Brigada Today. [Disclaimer: A portion of the purchase price will then be donated back to Brigada as a gift from Amazon.com. However, this does not raise the purchaser’s price. In other words, if you purchase the book from Amazon, you’ll pay the same price either way. At least using these links, Brigada gets a small donation out of the deal and you end up with the book for the same price. In the past couple of years, this gift has averaged around $50. It’s like Scott’s chance to give something to the whole Brigada family while he makes a gift to Brigada too! :-) ]

So with that as an intro, we’ll thank Scott once again and — on with the show!

2) 2008 Scott Shaum Reading List: Best Reads Of 2008

Here are Scott’s picks of the past year… the top books for 2008, in his opinion:

Crossing The Unknown Sea – Work As A Pilgrimage Of Identity
by David Whyte

A Guide to Living in the Truth: Saint Benedict’s Teaching on Humility

by Michael Casey

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

by Palmer Parker

Red Bird: Poems

by Mary Oliver (poetry)

House of Belonging

by David Whyte (poetry)

Letters from the Desert

by Carlo Carretto

Here If You Need Me: A True Story

by Kate Breastrup (Memoir)

Becoming a Coaching Leader: The Proven Strategy for Building Your Own Team of Champions

by Daniel Harkavy

3) 2008 Scott Shaum Reading List: ***Spiritual Formation***

Here is Scott Shaum’s reading list for “Spiritual Formation” for the past year:
Crossing The Unknown Sea – Work As A Pilgrimage Of Identity
by David Whyte
David Whyte is Irish-born, now lives in Seattle area. In a book store you will find this book in the business section. This book is about how having an open heart, eyes and ears in the midst of our vocational life will allow us to learn to be true to who God has made us to be and do. Though not a “Christian” book, Whyte grew up in an Anglican church and knows some Biblical truth. I had a chance to hear him speak in October – without a doubt one of the most gifted and moving public speakers I have ever heard. He is a poet by trade (he tells how he got there in the book). His writing is insightful, reflective, and penetrating.

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

by Palmer Parker
Parker is a Quaker. Unfortunately (in my estimation) he allows new age influences to creep into an otherwise rich spiritual heritage. His writings are exceptionally insightful into the deeper truths of life (seasons, identity, formation, etc.). This is a short, easy read, but one that needs to be read slowly and reflectively. The book starts out a little weak (and flakey – New Agey) but the last three chapters are gold – he shares what he has learned from personal bouts of depression, the need to go deep in our struggles, and the truths to be learned from nature’s seasons.

Worship, Community & the Triune God of Grace

by James Torrence
This will be a theologically stretching book for many, but I recommend it for your expansion. Torrence always has amazing insight into current trends and theological implications.

The Way Is Made by Walking: A Pilgrimage Along the Camino De Santiago

by Arthur Paul Boers
The author writes of his personal pilgrimage on the El Camino de Santiago in Norther Spain – an ancient pilgrimage trek of 600 miles. As he writes of his experience he teases out the biblical motif of pilgrimage and reflects on how to maintain that posture in daily life. Not extremely well written, but I still found it intriguing and helpful in some areas of my own pilgrimage disciplines. It helped that I read it while in India….

The Lazarus Life: Spiritual Transformation for Ordinary People

by Stephen Smith
Steve and Gwen Smith have become very dear friends of ours. This is a book written from Steve’s heart and life story. An intimate reflection on the raising of Lazarus as recorded in John 11. The chapters on the Lingering Jesus (how he does not show up when we call him) and the section on our illusions around this reality are searching and unique. An accompanying workbook has just been released. I highly recommend this to your own journey and a great group study.

A Guide to Living in the Truth: Saint Benedict’s Teaching on Humility

by Micheal Casey
Last year I read two of Casey’s books (see 2007 Reads List). Casey is a Cistercian Monk in Australia. I love his writings. The material is penetrating and challenging yet assessable. The book draws upon Benedict’s chapter 7 in the Rule. It will be of great encouragement to you in your own journey. Advisory: I would not start with Casey. I’d read Nouwen and others extensively, then move towards Casey. However, if you are ready to go deeper in your walk, get Casey and absorb his writing. You will not regret the exercise. Casey wonderfully brings monastic spirituality into the world of those of us who do not have this calling.

With Burning Hearts: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life

by Henri Nouwen
A reflection from Jesus interactions with the two disciples on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24). Typical of Nouwen it is rich and reflective. This is a hardback with beautiful artwork. Not his best writing (I’d highly recommend Life of the Beloved) but Nouwen is always food for the heart.

Letters from the Desert

by Carlo Carretto
“The purpose of life is to be transformed into divine love,” writes Carretto. At the age of 44, Carretto entered the Little Brothers of Jesus in North Africa. This book comes from his personal lessons and growth from those years. This is not an easy read, but well worth it – numerous chapters are beckoning me deeper into God’s heart for the poor and His love for me.

Gift of the Red Bird: The Story of a Divine Encounter

by Paula DʼArcy
This is D’Arcy’s story from crushing loss (a tragic car accident) to a walk with God, burnout in ministry, to a truer walk with God. Easy to read, written in first person, it will invite you to ponder your own pace of life and why you do what you do (pp. 54-55).

Champagne for the Soul: Celebrating God’s Gift of Joy

by Mike Mason
Mason set out on a 90 day experiment to be deliberately joyful everyday. This book contains 90 short (1 1/2-2 pages each) chapters on the subject of joy. I learned that my joy muscles are anemic – I’m way too serious (you already knew that). Easy to read, very informative, join him in the challenge.

The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier

by Tony Jones
(Note: This is not a book on spiritual formation, but on trends in the church). I am not up on the controversial topic called the “emergent Church.” I am intrigued by what I am hearing and seeing. Like all movements there are elements that are needed and those that are off-balanced over reactions to existing imbalances. Tony Jones is a fresh, engaging writer (his The Sacred Way is a must read). I found this book extremely stimulating, edifying and encouraging. I am aware that I am reading about a controversial topic from one of its main proponents and leaders – a less than objective source. But it is still a good read.

4) 2008 Scott Shaum Reading List: ***Leadership***

Here is Scott Shaum’s reading list for “Leadership” for the past year:

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry

by Ruth Haley Barton
Through her writings, Barton and her organization (The Transforming Center near Chicago) are addressing a huge need in the Evangelical Protestant church – a rule of life. We are addicted to a consumeristic mentality of life and spirituality and we have no idea. Barton’s earlier work Sacred Rhythms is a must read. This newest title could fall under my “spiritual formation category”, but Barton writes it to and for leaders. She uses the life of Moses and his encounters with God to lay out God’s intention of developing and deepening the inner world of leaders. To paraphrase Palmer Parker from Let Your Life Speak, leaders do not merely need competency they must have the courage and skills to delve deep into their own inner life. Barton’s book guides you in this process. Chapters 11 and 12 are wonderful writings on leadership community and team leadership discernment – worth the book alone. Barton’s writings can be shallow at times, but her subject matter and some of her ideas are the need of the hour.

Becoming a Coaching Leader: The Proven Strategy for Building Your Own Team of Champions

by Daniel Harvaky
Harvaky is a Christian who has begun an extensive leader coaching business (a for-profit called Building Champions, Inc.). This book outlines their coaching philosophy and methodology. His argument is that to be a truly outstanding leader, you must be a coaching leader – purposefully develop everyone in your organization. I absolutely agree. This is true, Biblical, God-emulating leadership (God is always developing leaders for his purposes). This book is detailed and practical. I have incorporated numerous elements into my own work life and am using the model to further develop my coaching model.

Shepherd Leadership: Wisdom for Leaders from Psalm 23

By Blaine McCormick and David Davenport
A look at the posture of shepherding for all leaders from Psalm 23. Not a deep book, but they have many insightful applications that must be addressed by leaders. I have spoken on the principle that all leaders must learn shepherding skills – leadership is about leading people well, not merely the bottom line (in fact the bottom line comes when people are led and developed well). If you are a leader, I encourage you to read this book and reflect on how you may grow in your movement toward the people you influence.

5) 2008 Scott Shaum Reading List: ***Poetry***

Scott wrote, ” I never could understood poetry. I have learned it is because my eyes and lifeunderstanding (wisdom) needed development. I was introduced to Mary Oliver this year, and have quickly expanded out to other authors. I present the works I have read thus far, and will read again and again. I am enjoying the truth conveyed in the economy of words and pictures of poetry. Remember, a large part of the Old Testament is Poetry. I am starting to get it….”

Red Bird: Poems

by Mary Oliver
Oliver is in her 70’s and lives in Massachusetts. Her writings are largely of nature, but also reflects on other topics. She seems to be going deeper in her personal faith, though I do not know that she is a Christ-follower. Her works are easy to follow, not too terribly symbolic for the rookie poetry reader, and very envisioning. I will never look at a tree the same way again.

House of Belonging

by David Whyte
Whyte’s poetry is much more philosophical and takes some deeper pondering. I often have to read a poem 5 times to begin to get it, but they are rich diggings.

6) 2008 Scott Shaum Reading List: ***Biographies***

John Adams

by David McCullough
A masterpiece bio. Fascinating history, I learned stuff about the making of our country I never knew. Its a tome and worth the read.

Here If You Need Me: A True Story

by Kate Breastrup (Memoir)
The story begins with the death of Breastrup’s husband, a Maine State Trooper. She then goes to seminary and becomes the chaplain for the Maine Game Wardens. Though Breastrup’s Universalist theology is bankrupt, she writes on subjects such as death, loss, grief, God’s mystery, remembering, and mourning with dignity, honor, and appropriate humor. This is an enjoyable read that I will read again and again. I cannot recommend it enough

The Translator: A Memoir

by Doud Hari
Hari is a translator for correspondents in Sudan. This is of his life. If you want glimpses into the atrocities of Darfur, this is an eye opener.

7) 2008 Scott Shaum Reading List: ***Novels***

Scott quipped, “Yes, I did read more than one this year.” :-)

The Shack

by William Young

[Brigada Today Editor’s Note: Please note that we here at Brigada have not read “The Shack.” We are presenting Scott’s reading list ‘as is.’ Please carefully note that Scott isn’t advocating that we utilize this fictional novel to formulate doctrine, nor even to establish our image of God. It sounds to me like he’s advising us to read it so we will have read it, in case the discussion arises around a lunch table sometime. “Be ready to defend the word of God at any time…” Feel free to note your feelings, however, in the comment immediately following this item. Thanks! Doug, Brigada Today.]

You have heard of this one. It is polarizing, and is number one on Amazon! The author is an MK (grew up a missionary kid in Papua New Guinea). My sense to the reason of its popularity is that he penetrates the mystery that is Trinity and traumatic human pain in an engaging, creative way. These are truly tough topics to address. Yes, I know many are offended at some of his images of God, but it is fiction after all, not a theology. This is not an argument for its content, but I’d read it for sure.

The Fisherman’s Testament

by Cesar Vidal (Spain)
One of two foreign novels I read. This is a well written account of the Apostle Peter’s life leading up to his death – the telling of his life at his trial before execution.

Out Stealing Horses: A Novel

by Per Peterson (Norway)
I did not like this story. It is very, very well written and you may love it. It is the telling of a man’s story – mainly his childhood and the impact on his present state that has come from those experiences. As an American, I hated the ending – no resolution! But much of life is like that…..

8) 2008 Scott Shaum Reading List: ***Journals***

Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care

Volume 1: Numbers 1 & 2
Published by the Institute for Spiritual Formation at Biola University.
The self described purpose of this journal is to “advance the discussion of the history and practice of Christian spiritual formation and soul care….” This is a well written journal from a more technical, theological, and historical angle on the subject. Two editions per year.

Conversations Journal

Published by the Psychological Studies Institute in Atlanta
(just renamed Richmont Graduate School).
This journal “provides spiritual accompaniment and honest dialogue for those who long for radical transformation in Christ.” The three figures behind its start were Larry Crabb, Gary Moon, and David Benner. I’ve really enjoyed this journal’s scope and practicality of spiritual disciplines discussion.Back issues available.

9) Thanks To Those Who Choose To Share

We don’t take their gifts for granted. There’s a $25 gift from a worker with Christians In Crisis, a prayer and advocacy ministry for the persecuted church with a goal of bringing an awareness of persecution to others so they might pray. Learn more about CIC on the web at


and $50 from an anonynous Wycliffe Personnel Administrator in appreciation to God for the many He is bringing into the ministry of Bible translation.

and $75 from a family in Phoenix, AZ. Thanks for your shared vision for Brigada!

All together, that’s $150 — which became $300, thanks to the church in the Middle East doing the matching gift.

10) Just Ten More "True Fans" Needed: Here’s Your Chance

Now we need just 10 more “True fans” to generate the last $1981 of income, thanks to the very-gracious help from the visionary International church in the Middle East. Will you or your church be one of the ten? If so, just click one of the pushbuttons at the right-hand top of the home page… or use the PayPal link on the upper left if you prefer. Remember, even with the PayPal links, you don’t have join PayPal to give through it. Or if you prefer, just send an old-fashioned check payable to Team Expansion to: Team Expansion (Brigada), 13711 Willow Reed Dr., Louisville, KY 40299. (Team Expansion is a 501(c)3 incorporation so for USA citizens, your checks made out to Team Expansion are tax-deductible.) As always, be sure to let us know if you’d like us to promote any particular service or ministry, or if you’d prefer your gift be anonymous. And thank you in advance for helping.

11) The Backpage: Your Predictions For Missions In 2009

So what are your predictions for 2009 and beyond? Obviously, none of us can tell the future, but — hey — it’s always fun to try. Leave your comments after this item and they’ll be here later for that “I told you so” moment! :-) Here are some teaser questions to get you started.

*** How will the sluggish economy affect missions giving and the missions enterprise in general?
*** Will certain products become scearce, resulting in a rise in tensions in cities throughout the world?
*** Will the economic mood and optimism of the world’s people improve in 2009? If so, how will this affect missions?
*** Will the Euro go ‘up’ or ‘down’ in value… and how will that affect the stability/unity of Europe?
*** Will socialism be more… or less popular by the end of 2009?
*** Will Dubai continue to “boom” (40% of the world’s cranes are currently working there, for pete’s sake), or will something slow it down?

Want more teasers to get you going for missions, international news, global economy or David Beckham (Will Victoria become pregnant? :-) )? Just go to your favorite search engine, type in “2009 predictions”, then go to town. Jot down your favorites here and see how close you are by year’s end in 2009! :-) Just click “Comments” immediately below.

12) Closing Stuff

DISCLAIMER — We can’t screen ’em all. Please forgive us if aparticular site contains offensive information — or no information at all! We try to visit them in advance, but often write “on the road”so we simply can’t preview everything.

PLEASE DON’T SUBSCRIBE US TO YOUR LIST — Sorry — nothing personal –but we’re already deluged. We’ll eventually teach our spam filter to just delete it anyway, but in the meantime, we’ll have a sad face because of the volume of mass mailings we receive. :-(

PRIVACY INFORMATION — We will never give your information to anybody. We won’t market you, won’t hassle you, and won’t ever bother you. You won’t be signed up for mailings you didn’t request. Your address is safe and your future is secure. You have my word: We’ll never sell the mailing list to a marketer, spammer, or advertiser. Life is good. :-)

COPYRIGHT — (We actually have to say this stuff so the material can’t legally be used by those who are not likeminded.) This issue of Brigada Today is Copyrighted 2008. However, permission is granted to freely redistribute these materials, including those available on the Brigada website, provided that such redistribution is to those who will help the Good News of Jesus Christ to reach the unreached. To copy or reproduce Brigada Today for any other reason is illegal and is not permitted. When you quote or paraphrase material from Brigada, please include this phrase: “For a free subscription to Brigada’s weekly missions publication, write and/or visit Brigada on the web at http://www.brigada.org/.”

 Scroll to top