This month’s On My Table comes from Geoff Bloor. Dr Geoff Bloor retired as Director, Social Work and Welfare at the Repatriation General Hospital in Adelaide about 5-6 years ago and now does a very small amount of teaching/consulting each year. He attends the St Morris church of Grace Anglican Network in Adelaide where he is a member of the joint Parish Council, a synod representative, a leader of 2 home groups and a leader in outreach to local migrants. He has always had an interest in theological study and made three previous attempts (several years apart) completing one subject each towards different qualifications, but then had to give up due to other commitments and the need to study towards other work related qualifications.
Now retired, Geoff has returned part-time to theological study and is enjoying sharing this journey with the academic staff and fellow students at Tabor College.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
N.T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began is an examination of the Gospels and of Paul’s writings about what happened at Easter and its implications.
John Swinton’s Living in the Memories of God. Swinton says that there are many ways to talk about dementia. The dominant narrative about dementia in Western societies is the medical one. This is a narrative of neuropsychiatric deficits and continuous decline, couched in terms of what the person can no longer do. Swinton points out that this narrative, whilst accurate, is limited. It is appropriate for medical care, but it is not an appropriate starting point for a theological consideration of dementia.
What was the last book you left unfinished?
I can’t remember a book that I didn’t eventually finish. Some books get put aside for a while but I then return to them.
Is there a book you feel guilty for not reading?
Not really. I read for mainly for pleasure.
Is there a book you wish you’d written?
I wish I could write a novel. They say everyone has a novel inside them. I don’t think I do.
What was the last book you gave as a present?
Steve Smith with Ying Kai, T4t: A Discipleship Re-Revolution. This is the story behind a Church Planting Movement that began in China and resulted in about 2 million baptisms in a ten-year period beginning in 2001. It has now spread to several other countries. Although I do not usually like “how-to” books, this one has some good principles and ideas.
Best biography you’ve ever read?
I’m not sure that it was the best, but A Man called Peter by Catherine Marshall was very influential in my formative Christian years.
What 5 books would you take to a desert island?
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
Although written long ago, it is a simple and practical approach to being aware of God and to prayer.
Melody Green and David Hazarr, No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green
I love the music of this man, and his attempt to live a Christian life without compromise.
William Gurnell, The Christian in Complete Armour.
This is a modernised 3 volume set by the Banner of Truth Trust. It is a very practical set of writings on standing firm in Christ. Of all the puritan writers, I believe Gurnell speaks most directly to this age.
Deitrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together.
Bonhoeffer has some very wise words about living in Christian Community.
Anything by Ernest Hemmingway. He has such an easy-to-read writing style.
What book has most frustrated you?
Anything by Richard Dawkins.
What is one book (apart from the bible) you’d encourage every Christian to read?
The Gospel According to Peanuts by Robert Short, or any of the Peanuts, Charlie Brown or Snoopy comic books.
How does reading fit into your life?
And what does your routine look like?
I usually have several books on the go at once. These can range from books on management, theology, biology, social work, politics, to novels (especially crime thrillers), newspapers and comic strips. Now I am semi-retired I make much more time for reading. I usually pore over the paper in the morning and try to reflect on what is happening in the world from a Christian perspective. I follow this up with Bible reading later in the day. I usually read a novel or something lighter for a half hour or so before bed. I find that helps me to become calmer and ready for sleep after what is still quite a busy day.