After an unintentional hiatus, the search for piety and obedience is glad to present the latest installment of our “Three BIC Books…” series. (Its based on a similarly titled feature over at NPR.) Today’s post comes from Thomas B. Grosh IV, who grew up outside the Brethren in Christ Church but is now a member of the Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ (EBIC) congregation. Here, Tom reflects on three books he read while taking Core Courses offered by the Brethren in Christ Church — books that he thinks “allow for conversation, completion, and understanding” of our shared heritage.
1. Focusing Our Faith | Terry L. Brensinger, ed.
Focusing Our Faith is a must-read for classes reaching out to newcomers such as mysel In summer 2010, the Disciples Fellowship Group at EBIC studied Focusing Our Faith and Focused and Faithful: Living our Core Values. We particularly appreciated how Focused and Faithful’s discussion material, survey questions, and video led to healthy conversation about where we stood (as individuals, couples, and a congregation) in relationship to our the Brethren in Christ core values. I would love to facilitate a wider run of the material in our local congregation.
2. Quest for Piety and Obedience | Carlton O. Wittlinger
As for a historical text, Devin summed it up well: “I never leave home without it.” Quest for Piety and Obedience provides my historical lens for understanding the Brethren in Christ. This lens sharpens my contributions to EBIC Adult Electives, Atlantic Regional Conference gatherings, Roxbury Holiness Camp meetings, Brethren in Christ Core Courses, Brethren in Christ General Conferences, etc. I think it’s an important book to discuss in the context of an intergenerational study/class with some who have deep Brethren in Christ roots. And I’m really looking forward to Dr. Morris Sider’s revised and expanded edition, scheduled for publication in 2012. Furthermore, it’s great to have a blog which continues some of Wittlinger’s original conversation — thank-you, Devin!
3. A Peace Reader | E. Morris Sider and Luke Keefer, Jr., eds.
Family, religious, and personal history makes Christian pacifism the difficult part of the Brethren in Christ theology for me to embrace. A Peace Reader, along with further clarification by Terry Brensinger on his reading of the Old Testament, has been a most helpful resource. Despite this material, I find it hard to discern how much the Brethren in Christ Church’s general membership truly embraces Christian pacifism and the consequences of it. I look forward to conversation regarding how the various influences on the Brethren in Christ affect the depth and longevity of this perspective.
Readers: What are your three BIC books that “allow for conversation, completion, and understanding” of our shared heritage?
Thomas B. Grosh IV is a member of Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (EBIC), a Brethren in Christ World Missions affiliate (he serves InterVarsity’s Graduate & Faculty Ministry in Central Pennsylvania), and a friend of the search for piety and obedience. At EBIC, he has taught a number of adult electives and started a Christian Scholar Series, which is now expanding into the community in partnership with the Elizabethtown Public Library. Tom credits the Brethren in Christ Church’s Core Courses and Elizabethtown College’s Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies with better acquainting him with Anabaptism and the Brethren in Christ tradition. He is married to Theresa (nee Ginder), who grew up at Manheim Brethren in Christ Church. Tom and Theresa are parents of four young girls. Read Tom’s previous contributions to the blog here and here.