Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Summer Reading 2007, no. 4

I finished Nate Larkin's Samson and the Pirate Monks last night. Funny story, first. I bought this book over the weekend in Owensboro, Kentucky, where I was preaching. After I bought it, I went to the Cracker Barrell next to the bookstore for dinner. The girl who was serving me was super friendly (as everyone in Owensboro was--my goodness, turn it down a few notches, people! I'm as southern as the next guy, but it was almost too much); anyway, as she is clearing my plates, she said, "Oh, I love to read! Is that book about pirates?" I said, "Well, not exactly. It is a book about ministering to men." Going on to explain, I said, "I'm a minister and this book caught my eye. But it is probably not something you'd want to read." She wasn't to be detered: "Oh, I love pirates. I'll have to remember that book." Whatever.

I think my waitress would be a little surprised by the content, but those who wrestle with patterns of sin themselves or minister to those who do will find nothing surprising. The first part of the book details Larkin's own story--preacher kid who goes to Princeton Seminary and pastors a church only to leave the ministry voluntarily because of struggles with sexual sin. The pathway out of destructive behavior was largely the power of authenicity within the context of an AA-styled ministry to sex addicts. Out of his own dealing with these issues, Larkin helped to start the Samson Society, a means for bringing men together in a Christianized AA setting to talk about their feelings and struggles with sin.

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