Summer Reading Recommendations

Summer and reading go together!  Here are three recommendations if you are still looking for reading material to dive into before school begins again.

dangerous territory

Dangerous Territory is our first recommendation.  Amy Peterson wrote this book after teaching English in Southeast Asia for two years.  She was one of those people growing up who heard things like this:

Make a difference.

Do big things for God.

Change the world.

These slogans inspire some of us to Christian service and they did just that for Amy.  She went overseas wanting to change the world.  She tells a great story that includes miracles, heartbreaking disillusionment, and growth in God’s grace that brings her to a place of surrender.  It becomes clear that her surrender to God is more important than anything that she can “do” for him.

The writing is raw and honest.  She is wrestling throughout this story and this is a big reason for reading the book.

“But understanding what it means to be held by God, to be beloved apart from performance, is the heart of the gospel.  Ironically, I wasn’t really able to grasp that truth until I went to share it in another country.” (248)

Another quote worthy of consideration is this: “…Calling is complicated beast.  If you want to go (overseas), you should go, but only in full recognition of your status as the Beloved of God, in full recognition of your status as the Beloved of God, in full recognition of your own mixed motives, your very limited understanding of any situation, your need to be a learner.  Don’t go out of a guilt of desire to achieve.  Don’t go because you want to be one of heaven’s heroes.  Don’t go to save the world – go because you want to learn to love it.  Go because you know you are loved” (248).

There are many other gems in Dangerous Territory that deserve your careful consideration.

Assimilate or Go Home

Assimilate or Go Home is our second recommendation.  Mayfield worked with refugees and also struggled with communicating the gospel to the people around her.

“The more I failed to communicate the love of God to my refugee friends, the more I experienced it for myself. The more overwhelmed I felt as I became involved in the myriads of problems facing my friends who experience poverty in America, the less pressure I felt to attain success or wealth or prestige. And the more my world started to expand at the edges of my periphery, the more it became clear that life was more beautiful and more terrible than I had been told.”

This book is refreshing, challenging, accessible, enjoyable.  She has a real heart for the poor, sees beauty in small things, and challenges all of us to move out of our comfortable isolation and to do the work of salvation.

One amazon review wrote this:

As a pastor there are many times that I long for a spiritual mentor. Someone that I can listen to. Some Christian who joyfully will take me somewhere in my faith to where I have never been. Someone who so loves God that they are WAY outside the norm.

D.L. Mayfield is a gift from God.

Encourage your own heart and pick up a copy of Assimilate or Go Home.

Professional Guidelines

Finally, Kitty Purgason has written a thoughtful book on how to be respectful of students while being a teacher with religious convictions.  This is more of a handbook for those who are working in the field of English language teaching.

This offers some great material on classroom issues that English teachers face including: our own transparency as teachers, going deeper into issues and questions about what is important, getting students to communicate about what they believe, cultivating respect, balance and excellence, critical thinking, and opportunities outside the classroom.  There is much here to dig into.

If you are our interested, our CT-SIG is having a Christian English Teachers Book Discussion on this.  Find us on Facebook with Christian English Teachers Book Discussion Group and join the discussion on Professional Guidelines for English Teachers.  Join us!