Wednesday, 12 June 2013


The After Shot ... how long can I keep it this tidy?

Since finishing the Foundation Course with St. John's, I have been enjoying some more mindless tasks.  Sarah is enjoying having a husband who isn't too zonked reading theological tomes to wipe kitchen surfaces.

One domestic chore has stood out for me, though: coming up to two years in my current abode, I am sorting the study!

It's been a dumping ground for anything written or printed on paper that we don't immediately know what to do with.  As a consequence, I never studied in my study.

Over the years, I have acquired hundreds of books.  When we eventually move, I dread to think how we will take them all with us.  They take up more space than we really have available.

And as with any major household chore, the best start is to make a coffee, and sit down with a pen and paper.  The result: The Mac Bruithin Theological Library categorization system!

Obviously, there are more books in some categories and others are almost mono-tome, but I'm very pleased at how over the years all those books have formed a good overview of theology.  Now I just have to read them!  (And lend them - seeing all my lovely books made me feel very blessed and in need of sharing the wealth.)

I am considering going completely OCD and buying colour coded stickers for the spines. 

Interestingly (to me), it wasn't as easy as I expected to designate books 'theological' or 'not'.  Many are straight forward enough: 'The Atonement Debate'?  Theology.  'Essential Norn Irish'?  Not. 

Some are less straight forward.  'A Dollar a Day'?  'Making Poverty History'?  'Living in an Age of Absurdity'?  Anything by Michael Moore?

I suppose in real life, things aren't so easily labelled 'sacred' or 'secular'.  And when we try to divide the two, that's when the trouble starts.

When education, politics, economics, psychology, are considered 'secular' and beyond the remit of theological significance.

Actually, the Bible has a lot, an awful lot, to say about how our human life is to be celebrated and ordered, about poverty, philosophy, economics, leadership ... and not just cult and spirituality.

And if I only read theology and am ignorant about wider society and the realities we experience every day, how people are affected by globalization, by cuts to education and neo-liberal market policy, and the history of our country ... well, the theology might come across as a bit irrelevant.

So, I decided in my categorization system to be generous and open-minded in deciding what goes under 'theology'.  As an ordinand and hopefully one day as a priest, I hope to be the same in my approach to life in general!


1.1            Bible Overview & Reference
1.2            Exegesis
1.3            Hermeneutics
1.4            Biblical Languages
1.4.1                Hebrew
1.4.2                Greek
1.5            Bible Translations (English, Other Languages)
1.6            Old Testament
1.7            Intertestamental Studies & Second Temple Judaism
1.8            New Testament


2.1            Overview, Reference & Foundations
2.2            Groups, Denominations & Ideologies
2.3            Individuals
2.4            Periods of History
2.5            Theological Topics
2.5.1                Thinking about God
2.5.2                Christology
2.5.3                Pneumatology
2.5.4                The Trinity
2.5.5                Christian Cosmology and Anthropology
2.5.6                Providence & The Kingdom of God
2.5.7                Soteriology
2.5.8                Ecclesiology
2.5.9                The Last Things
2.6            Apologetics & World Faiths
2.7            Ethics
2.8            Philosophy of Religion
2.9            Other Philosophy


3.1          Practical Theology
3.2          Church
3.3          Ministry: Ordained, Leadership, Team
3.4          Preaching
3.5          Pastoral
3.6          Mission
3.7          Evangelism and Discipleship
3.8          Christian Living
3.9          Family
3.10             Christian Counselling
3.11             Social Justice
3.12             Faith & Politics


4.1            Prayer
4.2            Church Year
4.3            Liturgy
4.4            Music
4.5            Mysticism and Monasticism
4.6            Other


5.1            Dictionaries, Thesauri, etc
5.2            Writing
5.3            Research
5.4            Languages
5.5            Arts & Culture
5.6            Geography & Travel
5.7            History & Biography
5.8            Humour
5.9            Natural Science
5.10          Social Science
5.10.1             Psychology
5.10.2             Education
5.11             Management
5.12             Self-Care & Management

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