Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

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"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105)


I simply had to finish. Every book had to be out of the box and on the shelf by the end of the day.

Long after dusk, I felt a great deal of satisfaction. Twenty-five boxes of books had been unpacked and placed in order on the shelves in the study of the episcopal residence, in northwest Oklahoma City.

As I sat admiring the results, I began to ask myself some questions.

I wondered, "Exactly what is in your library? What do these books say about you?"

Reflective, I first began to recall all the books I’ve given away over the years.

Many were given intentionally because I thought they would help someone. Others were unintentional giveaways. I had thought they were loans, rather than gifts. But I haven’t missed them.

After a little self-indulgence, I returned to the questions.

The largest part of my library, in terms of the number of volumes, is dedicated to helping me understand the Bible.

Another significant section explores the history of the church and Methodism in particular. I have several volumes that reflect historical and contemporary approaches to the spiritual life. These volumes have provided me many insights into the nature of God, people, and the church.

A portion of my library centers on family and organizational systems.

Twenty years ago, I earned a doctorate of ministry with a focus on family systems. As I began to live out what I had learned in that program, my interest broadened to general organizational systems, with a specialized focus on the church.

Alongside those works on systems, I have gathered a number of books offering solutions for all aspects of church. There are many approaches to ministry and many books written about each one.

The newest books in my library explore cultures different to my own. I expect this part of the library to grow because the context of our mission field demands knowledge, appreciation, and interactions with people from all walks of life.

I will add that my library has begun to expand digitally as well as in print.

In addition to the categories that I’ve noted here, I enjoy art history and works of fiction such as historical novels, adventures, and mysteries. I have made good use of the public library for fiction.

In case you are wondering, I do not sit and read all day. However, I wanted to share my reading interests with you, hoping that helps you know more about your new bishop.

One book has had a greater impact on me than all the others I have owned or borrowed to read. It is the volume that continues to point me toward the Light of the world. From its pages I offer these words to express its value to me: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105).

What do the books you read, the media you consume, or the ways you spend your time say about you?


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