While in seminary, I had no time to read anything other than theology books. After seminary, due to what was ingrained in me, I just didn't bother to read anything other than theology books. Recently, I have found myself in a rut; this may sound a bit blasphemous, but I'm a bit tired of theology texts.
I realized that I need to mix up what I read a bit. My desire is to read more broadly, taking in books about history, literature, philosophy, politics, culture, etc. My desire in this is two-fold: first, I hope this broadens my ability to talk with unbelievers about more topics than I am currently able. Second, I hope this causes me to have more of a desire to jump back into theology texts.
I just completed reading my first non-theology book (it does contain discussion about Lee's Christian faith, but that is not the focus). I'm pleased to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Lee: The Last Years. This book focuses on, appropriately, the last five years of Robert E. Lee's life. While our history books tend to forget Lee after his surrender at Appomattox, the reality is that he had a profound impact on our country from his surrender until his death five years later (in 1870).
Soon after the end of the Civil War, Lee was named president of Washington College (later renamed Washington and Lee University). During his time there, he not only acted as head of the university but also was one of the greatest forces for reuniting the country after the war. Knowing that many people, especially in the South, were looking to Lee for guidance in how to react to the Northern victory, Lee consistently advised obedience and service to the existing government.
Having grown up in the North, but now living in the South, my views on the Civil War are mixed. It is interesting to read a book that focuses on not only the war, but also the aftermath. I appreciate Robert E. Lee both in his convictions and his leadership.
Our country could certainly benefit from a leader like him today.