Friday, August 05, 2005

Books That Changed My Faith

I don't quite know how it happened, but somewhere along the way I became a book nerd. It's a good thing that I did. It challenges me. It forces me to think. In a way, it saved my faith. I thought I'd take a few moments this week to share a few books that rocked my world (in a good way). In my opinion, if you haven't read them, you should.

1) Brian McLaren's "A New Kind of Christian" Trilogy. "A New Kind of Christian", "The Story We Find Ourselves In", and "The Last Word And The Word After That" These books challenged my thinking on what it means to follow Jesus and helped me understand some of my own discomfort with how it has been practiced in the modern era. The fiction format makes for engaging reading on deep subjects.

2. Brian McLaren's "A Generous Orthodoxy" Believe it or not, this book helped me to learn to love and appreciate my own faith tradition all over again.

3. ANYTHING by N.T. Wright (aka Tom Wright), but particularly "Following Jesus". I actually read this quite recently, but it is an excellent, easy to read intro into Wright's thought. Wright will really challenge you and redefine for you what it means to follow Jesus. He may also change your perspective on where the whole project is going.

4. Donald Miller's "Blue Like Jazz" Read Miller's book and you will feel like you have made a new friend. He doesn't present himself as an expert. He's just a guy sort of thinking out loud. This is one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. You will cry, laugh, and be stunned by his depth and poiniancy, sometimes all within seconds of each other.

5. Dallas Willard's "The Divine Conspiracy" This book is deep. I would not pretend that it is either an easy or a quick read, but it is deeply rewarding.

There are other works that I have enjoyed and feel have helped me. There are other books that I would hand people in response to specific questions or subjects. However, these 5 selections I would recommend without hesitation to anyone who seeks a deeper faith and new lenses through which to view their Father's world.


Matt Elliott said...

I've read five of the seven books you mentioned, and I wholeheartedly concur! I would recommend to you and any others, though, that you don't have to read all "Christian" books in order to grow spiritually. Here are a few "secular" books that have been spiritualy inspiring/challenging for me:

John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Of Mice and Men"

Hemingways's "The Old Man and the Sea"

Chaim Potok's "The Chosen," "My Name is Asher Lev," and "Davita's Harp"

Rick Bragg's "All Over But the Shoutin'"

A couple of biographies -- Steve Turner's "The Man Called Cash" and Joe Klein's "Woody Guthrie: A Life"

John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany"

Barbara Kingsolver's "The Poisonwood Bible"

Timothy B. Tyson's "Blood Done Signed My Name"

Mitch Albom's "The Five People You Meet in Heaven"

Evelyn Waugh's "Brideshead Revisited"

I could go on and on...

(In fact, I *have* gone on and on!)

Chris(co) said...

Les Miserables is good also... alot of emphasis on grace and the Church