Recently a long-lost friend contacted me through facebook and asked for my top 10 list of books that every Christian should read. What a great question! I appreciated the invitation to consider what I would my list would be. And then I enjoyed the half-hour or so I spent parousing my bookshelf and remembering all the books that have impacted my life and faith. So I compiled my list with a brief description of each book and sent it to him. Then I thought, it could be worth sharing here as well.
So here's my list. What would you put on yours?
Colossians Remixed by Sylvia Keesmaat and Brian Walsh. A great bible study that puts the letter of Colossians within its social and political context of the Roman Empire.
Post-Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strange New World by Stuart Murray. A great introduction to the post-Christendom, post-Modern cultural shifts taking place and what this means for how we do church and think about the life of faith.
Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of Quick Fixes by Edwin Friedman. Not a “Christian” book per se or even a book only for leaders. Rather, it contains great insights into human maturity and emotional health.
Kingdom Citizens by John Driver. A short but excellent commentary on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Recovering the Scandal of the Cross by Mark Baker and Joel Green. A thoughtful study that captures and explains the ways in which the Bible talks about the cross and atonement.
The Powers that Be by Walter Wink. This book really broadened my understanding of Sin beyond the individual (which is certainly important) to also see how Sin impacts societies, cultures, nations, and systems (which is also important).
Santa Biblia by Justo Gonzalez. Despite the Spanish title it is written in English and provides significant insights into how our cultural contexts shape how we read and interpret scripture.
A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue by Badru Kateregga and David Shenk. With so much animosity and fear that exists between Christians and Muslims, this book does a great job of building bridges to peace without glossing over significant differences in faith.
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson. Really, I could add many books by Peterson on this list. But this is a good one which calls us to faith and obedience over the long-haul which runs against the grain of the gotta-have-it-now, “fast-food” culture we live in.
The Cost of Discipleship by Deitrich Bonhoeffer. The title says it all. This is a book that confronts and challenges and is difficult to face. Nevertheless, it’s important for Christians to realize that when “Christ calls a man (or woman) He bids him (or her) to come and die.”
And I have to add one more
Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith. A book that gets at the heart of racial divisions within the American church and points to steps toward reconciliation.
As I look over the list, I do think these are all very important and insightful books. Naturally, there are some that could be added. And I also hope that as I continue to read deeply I will be enriched by the thoughts of faithful men and women from various perspectives.
Grace and Peace