Wednesday, October 10, 2007

HELP WANTED: Reading List

I am doing that Life Development Plan. See my earlier post.
One of my goals I have set is for my "Intellectual life"
Read 4 (new to me) spiritually challenging books by October 2008.

I want and need your help. Would you suggest 4 challenging books that you think would be essential to my spiritual journey? So what would be the top 4 books you would suggest to take me deeper in my understanding. Who is God? What is the Church? Who am I? I want to read books that try to answer the hard questions.

Please leave your comments with your top 4 books and why you think they would be essential reading.


Hil said...

History books.

Benjamin said...

Well, challenging can be taken many different ways. Unfortunately, spiritually challenging books are often hard to read. But, here's my go at 4 of them, though there are TONS more.

1.) "What's So Amazing About Grace?" by Phillip Yancey (that's a creampuff, but a good one).

2.) "Faces of Forgiveness" by LeRon Shults and Steven Sandage. (GREAT book, but a challenge to read if you're not used to heady books.)

3.) "A Primer On Postmodernism" by Stanley Grenz. If you are feeling brave, try "Beyond Foundationalism" by Grenz, or "The Postfoundationalist Task of Theology" by LeRon Shults.

4.) "Manana" by Justo Gonzalez. (This one is also an easy read.)

5.) And, if you are truly feeling brave, try some Kierkegaard. Specifically, I like "Fear and Trembling". You should know that Kierkegaard is difficult reading, and an acquired taste.

Enjoy the journey!

Chuck said...

Mmm... My number 1, and not just because I'm finishing it right now, is "Knowing God" by J.I. Packer. Fantastic book. I'll even let you borrow my study guide. If you read nothing else...

2) "The Micah Mandate" by George Grant. It is an incredible book, and an easy read, on what God's people need to be doing in the world.

3) "Every Thought Captive" by Richard Pratt. Short and easy to read on how to defend the Christian faith.

4) "Bondage of the Will" by Martin Luther. I recommend this with some hesitation because it is an EXTREMELY TOUGH READ. Besides being long-winded, Luther is a bit, uh, abrasive at times. Still rewarding though.

SteveM said...

Here are some other responses I have collected.

Fred Wideman:
-Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
-Making All Things New by Henri Nouwen
-Telling the Truth by Frederick Buechner
-The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
-The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Bruegemann

Then there was Stephen Payne's suggested list:
Here's a list of books that you might want to read in the coming year; some of the books are "heavy reading," and some of them are "light":

1. The Cost of Discipleship (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
2. The Brothers Karamazov (Feodor Dostoyevesky)
3. Soul Survivor (Philip Yancey)
4. Plan B : Further Thoughts on Faith (Anne Lamott)
5. Halo of Horror (Stephen Payne--unabashed plug )

I've heard that fiction by Lincoln Childs and Douglas Preston is good, so I've bought myself copies of Relic, Reliquary, and Thunderhead.

I thank you all so much for contributing to my list. I will let you know what the decided list will be (or atleast what the first book I choose will be).

Benjamin said...

Oh, yeah, fiction. The Brothers Karamazov (Feodor Dostoyevesky) is very good. I need to read that one again. Books like "Life of Pi" and "Atlas Shrugged" will allow you to get more in tune with what 20-somethings are reading about spirituality, though these books aren't Christian.

Nouwen is also great. I thought Packer was OK, though I haven't read him in a long time. I haven't enjoyed Cost of Discipleship (Bonhoeffer).

SteveM said...

Ronnie Hines (via his wife Jill) suggested the book "In His Steps".

Keep the suggestions coming this is great. I am loving the insight I am getting into what books I should start with.

SteveM said...

Here is Cathy Brewton's thoughts:
You know – I know of several that you might find challenging! One is small but great:

When Christ Lives Within Us by Justo Gonzales

These I am reading but have not finished:
The Jesus I Never Knew by Phillip Yancy
The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg – I have heard mixed reviews on this one (barely started it myself)– could be the one you and I DON’T want to read this year!

- I have really appreciated all these responses. I will be picking my list shortly. I am waiting for a couple more responses. I will try and keep you posted on what I am reading and learning.

SteveM said...

Alright. Here is the list unless some I get some other suggestions in the next few days. I haven't decided the order yet, but here are the books I intend on reading over the next year.
Here is the list
- Cost of Discipleship Bonhoeffer
- Manana by Justo Gonzalez
- Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey
- "Knowing God" by J.I. Packer

Cost of Discipleship was suggested twice specifically. Justo Gonzalez and Philip Yancey were authors that were suggested twice, and I picked the Packer book, simply because my brother said it was good.

Does any one have a suggestion on the Gonzalez book? I just kind of picked "Manana" (I kind of liked the name). I have already read "What's So Amazing About Grace?" (It is worth reading again, but I am shooting to read new stuff for the goal) so that is why I picked "Soul Survivor". Does anyone have a suggestion on what order I should read these in?

Brad said...

Steve, here's a great link to some of the classics (online and FREE, some even have MP3 downloads):

John Wesley's journal

Eusebius' history of the church
(I've only scanned it honestly)

Pilgrim's Progress

I have a long list I'll send you personally, but I enjoyed Chuck Colson's "The Body". I don't get to do much reading lately, but I think biographies and auto-biographies of famous Christians are really interesting as well.

SteveM said...

Brad, Thats a cool site. I think I might go to sleep listening to Pilgrim's Progress tonight. (I may regret that decision in the morning) we shall see. Thanks!

SteveM said...

Billy McConnell emailed me his list... I have read "A New Kind of Christian" and really enjoyed that. I have wanted to read the other two... but haven't yet. so here is his list(thanks Billy):

"Sacred Romance by John Elridge
The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis
A New Kind of Christian by Brian McClaren

These are three books that I really enjoyed. These are some of my favorites. Billy McConnell"

SteveM said...

Well Here is andy's suggested Reading list. He really went all out. Thank ANdy!!!

If you are looking in one specific area, let me know.

Christ The Controversialist John Stott
Know What You Believe &
Know Why You Believe Paul Little
Cause for Faith
Cause for Christ Lee Stroeble
John Wesley’s Message for Today Steve Harper
Healing for Damaged Emotions David Seamands
Safest Place on Earth Larry Crabb
Wounds That Heal Steve Seamands

Church stuff:
Word & Power Church Banister
The Shepherd’s Guidebook Ralph Neighbor
The Small Group Book Dale Galloway

Out of the Saltshaker Rebecca Pippert
Hope Has Its Reasons Rebecca Pippert
To Spread the Power George Hunter

Pursuit of God Tozer
Practice the Presence of God Brother Lawrence
A Serious Call to a Devout & Holy Life William Law
The Master’s Plan Coleman
Pensees Blaise Paschal
Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross
No Man is an Island Thomas Merton
Pilgrim’s Progress Bunyan

Richard Foster
Anything by E.M. Bounds and Andrew Murray

Anything by Henri Nouwen
Etheridge Books
McManus Books
Lucado Books
C.S. Lewis Books
Richard Foster Books