Last year, right after Christmas, I had an amazing reading experience. My husband had gotten me When Helping Hurts, which is kind of a “game changer” of a book, in that it makes you rethink everything you do to help the poor. I absolutely consumed it at my parents’ house in a matter of hours, and it simply blew my mind. It was such an amazing experience to have my whole way of looking at a subject be completely transformed. Then, when we were at Greg’s parents’ house, his mom loaned me the book, Same Kind of Different as Me, which kind of served as a powerful illustration of several of the principles in When Helping Hurts. Plus, it was a deeply moving book all on its own. I loved that experience of reading two powerful books in such a short span of time, and I will forever remember that week or two fondly, as a time of great spiritual growth.
Because of those memories, I am eager to repeat that experience. I am looking for some good, world-rocking books to read in the lull between Christmas and the craziness that will be my 2012. Here are some books that I think might fit the bill, and I’m interested in any other suggestions:
1. The Divine Conspiracy, by Dallas Willard
A trusted friend said that this one was a “MUST. READ.” and then actually sounded smart when he used the material from it in a discussion (Just messing with you, Sean, if you are reading:)). So naturally, I’m dying to read it. Plus, I learned from the Amazon reviews that Richard Foster (RICHARD FOSTER!) called this book “the book I’ve been searching for all my life.” Wow! Richard Foster. I was sold at “MUST. READ.” but that just elevated my level of need for this book to DEFCON 1.
2. The Blue Parakeet, by Scot McKnight
Having read through the entire Bible a grand total of two times, I now consider myself an expert in being confused by it. As a result of my forays into the entirety of Scripture, I have become increasingly concerned with the problem of hermeneutics. I even have an ongoing blog post in my head called, “In Search of a Consistent Hermeneutic,” which, if I ever actually type it, promises to be
incredible scandalous incredibly scandalous? Anyway, before I try to hammer that all out into my keyboard, I’d like to hear some different takes on hermeneutical approaches to Scripture. Apparently, McKnight does a good job of highlighting the inconsistencies of our traditional interpretive models, and I would actually like to hear someone admit that who is a believing Christian and not the atheist who kept commenting on my Bible blog last year. Unlike my atheist pal, I’m hoping he has some constructive solutions. So…yeah. Really want to read this. (Also, I can’t turn around these days without hearing something about Scot McKnight, and I had never heard of him before, like, two weeks ago. So now I’m wanting to know what the big deal is.)
3. Half the Church, by Carolyn Custis James
Speaking of incredibly scandalous, I’ve been recommended this book several times through the blogging world, and I have decided that I’m interested enough to read it. It seems to be all about women’s roles in the church, which is a pretty contentious subject these days (and probably all days, really). Like most of these books, I don’t anticipate agreeing with everything in it, but I’m eager to hear her argument. (The lone exception to my skepticism is Willard’s book. I fully expect to be blown away by it).
4. The Bible Made Impossible, by Christian Smith
Did I mention that I’m interested in hermeneutics? Because I am! This book has gotten rave reviews from several bloggers I read. Also, “the most helpful favorable review” on Amazon mentioned that this book addresses the “interpretive quagmire that exists in the Protestant world,” and that totally sold me. Anyhow, I just wanted to check this one out. Full disclosure: I’m not sure that I know what “biblicism” is, which might be a problem. And like I said before, I seriously doubt that I will agree with everything (or even most) of what is in this book. Like I alluded to with The Blue Parakeet, though, I’m kind of in the market for a new hermeneutical model b/c the makeshift one I’ve been using keeps confusing the heck out of me.
5. Unclean, by Richard Beck
This book intrigued me, both because it is by a fellow coC’er, and because the amazon reviews used phrases like, “paradigm-shifting.” Ooooh…I do love a good paradigm shift! (Also, in hindsight, I might be a little too swayed by the verbal stylings of the Amazon reviewers.) Anyway, from what I remember from reading about the book, it’s all very psychological and talks about the concept of “disgust” in the church. I don’t know, it’s definitely not something I sought out, but I have found myself bizarrely intrigued by it.
So now that I’ve gathered the books that I’m wanting to read in one place, feel free to
go buy them for me add to the list. Over the years, I have created my own maxim: “To love is to give something to read.” (Doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue, does it?) I will now alter that phrase to say, “To like is to give reading suggestions.” (Hmmm…still not really flowing.) Anyway, I’d love to hear any recommendations for any great books. Not just any books, now! I’m looking for some big, fat, juicy, thought-provoking, “paradigm-shifting” mind blowers! No pressure…but yeah, I want some good ones:).
So…do you have anything for me?
(Also, have you read any of these? What do you think about them?)