Having been tagged by Dustin, I now do my due diligence in listing ten books that have stuck with me.
1. The Great Gatsby - I’ve read it over 10 times. The imagery, the setting, what’s going on with the characters and the culture, all of this captivates me.
2. East of Eden - My favorite Steinbeck. The way that he uses the Cain and Abel story as not just a story that happened, but a story that continues to happen has stuck with me, and it’s broadened my imagination for encountering scripture as well as just being a great novel.
3. The Road - My favorite of Cormac McCarthy’s novels, there’s a lot to reflect on in what it means to process one’s role in life in a time of liminality.
4. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society - Here begins a run of theological/ecclesial books that have greatly shaped my views. Newbiggin is really kind of the granddaddy of the thoughts of anybody in the theological streams I travel in.
5. The Shaping of Things to Come - This book by Frost and Hirsch really opened up my eyes to thinking about questions of how church should look and having mission a central part of our ecclesial formation. It was a launching point for a lot of conversations.
6. Working the Angles - If someone were to just say “all you need to know to be a pastor is pray, read the bible and give spiritual direction,” I’m pretty sure I’d immediately be annoyed. But somehow Eugene Peterson in his Eugene Peterson way makes this exact claim and it’s really stuck with me on what it means to be spiritually rooted and engaged in any form of ministry.
7. The Orthodox Church - This book by Timothy Ware is an introduction to Eastern Orthodoxy and highlights some of the differences in thought between western and eastern Christianity, the book gave me a lot of new perspective for looking at theological issues.
8. The Prophetic Imagination - Walter Brueggemann’s book describing the function of the prophets opened me to seeing the biblical prophets in a new light and saved me from cynicism about “the prophetic”.
9. Love Wins - I know Rob Bell got a lot of hate for this book and I’ll probably receive more messages from people asking me how I could even read it, but the basic premise of Love Wins - that the way we tell the story of God reflects something about what we believe about God has been a very important insight to me.
10. The Word of Christ and The World of Culture: Sacred and Secular Through the Theology of Karl Barth - This one is by Paul Louis Metzger, one of my theological mentors. It’s not necessarily all the writing, but the basic premise and ideas that Paul explores about Barth’s theology and engagement of the sacred and secular has been another shaping theological conversation for me.