Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009 Top Ten Lists: Books

The following were some of my favorite books of the year (in no particular order). I realized the other day how many books I started this year but didn't finish. That's always been an issue with me, but it seems that I excelled in it this year. First new years' resolution of 2010: finish more books that I start!

1. The Prodigal God, by Tim Keller - Just as you can't have a top10 music list without U2, you can't have a top 10 list of books without something by Tim Keller. I don't think I've underlined in a book as much as I have in this one. Whenever I read something by Keller, the response is always the same: I need to read this a few more times so that I can really get it. I realized while reading it that I'm more of an older brother than I would care to admit.

2. Deep Church, by Jim Belcher - I'm almost finished listening to this book. I also have the hard copy, which I'm going to go back through when I finish listening. This book has been very helpful to me. It's helped me to process a lot of my journey. I've been impacted greatly by a lot of the folks in the emergent stream. I know the protest. But I've also been impacted by the folks in some of the other camps. I really like thinking in terms of Third Way, as Scot McKnight puts it, and I think Jim Belcher's book helps with this conversation.

3. The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones (and God) - I first heard about this children's Bible a couple of months ago, and got a copy for our church's new library. We've been reading it with Adam, and he really likes it. What sets it apart from other children's Bibles is that fact that it tells the story of Christ from the beginning. The stories fit together when looked at through the lens of God's plan of redemption. We watched this video on Sunday night as our worship gathering got started. I looked around and the kids (as well as the adults) were all caught up in the story. Get this version for a few bucks more and it comes with the audio as well.

4. Total Church, by Tim Chester & Steve Timmis - Our leadership team is reading through this book. These guys are writing things that will challenge the status quo, but they do so without (at least it seems to me) a lot of baggage, which normally comes with the territory in this kind of work.

5. Myth of a Christian Religion, by Greg Boyd - I really like Greg Boyd. He offends a lot of people, but I think he nails it most of the time. This one's no exception. The idea is that Jesus came to start a revolution, not a religion. This big idea has helped me to shape the series that we're currently going through at NC.

6. Love is an Orientation, by Andrew Marin - This was my primary source this summer as our community group discussed GLBT issues within the church. Andrew is such a humble guy, but I especially like the fact that his writing comes from a lot of years of experience. This isn't two years of work and then a book.

7. New Testament History, by Ben Witherington - This is one of those books that you don't really read straight through, but I've been reading it off and on this past year. I used it all the time for our teaching series on Acts, and now I'm using it for the series on Luke. Highly recommended.

8. Death by Love, by Mark Driscoll - I read this in preparation for my series on the Cross last Spring. The main thing I got out of it is how pastoral it is. Driscoll devotes each chapter to a different aspect of the Cross and how they relate to us. It's not just theology for our head; it's how it's worked out in our brokenness.

9. The Untold Story of the New Testament Church, by Frank Viola - This was the primary recommended resource for our Acts series. Viola brings this story to life by weaving in history and the culture of the day. He helps the reader connect the letters of Paul to the experiences of Paul as told in Acts.

10. Chasing Francis, by Ian Cron - I can't remember where I heard about this novel, but it was the first Kindle book I bought. I don't know a lot of the history of Francis of Assisi, so can't vouch for how accurate things are, but I thought it was pretty good.

Bonus tracks...

11. The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown - I know this one had some bad ratings, but it was entertaining. Another Kindle read.

12. Crazy Love, by Francis Chan - Chan has helped me to to see that it's ok to be really passionate! It oozes from him, whether he's writing or speaking. I'm looking forward to reading his new book as well.

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