Bri Suitt challenged others and me to compose a list of my top ten or most influential books. I thought about it for a couple of hours, looked at my book cases and came up with this list. It is not in any order and I know I've probably left some books out, but these are all books I have either read more than once or would easily read again.
Surprised by Joy by N. T. Wright – this is the best book on resurrection, Jesus’ resurrection and the resurrection of the believer. Wright provides a biblical view of the afterlife (and the life after the afterlife). Wright writes of the New Creation that is awaiting believers here on earth. In light of that new creation, Wright challenges and inspires believers to be on mission to give the world a taste of that new creation here and now.
One.Life by Scot McKnight – I’m not a fan of the title (the period in between the words in the title) but this is one of the best popular works on discipleship. (I found it more “biblical” than David Platt’s Radical).
Rise of Christianity by Rodney Stark – Stark is a sociologist (a Christian one). In this book, he examines how Christianity spread over the first three centuries after the resurrection of Jesus. It inspired me to think that Christianity could do the same thing today.
Soul Tsunami by Leonard Sweet – read this book in the late 90s early 00s. Sweet gave me insight into the world of postmodernism and how it intersected with pop culture and how it could be a positive thing for the church.
October 1964 by David Halberstam – Halberstam examines the cultural changes of the mid-60s and sees similarities in the World Series participants of that year: the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees. The Yankees were coming to the end of a long period of dominance and were representing traditional/conventional values. The Cardinals had overcome a rocky beginning of the breaking of the racial barrier in baseball to representing a changing, multi-cultural, younger generation.
Sherman: Fighting Prophet by Lloyd Lewis – I went through a Civil War phase in the 90s. I was fascinated by this prominent figure of the War and his views on warfare and how to win.
The Mission of God’s People by Christopher Wright – Wright examines the grand narrative of the Bible and shows how God’s plan of redemption, beginning with Abraham, was about drawing a people to himself, teaching them how to relate to a holy God so that they, in turn, could model this life to all of the nations. He doesn’t skip the Old Testament in his discussion of the grand narrative that so many others want to do (i.e. Creation-Fall-Redemption [straight to the Cross after Genesis 3]-New Creation).
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara – a historical novel with the setting of the Battle of Gettysburg. Vivid portrait of the war with much of the perspective from Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
Bold as Love by Bob Roberts, Jr. – this book shows how Christians should engage the world around them, including befriending those who believe differently than we do. Bob loves interacting with people of many faiths but does so without compromising Jesus.
Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller – this book is based loosely on Miller and director of Blue Like Jazz trying to reedit the book into a narrative (I wish they would have done a better job on the movie). In the process of trying to edit his essays in Blue Like Jazz into a story, Miller is inspired to craft a better story of his life here and now. In the process, he inspires his readers to write better stories of their lives.