My friend Lane tagged me on Facebook and asked me to name 10 books that have profoundly influenced my life. I’m leaving out The Bible; it’s sort of the obvious choice, although I’m including one biblical book in my list.
Otherwise, here are 10 influential texts in no particular order:
1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Someday, I will make my sons read this book. It’s one of the best descriptions of what I feel for them as my boys. The whole notion of “carrying the fire” resonates deeply with me. This is far and away my favorite work of fiction.
2. Theology for the Community of God by Stanley Grenz. I’ve read it twice now; each time, I’m renewed in my understanding that we are fashioned in the image of God. This work of relational theology is great.
3. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I’m guessing I refer to this book once every couple of weeks. I think it’s one of the best books on leadership I’ve ever read. I often think about Lincoln and the diverse cast of characters that made up his inner cabinet. The fact that he got much of anything done in office is a testimony to his leadership.
4. The Book of God by Walter Wangerin Jr. Narrative theology put into practice.
5. You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church and Rethinking the Faith by David Kinnaman. Should be required reading for people of faith today. It helps us understand the Millennial generation a little more clearly.
6. The Drama of Scripture by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen. Narrative theology explained.
7. The Great Omission by Dallas Willard. “Grace is opposed to earning but not effort.” That was a transformative statement the first time I read it.
8. Prophets by Abraham Joshua Heschel. Heschel helps us understand the pathos of God’s prophets.
9. The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Wiesenthal. A rumination on the messy nature of forgiveness.
10. The Psalms. If I’m being honest, I used to be bored when I read the Psalms. Now it’s one of the most interesting portions of Scripture to me. You will find yourself on every page of the Psalms. They’re complicated, joyous, sorrowful — kind of like life itself. I love them.