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My Top 10 Books: Spring/Summer 2014

Posted on September 8th, 2014

I love reading 4-5 books at a time. This summer was no different. The following are my recommended top 10 picks from this summer:

1. The Gospel of John: A Commentary by Frederick Dale Bruner

The Gospel of John

Bruner is my favorite scholar/writer of commentaries in my thirty plus years of preaching.  I have been in John 6 for the last three months, meditating on the Greek text, English text, and Bruner’s keep insights. He offers a rare combination of devotion and scholarship.





2.  Spider in a Tree  by Susan Stinson

Spider in a TreeThis is a well-written and well-researched, historical novel about Jonathan Edwards around the time of the First Great Awakening in New England. It gives a brilliant insight on our need for a broad view of church history. We all have flaws. Here is a story of how a great theologian like Edwards can bring you to heaven and, at the same time, both have slaves and defend the great evil of slavery.  See my “Lessons from Church History” 10 min video on YOUTUBE for more. Click here. Stinson’s description, based on excellent sources, of the First Great Awakening and George Whitfield are worth the price of the book as well.



3. Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature by Connie Zweig

Meeting the Shadow

I read broadly on the shadow in preparation for writing my first chapter “Face Your Shadow” in The Emotionally Healthy Leader book which I am writing. I found this anthology most helpful in breaking down a very challenging, difficult theme.




4. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

The Writing Life


I reread this amazing little book every time I engage in a large writing project. It gives me perspective, a sense of the holy, and grace to remember that I am not crazy!




5. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Quiet-The Power of Introverts


I asked God for forgiveness after reading this. I have not been sensitive to the introverts in the building of community at New Life for the past 27 years. This book is a must read for every pastor/leader responsible for building small groups and community in their church.




6. Selling All: Commitment, Consecrated Celibacy, and Community in Catholic Religious Life (Religious Life in a New Millennium, V. 2                                           by Sandra M. Schneiders

Selling All


Best book on the call to celibacy out there (cf. Matthew 19:12ff). We can’t understand marriage without understanding the call to celibacy as laid out here. This should be must reading in Protestant seminaries and Bible colleges.



7. A Spirituality of Caregiving (Henri Nouwen Spirituality) by Henri J.M. Nouwen and John S Mogabgab

A Spiritality of Caregiving


I found this richly devotional. I read it over and over as part of my midday prayer. This is a gift for every pastor/leader.




8. Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now by Walter Brueggemann

Sabbath as Resistance


Outstanding theological insight on how practicing Sabbath relates to overcoming powers and principalities in our culture. It is not simply for us but for our churches and communities.




9. To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O’Donohue

To Bless the Space


This book of blessings, beautifully written, will lift you to heaven through his thoughtful integration of Celtic spirituality and gift of writing. Read this very slowly.





10. Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now by Gregory A. Boyd

Present Perfect


I appreciated this thoughtful, personal, and pastoral perspective on practicing the presence of God through history and his own life.



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