Below you will find a list of books that are on the top of my want-to-read list for the new year. I own the last three and I’m hoping to be able to purchase the first seven sometime soon. I like a good challenge and I love a good book. Take a moment to read a little background about each book and maybe consider joining me on an intriguing new year reading journey?
MY 2014 TOP SIX LIST
The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated
Author: James Emery White
This book comes highly recommended from my friend and author Drew Dyck. James Emery White lends his voice to one of the most important conversations the church needs to be having today. He calls churches to examine their current methods of evangelism, which often result only in transfer growth–Christians moving from one church to another–rather than in reaching the “nones.”
Our Great Big American God: A Short History of Our Ever-Growing Deity
Author: Matthew Paul Turner
Matthew Paul Turner says that God didn’t just change America-America changed God. As a result, we may not even recognize the “real” God. Turner examines how American history and ideals transformed our perception of God. This book challenges us reconsider the way we think about America as a “Christian nation,” and helps us re-imagine a better future for God and country.
The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art
Author: Erwin McManus
With poignant, inspirational stories and insights from art, life, history, and scripture interspersed throughout, McManus calls us to reclaim our creative essence and reveals how we can craft our lives into a work of art. We all need to create, to be a part of a process that brings to the world something beautiful, good, and true, in order to allow our souls to come to life.
Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God
Author: Paul Copan
In this timely and readable book, apologist Paul Copan takes on some of the most vexing accusations of our time, including: God is arrogant and jealous God punishes people too harshly God is guilty of ethnic cleansing God oppresses women God endorses slavery Christianity causes violence and more Copan not only answers God’s critics, he also shows how to read both the Old and New Testaments faithfully, seeing an unchanging, righteous, and loving God in both.
The Divine Magician: The Disappearance of Religion and the Discovery of Faith
Author: Peter Rollins
Peter Rollins (known for pushing the boundaries of theology) presents another stirring vision at the forefront of re-imagined modern Christianity in his new book. He explores a radical view of interacting with the world in love and uses his “magical” framework to explain the mystery of faith that has been lost on the church.
Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity
Author: Brian Zahnd
Brian Zahnd presents the argument that a loss of beauty as a principal value has been disastrous for Western culture, and especially for the church. For thousands of years, artists, sages, philosophers, and theologians have connected the beautiful and the sacred and identified art with our longing for God. Now we live in a day when convenience and practicality have largely displaced beauty as a value. The church is no exception. The full message of the beauty of the gospel has been replaced by our desires to satisfy our material needs, to empirically prove our faith, and to establish political power in our world–the exact same things that Christ was tempted with and rejected in the wilderness.
Beyond the Broken Church: How to Leave Church Problems Behind Without Leaving the Church
Author: Sarah Raymond Cunningham
One of the favorite books on my self is Sarah’s “Dear Church.” This is the revised and expanded version that revisits the existing book with additional chapters, fresh statistics, new insights into why people are leaving the church, and a resource guide for those who care about the disillusioned and want to understand them better. Beyond the Broken Church will be a breath of fresh air to others who have experienced frustration in church as well as an insider’s guide for those seeking to understand current trends in church attendance, particularly among the younger generation.
Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life
Author: Eric Metaxas
I’ve already began reading this one and can’t wait to dig in deeper! “Miracles” is a powerfully winsome challenge that miracles are not only possible but are far more widespread than most of us ever might have imagined. Metaxas provides the measured and wide-ranging treatment the subject deserves, from serious discussion of the compatibility between faith and science to astonishing but well-documented stories of actual miracles from people he knows.
Both-And: Living the Christ-Centered Life in an Either-Or World
Author: Rich Nathan
We find ourselves caught between competing factions, secular or religious, conservative or liberal. We are pulled between extremes on one side or the other. But the Christian faith holds together seemingly contradictory ideas: Jesus is both human and divine; God is both three and one. There is a paradoxical power in the both-and. Rich Nathan and Insoo Kim show how Christians can live out the fullness of the gospel through the both-and. They affirm that we believe in both proclamation and demonstration of the gospel, justice and mercy, and unity and diversity as one body with many parts. The answer is not to choose one or the other, but to hold both together for a richer, more holistic experience of Christianity.
The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible
Author: Mark Batterson
I plan to read this one while also delving into Metaxas’s “Miracles.” In this book, Batterson reveals the incredible power of the seven miraculous signs of Jesus found in the Gospel of John. He shows how they were not simply something Jesus did in the past, but something he wants to do now, in the present. He shares true stories of people today who are experiencing miracles in their lives. And he brings to light countless miracles, big and small, that we take for granted every day that point us toward the One who healed the sick, calmed the storm, and yes, even raised the dead. “There are miracles all around us all the time,” says Mark Batterson, “but you won’t see them if you don’t know how to look for them.”