A few weeks ago blogger friend Jeremy Postal wrote about the top 20 influential books in his library.
It got me thinking, what are the 20 books that have been a significant influence on me. So here is my list. Take it for what it is worth. I would be interested to hear which books, based on this list, that would stretch me, and challenge some of my thinking.
Of course this list assumes the Bible as the most influential.
1. Transforming Mission – David Bosch
This book introduced me to the Missio Dei (Mission of God) which has become a significant foundational piece as I seek to do theology in my particular time and place. A classic.
2. Streams of Living Water – Richard Foster
A very generous and enlightening engagement of the many streams of spirituality within the Christian faith tradition. This book taught me the value of each tradition within it’s biblical, historical and contemporary contexts. A classic.
3. Following in the Footsteps of Christ: The Anabaptist Tradition – C. Arnold Snyder
To learn how deeply entrenched spirituality is within the Mennonite tradition was a shock to me given my previous experience and some of the critique I’ve encountered, and given, to the Mennonite/Anabaptist world.
4. Community: The Structure of Belonging – Peter Block
If you want to learn about the inner workings of a healthy transformative community… read this book!! Blew my mind!
5. The Politics of Jesus – John H. Yoder
I’m a Mennonite. Enough said.
6. The Naked Anabaptist – Stuart Murray
7. The Cost of Community – Jamie Arpin Ricci
Jamie is a brother. A true theologian of the street. His work through the Sermon on the Mount in this book is phenomenal. The book paints the real life picture of the collision between the SOTM text, his community and St. Francis of Assisi.
8. The Shaping of Things to Come – Alan Hirsh and Michael Frost
This book gave me hope for the future of the church. A true gift from Hirsch and Frost!
9. Preaching – Fred Craddock
A classic preaching text. In some cases it is showing it’s age. But it is still a classic and I am in debt to the wisdom within it’s pages.
10. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
This book taught me about being a dad.
11. Blue Like Jazz – Donald Miller
A great book for me to read during my days as a call centre representative. It got me through many hours of call centre lameness. I don’t think my bosses knew I was reading it.
12. Mere Christianity – C. S. Lewis
This book had my brain going in circles. Brought me to knew questions which in turn brought me to new perspectives on faith and life.
13. Jesus and His Parables – Edited by V. George Shillington
I didn’t know how radical the parable telling Jesus was in first century Palestine until I read this book on the parables.
14. Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith – Rob Bell
Rob Bell is great at asking questions. I am thankful for his ability to ask the seemingly right questions at the right time. I wish he wasn’t in Hollywood making T.V. shows and stuff.
15. Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love –Mark Scandrette
One of the most practical and useful books I’ve read on ministry. It was like it gave me permission to experiment.
16. Listening for the Soul: Pastoral Care and Spiritual Direction – Jean Stairs
Taught me how to hear beyond words and exegete the depth of the conversation.
17. The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien
Brilliant! I wish I could speak Elvish.
18. Irresistible Revolution – Shane Claiborne
Inspirational, motivating and very very Anabaptist.
19. The Imitation of Christ – Thomas a Kempis
One of the more intense spiritual experience I’ve ever had was a result of reading this book.
20. Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness – Eugene H. Peterson
Introduced me to the counter-cultural nature of the pastoral vocation. Eugene Peterson is the man!
What are the books that have been influential to you? Based on this list, what would be a good book for me to read?