In describing her criteria, Sarah writes, "Today, I’m sharing the 10 books that changed my faith. These aren’t necessarily my favourites, or the classics, or the best written, or even my most beloved books about living life in Christ’s ways. But I wanted to share these ten books because they actually changed how I experience and understand God, and then, how I live my life in response. These books messed with me, man."
Since I am in the middle of deconstructing, it is very difficult for me to choose books that have changed my faith. Titles that I might have loved at the time no longer resonate with me and I do not want to recommend them. So, I will recommend a few titles that still make the cut, and then list a few that I am planning on reading that I believe with change my faith.
7 Books that Changed My Faith and Make the Cut
The Jesus of Suburbia by Mike Erre
I am not even sure how I came across this book. It looks at how Americans have re-made Jesus into a person we are comfortable with. Mike Erre inspires and reminds that Jesus was the most revolutionary man who ever existed. One of my favorite parts is how in the beginning, he explains what was going on historically during the time of Jesus birth. The Jesus of Suburbia left me asking myself, "If we REALLY believe what we say we believe, why don't our lives look different?"
Divine Nobodies by Jim Palmer
"What does a Hip-Hop artist, Waffle House waitress, tire salesman, and disabled girl have to do with discovering spiritual truth? What if embracing authentic Christianity is a journey of unlearning?" I have had many interactions with divine nobodies who have changed my perspective permanently. This book will make you laugh out loud and sooth your soul. It will make you realize you are not alone, and that we all have a piece of the divine in us. I just finished this book and am starting Jim's next book, Wide Open Spaces: Beyond Paint-by-Number Christianity. The Resignation of Eve: What If Adam's Rib Is No Longer Willing to Be the Church's Backbone? by Jim Henderson
I recently read this book after leaving THAT church, and being affected by the damaging teachings of patriarchy. Jim Henderson is a wonderful storyteller. Resignation of Eve is a collection of women's stories, categorized into those who have "resigned to", "resigned from", and "re-signed". Some of the stories will make you cringe, some will make you stand up and cheer. This book helped me to decide how I would respond the issue of women & church. My friend Jim lives what he believes and constantly empowers women to do and be all that God has called them to.
Unladylike: Resisting the Injustice of Inequality in the Church by Pam Hogeweide
Unladylike brought the clarity I needed to finally and completely change my mind about women in the church. Pam explains why it is a matter of justice, not theology. Pam is a former complementarian, and reading about her struggle and journey to change her viewpoint and find the courage to stand up against injustice is empowering. Coming from the same background, it is refreshing to read a book about women's issues from someone who has not always been egalitarian. Unladylike takes away the fear of having wrong theology and makes it an issue of standing up for justice. She has also become my friend!
Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World by Richard J. Foster
I read Freedom of Simplicity during the first month's for THAT church's plant. There was a lot of pressure to do, to be everywhere, to be in community all the time with the same people, to live this crazy busy ministry life. And it was exhausting. Richard Foster's book resonated so deeply with me and really encouraged me to say no and step back. It was only then that I began to see the things that troubled me and discern the direction God wanted me to go. I love it because he explained so well the paradoxes of Christianity and how all things must be held in tension.
The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Francis Collins
I have a confession to make. I used to believe in a young-earth. I read this book because I had to as part of my Comparative Religions course. It was a challenge for me because I was taught that science couldn't be trusted, and that evolution and creation were polar opposite views that could never be in harmony with each other. Francis Collins is both a Christian and a scientist. He hashes out all the standard arguments with both faith and reason. A must read that I will be reading again!
Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan
I am so glad that I was reading this book when I started attending THAT church. Francis Chan takes a fresh look at the Holy Spirit and asks readers to put away biases and really learn what the bible has to say about the Spirit. This book is what made what I would call the "absence" apparent. And it helped me to know that I could trust the Spirit's leading as I walked away. Definitely a great read, especially if you are confused like I was from my experiences with pentacostal churches (heavy on Spirit) and reformed churches (heavy on theology).
3 Books I am Anticipating Will Change My Faith
Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices by Frank Viola & George Barna
I think this will change my faith and bring freedom when I discover just how many of the things that I have been taught are rooted in paganism. I believe knowing this information will relieve the guilt I feel about leaving institutional church.
What Paul Really Said About Women: The Apostle's Liberating Views on Equality in Marriage, Leadership, and Love by John T. Bristow
This book has been recommended to me several times. I anticipate it will help me feel confident in my newly found egalitarian stance. I am always reluctant to have the discussion because I don't feel like I can back it up. I hope this will help me be able to do so.
The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out by Brennan Manning
This has been recommended to me over, and over, and over. I am not sure what to expect, but I know that I am bedraggled, beat-up and burnt-out so I am pretty sure it is for me.