Monday, August 24, 2015

13 Books That Have Influenced Me

I came across an Anglican website that listed "The 100 Best Christian Books." It's a great, comprehensive list. It got me thinking about Christian books that have influenced me. Here's a list of 13 of them, not in any special order.

Celebration of Discipline, by Richard Foster. In 1981 this book kick-started a prayer revolution in me.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard. I became an Annie Dillard fan after reading this. Can anyone write better than her? My eyes were opened wider to God's presence found in my backyard.

Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. This book introduced me to Christian apologetics, and I've never looked back.

A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories, by Flannery O’Connor. Maybe Flannery O'Connor can write better than Annie Dillard. I've read everything I can by her, including a few books interpreting her vision of the presence of Christ in the lives of ordinary, flawed humanity.

New Seeds of Contemplation, by Thomas Merton. This book solidified the great truth that, in one's spiritual life, being precedes doing. Through this book Merton became one of my spiritual directors.

The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom, by Henri Nouwen. Through Nouwen's deep, transparent writings I experience the love of God and find healing for my troubled heart. Nouwen is an invaluable guide in my spiritual life.

A Testament of Devotion, by Thomas Kelly. I underlined so much in this book that a friend suggested I use spray paint. Kelly helped me see earth, through heaven.

Caring Enough to Confront: How to Understand and Express Your Deepest Feelings Towards Others, by David Augsburger. I have used this little book countless times in helping to heal broken relationships.

Shame and Grace: Healing the Shame We Don't Deserve, by Lewis Smedes. Smedes helped me understand the grace of God and experience healing from self-hatred and shame. 

Silence, by Shusaku Endo. This story of early missionaries to Japan broke my heart and helped me understand the cost of following Jesus.

The Cross and the Lynching Tree, by James Cone. It was good and hard to read a book that exposed areas of spiritual blindness in me.

Till We Have Faces, by C.S. Lewis. This book affected me deeply. I can't find words to describe what it's like when a book interprets your heart's deepest longings. I must take a deep breath and go away to a quiet place and read it again.

Thinking in Tongues, by James K. A. Smith. I am Pentecostal, and Smith's book has gifted me with an epistemology to go with it.

+ 1 more...  I just finished theistic philosopher Alvin Plantinga's Knowledge and Christian Belief. Plantinga's chapter on "faith" may be the best I have ever read (among other things, it debunks "faith vs. reason" as a false dichotomy, and presents faith as a form of knowledge.