July 9, 2020

Decade’s End: 30 Favorite and Important Books I Read — 2010-2019

DECADE’S END
30 Favorite and Important Books I Read — 2010-2019

This list by no means represents all the books I read and enjoyed in the past ten years, but I have tried to boil it down to some of the most important and eye-opening ones I’ve had the privilege of digesting.

• • •

On Jesus-Shaped Spirituality

Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality
by Michael Spencer

On Church and Pastoral Ministry

The Pastor: A Spirituality
by Gordon Lathrop

Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus
by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison

This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers
by Lillian Daniel and Martin B. Copenhaver

On Reading the Bible Better

The Return of the Chaos Monsters and Other Backstories of the Bible
by Gregory Mobley

The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture
by Christian Smith

The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It
By Peter Enns

A High View of Scripture? The Authority of the Bible and the Formation of the New Testament Canon
by Craig D. Allert

The Seven Pillars of Creation: The Bible, Science, and the Ecology of Wonder
by William P. Brown

Reading Romans Backwards: A Gospel of Peace in the Midst of Empire
by Scot McKnight

On Understanding the Gospel More Clearly

The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited, by Scot Mcknight; and How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels, by N.T. Wright

Paul and the Gift
by John M.G. Barclay

The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right
by Lisa Sharon Harper

On Christian Living

Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit
by Henri Nouwen

The God Of The Mundane: Reflections on Ordinary Life for Ordinary People
by Matthew B. Redmond

The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality; and Sacred Fire: A Vision for a Deeper Human and Christian Maturity, by Ron Rolheiser

Memoirs

My Bright Abyss: Meditations of a Modern Believer
by Christian Wiman

Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions
by Rachel Held Evans

The Pastor: A Memoir
by Eugene Peterson

On Luther

Luther: Man Between God and the Devil
by Heiko A. Oberman

Union with Christ: The New Finnish Interpretation of Luther
by Carl E. Braaten & Robert W. Jenson

On How We Reason Morally and Relate to Others

Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality
by Richard Beck

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
by Jonathan Haidt

On American History and Ideals


The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels
by Jon Meacham

The Civil War Volumes 1-3
by Shelby Foote

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
by Isabel Wilkerson

Fiction and Poetry


Gilead: A Novel
by Marilynne Robinson

Leavings: Poems
by Wendell Berry

Comments

  1. Relating to others:
    I enjoyed Richard Beck’s “The Authenticity of Faith:The Varieties and Illusions of Religious Faith
    He tackles Freud’s “The Future of an Illusion” concerning psychological consolation. Lots of truth there.However, there are other psychologies that relate to truth above explanations toward relation to society.

  2. Thanks for the recommendations.

    Personality, I think I should read Mere Churchianity every year as well as The God of the Mundane/—loved both!

    • David Greene says

      The God of the Mundane must have become a collector’s item, the cheapest used copy I found was over 50 bucks! Not likely many will be reading it sorry to say.

  3. Re: “Gilead.”

    One of the strangest reading experiences for me ever. I slogged my way through it, having to convince myself to keep pressing on, that it would “get better,” and it never really did “take off.” But when I reached the end I realized what a profound book it was, with characters and situations that seemed so real that you’d think they really existed. And I wanted to re-read it IMMEDIATELY!!! Never before had I instantly wanted to re-read an incredibly challenging book.

    Such a difficult but amazingly rewarding read. Highly recommend!

    The next book in the series – “Home” – is also highly recommended, though quite somber, and the third book – “Lila” – is to me the most brilliant of the three. The Lila character who is a very minor character/player in the first book gets a whole book, and it’s as fascinating a character study as you’ll ever read.

  4. One glaring omission here, in my view: Fleming Rutledge’s “The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ.”

    (I realize that this is your list and not mine, but I simply had to mention this terrific book.)

    • Randy, I’ll probably second that once I get a little deeper into my copy. Scholarly yet a lively read.

    • It would have made my list for sure, but I unfortunately didn’t make much progress through it at the time. It’s on my list to read in Lent this year.

  5. Clay Crouch says

    Happy New Year! That is indeed an impressive list. Might I suggest for this next decade you flip the list with 29 fiction and 1 non fiction?

  6. Christiane says

    I hope to read the Meacham book this year.

    So many good books in your list, thank you for giving me some good leads

  7. senecagriggs says

    Christian Wiman? Huh?