December 14, 2023
For the next two weeks I would like to tell you all about my ten favorite books on faith and Christian spirituality that I have read this year. We’ll do five books this week and five next week. These are in no particular order and I certainly do not agree with every word in each of these books, but I am grateful that I have read them for how God has used them to grow my faith:
Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story by Bono
When I was a kid, my brother and I both fell in love with the music of U2. And as I have gotten older, the themes of faith that run throughout Bono’s beautiful lyrics have been a lifeline to me at various times in my life. In this gorgeously written memoir, Bono tells the story of how he has maintained faith while also becoming an internationally beloved rock star. His faith strengthened my own. And pro-tip: Please listen to the audiobook version. Not only do you get to hear Bono’s beautiful Irish accent, but the audiobook is peppered with acoustic versions of classic U2 songs.
King: A Life by Jonathan Eig
This is not written to be a book of spirituality, but reading it was one of the most discipleship-enhancing experiences I had this year. Eig does a marvelous job exploring how Martin Luther King Jr.’s Baptist faith was the foundation for his involvement in the Civil Rights movement. Hearing how MLK sought the will of God throughout his life was an inspiration.
Forgive: Why Should I and How Can I? by Timothy Keller
One of the final books Tim Keller published before his death from pancreatic cancer, this book explores the depths of Christian forgiveness. Keller, in his usual winsome fashion, explores the complications of forgiveness in instances of trauma and how forgiveness can free us from the pain we carry within our hearts. In August of this year I preached a sermon series on forgiveness and this was my most faithful source to prepare for those sermons.
Lent: The Season of Repentance and Renewal by Esau McCaulley
This little book is the inaugural volume in a fantastic new series called The Fullness of Time series. Each book explores a different season of the Church liturgical calendar. McCaulley is a New Testament scholar who teaches at Wheaton College and also serves as an Anglican priest. In this book, McCaulley examines how the season of Lent is steeped in Christian scripture and tradition to lead us toward authentic renewal in our faith.
All My Knotted-Up Life: A Memoir by Beth Moore
Beth Moore is a powerhouse name in Women’s Ministry and in the world of Bible Study curriculums. She was a dyed-in-the-wool Southern Baptist until she began to speak out against how the SBC mishandled the cases of sexual abuse uncovered a few years ago. Moore left the SBC and was deeply criticized by the “theo-bros” as being a dumb bimbo. But Beth Moore has a deep faith that is rooted in an authentic love and intelligence of holy scripture. This memoir is vulnerable, witty, and revealing. And it’s a beneficial read for all of us who want to have a real faith in an often fake world.