December 15, 2022
Last week I told you about five books I read in 2022 that I feel God used to continue to shape my faith. This week I want to introduce you to five more. Please let me know if you have read any of these or if you plan to:
Faith After Doubt by Brian McLaren
I first discovered McLaren’s writings when I was going through a season of deep doubt in college. His insights helped me to rediscover the beauty of the Gospel without some of the cultural trappings that I was struggling with. In this book, McLaren draws upon four stages of faith (simplicity, complexity, perplexity, and humility) to show we should not be afraid of our doubts. Instead, our doubts might be the very things God is using to spur us on to deeper commitment and understanding.
Reading While Black by Esau McCaulley
Every single one of us reads the Bible through a lens. In this book, Esau McCaully (a New Testament scholar who teaches at Wheaton College) draws on his own experience of growing up in the American South and the hermeneutics of hope that he heard in black churches. As our nation continues to wrestle with issues surrounding racial justice, those of us who are Christian have to be committed to a deeper understanding of our neighbors. This book does a beautiful job laying out many of the ways that African American pastors and scholars approach the Bible as a source of deep and abiding hope.
Means of Grace: A Year of Weekly Devotions by Fleming Rutledge
I am an early riser, but I wake up especially early on Sunday mornings. It is my time to pray, to drink coffee, and to make any last-minute changes to my sermon. But for the past year, I have begun each Sunday morning with a devotion from one of my favorite preachers: Fleming Rutledge. She’s an Episcopal preacher in her 80s who writes with truth and clarity. I have been so grateful for her voice this year. Every Sunday as I prepare to preach to a church I love, I have been preached to through these devotions.
Lead by Paul David Tripp
This book by Paul David Tripp explores twelve principles that should guide those who serve as leaders in churches. I don’t agree with all of Tripp’s Calvinistic perspective and am troubled that he uses almost exclusively male pronouns for leaders (I wholeheartedly affirm women in ministry). However, the bedrock virtues he expounds on have been helpful for me as I prayerfully find my way through what it means to lead with integrity and with the goal of glorifying the Lord.
Accidental Preacher: A Memoir by Will Willimon
Will Willimon is one of my favorite preachers. He has a snarky sense of humor (to which I aspire) and a gift for preaching with clarity. His memoir is full of insight into how his calling was shaped by various circumstances and encounters (including a memorable conversation with the Baptist Carlyle Marney). Willimon tells his story in a way that inspired me to think deeply about my own calling. Also: I highly recommend you to listen to the audiobook; Willimon’s South Carolina accent is too good to miss!
What books have you read this year that you have found to be impactful on your faith journey?