I've highlighted and scribbled my way through my favorites listed below. I turn to them time and time again for encouragement, for a challenge, for a reminder of what faith is all about. These books have helped me grow in my faith- a couple even helped me embrace it.
There can be a temptation to base faith on these books or what a certain author tells us to believe. However, books on Christian Living were never meant to replace the Bible. They serve to point us to God. When we read, we should be able to back it up against scripture. If we can't, it's time to set the book aside and move on.
My favorite Christian nonfiction books:
The Beautiful Ache- Leigh McLeroy The subtitle is Finding the God Who Satisfies When Life Does Not. This author has a great first name. But she also has a great way of exploring the tension between the imperfections of earth and the perfection awaiting us in heaven.
Bittersweet- Shauna Niequist The full review. I've since bought copies for friends. I love her words.
The Call- Os Guinness Helpful devotional on finding our true purpose.
The Celebration of Discipline- Richard Foster A wonderful explanation of the spiritual disciplines that gets at the spirit behind the practices without becoming a list of rules.
Crazy Love and Forgotten God- Francis Chan Crazy Love inspired my decision to take a leap of faith and move to Nashville. Forgotten God solidified my desire to pray crazy, courageous prayers and see how He will use them.
The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective- Richard Rohr I'm grateful to my dear friend The Gat for recommending this to me. It's more than self-analysis. The Enneagram has a way of moving past ourselves and to the heart of the matter. What makes me tick? What are my tendencies? Does this sound familiar? I recently posted a series about the good and the bad of being a 4 and what the Enneagram is all about.
Evolving in Monkey Town- Rachel Held Evans In so many ways, I feel Evans' story is my story, from our shared childhood eczema to wrestling with faith. We came up with a few different conclusions but overall I appreciate this memoir and exploration.
God's Politics- Jim Wallis The message behind this book was my saving grace during the 2004 election: "God is not a Republican...or a Democrat." While there's much more dialog on the relationship between faith and politics now, I haven't forgotten the people who told me I was not a real Christian unless I voted for George W. Bush. It was refreshing to find other Christians with a similar point of view. Wallis explores the Christian response on a range of issues, catering to neither side of the political spectrum. It's challenging and thought-provoking, whether you agree with him or not. I was able to hear Wallis speak a couple of years ago, which was amazing.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years- Don Miller A few thoughts here. Simply inspiring from start to finish.
A New Kind of Christian- Brian McLaren An author that explores Christianity outside of the box. After reading this in college, I finally felt ready to take back my abandoned faith and wrestle with God a bit. It was refreshing to see that there were others out there like me who didn't quite fit into the conservative church we had grown up in.
Radical- David Platt What more can I say about this book? My thoughts from the Read-Along: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Revelations of a Single Woman- Connally Gilliam Without a doubt, the most honest book I've read exploring singleness. Gilliam's book is easy to relate to and she addresses subject matter that is typically taboo in Christian circles. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is single and wants to be engaged in their faith in this season of life.
Sacred Thirst- M. Craig Barnes I often reference Barnes' words here. I go back to this book whenever I am in need of refreshment.
The School of Dying Graces- Richard Felix I read a few books on loss after Grandma died in 2007 but none spoke to me as much as Felix's experience through his wife's battle with cancer. His examination of the gifts we gain from persevering through suffering was both inspirational and encouraging.
Singled Out- Christine Colon and Bonnie Field A fantastic look at the relationship between celibacy and the church. Whether you're married or single, it's worth reading just for the history alone. I wrote part 1 of a review but part 2 is still to come.
Traveling Light- Max Lucado I started reading this book on the 23rd Psalm to see if it was appropriate to give to a friend who was struggling with loss. He had unique insights on the familiar verses. It really struck home though when my 22 year old cousin Scott died while I was in the middle of the book. My aunt and uncle chose that same Psalm to be read at his funeral. The words were more comforting because of what I had read in Traveling Light.
Traveling Mercies- Anne Lamott Lamott's writing is not for the faint of heart. She is irreverent while being reverent. Her story of conversion does not fall into the nice cookie cutter shape of other conversion stories. Yet. She is dynamic, and she is honest about her issues. This is a beautiful exploration of faith.
A Walk with Jane Austen- Lori Smith Yes, I love Jane Austen but that's not why this book is dear to me. Smith's account of her travels in England retracing Austen's steps directly impacted her faith and her experience as a Christian single. I couldn't help but resonate with her experience and it definitely made me want to go to England as soon as possible.
Welcoming the Stranger- Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang I'd never looked in depth at the issue of immigration before, much less discerned what a biblical response might be. I feel much more informed now. The book has a great many insights and the authors are skillful in examining all sides of the controversial matter. My friend David posted a 2 part interview with Jenny Hwang on his blog, here and here.
What's So Amazing About Grace?- Philip Yancey Yancey makes the concept of grace easier to grasp with a fresh understanding of God's gift to us.
When the Heart Waits- Sue Monk Kidd Encouraging words for times of growth, waiting, and despair. I read Kidd's words and thought, "you too? Me too!" Kidd writes from a place of part mentor, part sojourner.
Stay tuned for more reasons why Leigh Likes Books:
- Favorite Fiction (General Market)
- Favorite Christian Fiction
- Favorite Nonfiction (General Market)
- Favorite Christian Nonfiction (today)
- Going to the Classics (5/23)
- Best Book Series (5/25)
- Childhood Faves (5/30)
- Books I Used to Like that Now Make Me Cringe (6/1)
Agree? Disagree? What are your favorite Christian nonfiction books?
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