Monday, September 8, 2014
Expanding on a Post From FACEBOOK- "10 Books That Have Influenced Me"
My Friend Thiany Hennessy tagged me in a post where you are challenged to list 10 books that influenced you. Here I give some explanation for the 10 I posted on Facebook.
"The Book of Ecclesiastes" by Qoholeth- This is my favorite Old Testament book. It is such an effective antidote to the over-simplistic prophetic view of morality and suffering. To this day I think it may influence my thinking more than any other religious scripture.
"The Book of Revelation" by John of Patmos- John's Revelation of Jesus Christ is a more recent obsession for me, but in the last few years it probably has become second only to the Book of Ecclesiastes in import. So vital has it become to my life I wrote book ON this book.
"Alice In Wonderland" by Lewis Caroll...this was the first chapter book I read as a kid, with my mom's help. I think I fell in love with absurdity when I was 8 years hold, thanks to this book. I didn't realize the impact it had on me until years later.
"Mystery Without Magic" by Russell Pregeant- After the Bible, no book on faith or religion has influenced me more than this book. I think that as a work of apologetics, it is second to none. If was concerned only with having the most rational worldview possible, I'd simply believe what Russell teaches here.
"Catching the Light" by Arthur Zajonc- Whoa, what a book this is. The mind/body problem hasn't been solved yet, but this book comes closest to doing just that. It also shows how religion and science can compliment each other, and it shows the right way to go about creating a worldview where the two are complimentary. In a world where most attempts at this pretty much suck, this is a real gem.
"To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee- This is simply one of the most beautiful books I ever read. I loved the movie too, but one thing that stands out about the book as opposed to the film is that in the film Atticus Finch comes off as a heroic character in the book he is more of a tragic character. This book helped me to realize how forces of change can be effective even as they remain hidden, and that came to me as an insight of ultimate significance.
"Beyond Tragedy" By Reinhold Niebuhr- This is the most Christological of all of Niebuhr's books. It started me on the road to genuine Christocentrism in my theology and in my life. It influenced my preaching, big time, perhaps more than any other book. I learned from Niebuhr how to find profundity in the simplest of Bible passages.
"Man's Search For Meaning" by Viktor Frankl- No book for me laid the human soul bare in a more effective way than this book. Frankl's personal and psychological reflections upon his life in a concentration camp are transformative. This is a book that will change who you are forever. It is like touching the soul of another person with your bare hand.
"Lamb: The Gospel According To Jesus' Childhood Pal Biff" by Christopher Moore- This book is, today, my all-time favorite work of fiction. I have never read a book that more accurately depicted what it was LIKE to be a Christian and it helped me reflect on what it was like FOR ME to be a Christian. I recommend and give copies of this book away as often as possible. Irreverent while respecting reverence, comedic but with undertones of deep sadness and meaning, this is a great time and a good way to get acquainted with what it really means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
"A Rumor of Angels" by Peter Berger- This book is in the same class as MYSTERY WITHOUT MAGIC. It shapes how I think about why I believe in God and forms the foundation for my apologetic approach. When I explain WHY I'm a theist, I fall back on Berger's exposition here. It is a must-read.