This is my 3rd year of sharing the top books read over the previous year. But to be honest, it was a bit of a slow reading year for me. I half-read many, skimmed through previously read books and journaled a lot more than I consumed. While I greatly enjoyed all the books listed here and welcome your suggestions for 2014!
Crouch, Andy Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power
Each of us has a measure of power, whether we acknowledge it or not. Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? How can power be used for good? Read this book for a paradigm-shifting view of the dynamics of power all around us.
Tyler Wigg-Stevenson The World Is Not Ours to Save: Moving from Activist Causes to a Lifelong Calling
Tyler identifies the potential path before those of us who want to change the world, what we are actually called to do, and how to live a sustainable life of significance.
Christine Pohl Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition
This is the ultimate manual for a life of true, rich, deep hospitality. Providing inspiration, history, and concrete examples, Pohl helps us expand our vision and practice of hospitality. “A life of hospitality begins in worship, with a recognition of God’s grace and generosity. Hospitality is not first a duty and responsibility; it is first a response of love and gratitude for God’s love and welcome to us.”
R.F. Capon The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
First and foremost, this is a book with the most eloquent writing. Capon utilizes words to share a vision for the table to taste good food, experience true fellowship, delight in creation, and draw near the God of the feast. While also a cookbook, it is more a book of practical theology.
Abraham Verghese Cutting for Stone
I’m partial to a novel which immerses me in another culture, time and perspective. And the beautiful story-telling makes it all the better. I recommend it if you want a book you won’t be able to put down with Ethiopian history and culture thrown in for good measure.
Khaled Hosseini And the Mountains Echoed
Tim and I had the opportunity to go hear Khaled speak at a local high school with our friend Eileen. This novel explores the complexity of the good and bad in each character, while revealing what each faces in a complicated world.
Jeremy Courtney Preemptive Love: Pursuing Peace One Heart at a Time
This is a compelling account of a family seeking to live out this philosphy: “love first and ask questions later.” Jeremy shares their journey to Iraq and the creation of the Preemptive Love Coalition. Inspiring and challenging to read about such deep commitment to God’s heart for reconciliation.
Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story
One of the ultimate books on the grand narrative of Scripture – Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration. It should be must reading for everyone in the church.
Elias Chacour, Blood Brothers
Try reading this without tearing up. It describes Elias Chacour’s journey into the ministry of reconciliation and the rebuilding of Palestinian villages. He calls others to work for justice and peace.
Henri Nouwen Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
Nouwen describes three movements in the spiritual life, as only he can do: toward self (from loneliness to solitude), toward others (from hostility to hospitality), toward God (from illusion to prayer). I particularly was impacted by his words on hospitality. “Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy.”
My Top 10 lists for 2012 and 2011.