How do you narrow down your favorite books of the year to 10? That was not easy, because honestly out of the 55 books I completed this year, I read a LOT of great ones. This might be one of my best reading years ever (I know that sounds really nerdy). In any case, here were my top ten favorites. (I’ve intentionally left off the ones that are really nerdy and no one would ever read. 🙂
10. Augustine of Hippo – Peter Brown
A thorough, yet readable biography. If you want to understand Augustine, this is a great place to start.
9. How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It – Patricia Love
The title of this book almost made me laugh out loud. I’ll be honest that after having “talk about our relationship” in marriage, the title intrigued me and made me want to read it. Kelli and I both found it extremely helpful to understand the unique dynamics we bring into the relationship and what causes us anxiety and shame and how to improve our marriage without bringing out those two things. I highly recommend this to all married couples.
8. Faith Without Illusions; Following Jesus as a Cynic-Saint – Andrew Byers
This is a very insightful and helpful read for those who have been disillusioned with faith/church in the past. Byers does not only identify with our plight, but helps us to know how to grow into “hopeful realists” rather than cynics.
7. Telling Yourself the Truth – William Bauckus
A book Erin recommended to me as I was thinking about how to help people with their anxiety problems. Little did I know, I would benefit the most! I’ve used the things I’ve learned in this book more than I can count this year.
6. The Heresy of Orthodoxy – Andreas Kostenberger
Rigorously debunks Walter Bauer’s thesis that there were a diversity of “Christianities” that existed in the first century and the “orthodoxy” we have was simply because those in power trampled all the competing Christianities. I knew that Ehrman was off when I read Misquoting Jesus, but this book thoroughly exposes Bart Ehrman’s appropriation of Bauer for what it is: based on and shaped by false presuppositions and biases, NOT on historical truth or scholarly textual criticism.
5. Life is Mostly Edges – Calvin Miller
Calvin Miller’s memoir can be described as delightful. One of the more enjoyable reads this year and one of the funniest! Miller’s storytelling capacity is top-notch and his experiences and wisdom are valuable, especially for pastors. Excited to read his latest…
4. Bonhoeffer – Eric Metaxas
The main criticism of this book was that it attempted to “claim” Bonhoeffer for evangelicals. I’m not so sure about that, but maybe I’ll understand better his after my class on Bonhoeffer in the spring. This is the first biography of Bonhoeffer I’ve read, but I’m inspired and intrigued with his life story.
3. Craddock on the Craft of Preaching – Fred Craddock
I just finished this book today but LOVED every moment of it. It was such a joy to read and has re-sparked the creative juices (which I needed!) in regard to preaching. If you are a pastor and you preach weekly or regularly, you MUST read this. I guarantee that you will love it and be challenged by it.
2. The Divine Conspiracy – Dallas Willard
I’ve read bits and pieces of this in the past, but after my unique encounter with Willard in D.C. I finally made the time to go back and read it in it’s entirety. This may be the best book on following Jesus I’ve ever read. You should read it slowly and take it in because it will change the way you think about Jesus and his kingdom forever!
1. The Pastor – Eugene Peterson
Eugene Peterson is the Radiohead of pastors. He can write anything and I will give it a 10 out of 10. This is no exception. Great stories and more wisdom from a pastor I aspire to be like.