Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Brain Dump 2002, Part 1
I wrote out a "brain dump" about 18 months ago that was supposed to be the text for my first dozen or so blog entries. I never got around to posting any of it. So, here goes. I'll break it up into bite sizes, though I admit these are going to be big bites. And, one other disclaimer, this is stuff I was thinking 18 months ago, with only minor update edits.

I've read too much. I don't know if I'm proud or embarrassed to say that I've read hundreds of books in the past decade. (For you nervous Christians out there: Don't worry, I've also taken dozens of strolls through the New Testament, and several through the Old Testament, while I've read these other books).

As I look back on these books, here are the ones that I think "I can't even imagine my life if I hadn't read these books. They're just too important to skip!" I know life and faith should be simpler than that. I think I've needed all of these books to help me un-learn things that I had already been taught (and could never have questioned) that were keeping me from seeing God, the Bible, and life in a real way.


Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours? By Roland Allen
I think he is saying "keep it simple" or something.

He Loves Me, Authentic Relationships, & The Naked Church by Wayne Jacobsen
While these books would not make the "top 10 books I've ever read" list, they are the books I would be most likely to give to someone right now! If everyone got this stuff, the world would change almost overnight.

The House Church by Del Birkey
A great introduction to the historical issues.

The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church by Roland Allen
A missionary wrote this stuff way back in the 60?s. How come nobody ever spread this info around during all these years? Finding this book helps ease the fear of losing our institutions and our structures.

Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
Finally, I understand the Sermon on the Mount. This is a top five, must read, stuff that I wish somebody would have told me two decades ago.

The Celtic Way of Evangelism by George G. Hunter
St. Patrick's missionary methods speak volumes to our current cultural situation. This is a relatively easy read with outstanding insight into gospel and postmodern culture.

Jesus & Community by Gerard Lohfink
Academic. Lohfink gives the evidence for what I've long suspected: we've read our Bibles and created our theology through the lens of individualism. This book gives credibility to taking those lenses off once and for all.

The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder
Academic. Warning: I was scared to be labeled a "pacifist," and I was scared to admit that America may not be God?s chosen country until I read this book. Once again, why didn't anybody ever tell me this when they preached Luke 4? This is a must read. It may be startling, though.

Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas & William H. Willimon
Why didn't I get this stuff when I read through 1 Peter? Before you bash mainliners, read this!

Transforming Mission by David J. Bosch
Academic. One of the five most important books I've ever read! Skip the chapter on eceumenicism. Take a month?s vacation and get through this book. It is life changing.
Why wasn't this a textbook at my Bible College?

Foolishness to the Greeks by Leslie Newbigin
We were born & raised in Western culture. We need this book and others like it to help take our blinders off so we can see things (including the Bible) in a broader scope.

Houses That Change the World by Wolfgang Simson
Wolfgang is a extreme and will offend you! But between the offensive parts, you'll underline stuff and be challenged to re-think everything.

Missional Church edited by Darrell Guder
Academic. One of the very best. A must read. "If this is true, it changes everything!"

The Church Between Gospel & Culture By Hunsberger & Van Gelder
See Missional Church description. Same deal.

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Helped me see how loving God and loving people are so intertwined that you really can't do one adequately without doing the other.

Ancient-Future Faith by Robert Webber
This helped me see how the more we change things, the more we will finding ourselves going back to the way it originally was. And, the more we strive to go back to the way it originally was, the more we will find ourselves changing things.

The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
Some of you will make fun of me for this one. But give this a shot. It's one of my top five ever. It helped me deal with the trouble of life. Peck needed a detour through Zen Buddhism to get himself to become a Christian. So buckle up. There's something valuable here.

The Gospel in a Pluralist Society by Leslie Newbigin
I sound like a broken record, but "what is going on? Why did nobody ever tell me this stuff all these years?"

Anything (or everything) by Henri Nouwen
This guy taught me to talk to Jesus.

Devotional Classics edited by Richard Foster
For devotional reading, this stuff isn't fluff!

Abba's Child by Brennan Manning
A refreshing reminder that it's about God, not about all the things we focus on in His name.

What's So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey
A much easier read that explains some of the same stuff listed throughout this list.

And just to satisfy those who think I am fiction-deprived:

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (the whole unabridged thing!)
The most powerful narrative of grace I've seen outside the NT -- ever.

C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy
Deep and entertaining.

I would like to write a document giving quotes from each book, showing why they are all so valuable. But I don't have that much time, that much energy, or that much confidence that anyone would want to read all of it!


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