Monday, November 9, 2009

The Best Christian-ish Books I've Ever Read

A few weeks ago, I created a list of the best and worst Christian movies ever made. If you love lists, then you'll love this post because I'm going to do it again--but with books. So sorry if you don't like lists.

This list is also to make you aware that DisturbedChristians is starting to review books on an irregular basis; if you are interested in review books, then shoot me an email and I'll see what I can do (like all DC writing jobs, they are non-paying, but you will get free new books on an irregular basis)

I won't be listing my list of worst books, but you can probably gather they are basically any book that become so popular that mugs, t-shirts, and blankets are created to let everyone know how great their message is (i.e. The Prayer of Jabez, Left Behind, Case for Christ just to name a few)...and it's not like those books are a bad thing--I just find that they are usually copying ideas of other writers and aren't very original. Except for Left Behind which is bad on so many different levels.

Keep in mind that the presence of a book on this list does not mean it's a literary classic--it's just a book that changed the way I felt about something and  made me a stronger Christian. Also, I call it "Christian-ish" because some of the books are more about religion or Judaism than Christianity. So without further interruptions, here is my list of top 11 favorite Christian books (in no particular order).

Prayer - by Ole Hallesby
I read this book in college. I had grown of Methodist, and partly because of this was never really taught how to pray; I could recite by hard classic prayers in the Christian canon, but the thought of praying in a group frightened me. Prayer is a classic book that shamefully many people have not only never read, but never heard of.

Grace at Bender Springs - by Vinita Hampton Wright
I stumbled upon this book while writing a thesis paper on contemporary Christian literature. I had been under the impression that Christian fiction could not be good (at least modern fiction); everything I found was either cheesy historical romances or cheesy end times thrillers; then I found this book. This is the first book by Wright. The two books that followed in Velma Still Cooks in Leeway and Dwelling Places are actually better, but I put this one here because it was the one that first introduced me to the author and made me place hope that there were Christian authors writing about real issues in the church--like depression, addiction, and ultimately redemption.You can read a profile of the author here.

Just As I Am - by Billy Graham
Many of you know that I committed my life to Christ when I was young at a Billy Graham crusade in Anaheim; partly because of this, I have always been fascinated by Graham's ministry. It should be no surprise that this book is on this list. The book is not incredibly well written, but what really impressed me with the book was I felt like it gave me an inside look into history. Graham has meant more influential people than probably anyone else alive. This book gives insider stories about basically every President sense Kennedy.

In His Steps - by Charles M. Sheldon
Over 30,000,000 copies of this novel have been sold, which makes it one of the bestselling novels of all time; oddly enough, it's a bit forgotten today. The book coined the phrase "What Would Jesus Do?" (no that didn't start as a bracelet...the bracelets just made it popular again). As you can guess by the phrase, the plot of the book centers around the idea of asking what Jesus would do before doing anything; it's a simple message, but equally a powerful one.

A Handbook of Theological Terms - by Van A. Harvey
Unless you are a theology student, you've probably never read or heard of this book; I am not a theology student, but I love theological words and the history behind them.

J. Hudson Taylor: A Man in Christ - by Roger Steer
I enjoyed this book, but I'd actually recommend any book about J. Hudson Taylor. If you never heard of Taylor he is remember for being one of the greatest missionaries to China; what's more important than this, however, is how he served. During the time, missionaries would enter a country and treat the gossip like it was something you could believe in so you can be more white. Taylor went to China and lived like the Chinese--he dressed like them, ate with them, and immersed himself in their culture in a time when this just was not practiced.

Mere Christianity - by C.S. Lewis
I really don't need to explain this book because almost everyone whose reading this blog knows what the book is, and has probably read it. It almost singlehandedly started modern Apologetics. More people today read The Case for Christ which is a shame, because that book is basically just a copy of what Lewis did, but poorly wrote.

The Literary Structure of the Old Testament - David A Dorsey
If you want to know why this book is so great, read my post last week.

The Other Bible - Willis Barnstone
Dan Brown got one thing right: there were other books around about Jesus; where Brown got it wrong was that this was a new thing. The study of the Bible's so called Other Works got big a little over a 100 years ago. This book is one of the better collections of these books. While the works are not what I'd consider great, they can be appreciated from historical level. Some are ridiculous, but others offer true inside to the what people believed 100 to 200 years after the Jesus rose again.

The Prophets - Abraham J. Heschel
This is one of the best historical books written about what it would have been like to be a prophet.

Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind - Joyce Meyer
I like this book because of it's subject: spiritual warfare. It's a subject that is often not talked about, but it really should be.

1 comment:

  1. Great list! My favorite Christian (and Christian-ish) books are:

    -Confessions of St. Augustine
    -Blue Like Jazz
    -Velvet Elvis
    -Anything by Margaret Feinberg