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power and privilege, religion, social justice, white privilege, women in ministry

books i wish christians would read

Everyone is talking about the 10 greatest Christian books out there, books so critical if you don’t read them, you might not be able to figure out this whole faith thing.  They’re good books for the most part, but I can’t get over the fact that we same to recycle most of the same books, depending on the circles we’re in. The Evangelical Top Ten always seems to include Neibuhr, Phillip Yancey, a little Don Miller if you’re under 35, maybe some Miroslav Volf if you consider yourself nerdy, but mostly some Nouwen, Bruggeman, C.S. Lewis, maybe a little Richard Foster, and some Karl Barth.  Not to sound like a broken record here, but I don’ t know if  I have EVER seen a woman thoelogians name crack the top 10 on a list written by a dude. Rarely do you see liberation theology, feminist theology, womanist theology, or anything about racialization in the church make it, either.

I was chatting with my amazing husband the other night about the emergent church, sharing my frustration that it seems to be the same damn faces preaching the same damn thing.  Basically, a new veneer on Christianity being used to justify the continuation of the same power and privilege that have driven the church in America for the past 200 years.  The same books are being taught and read, the same folks invited to speak at all the conferences.  As I’ve said before, it’s not a movement, but most of the time merely a makeover.  If we were serious about considering change, here are a few books by brilliant people I really WISH all Christians would read and give the chance to impact their worldviews.  A good book does not merely restate what you already know, it kicks your ass out of familiarity, brings challenge and will not let you rest as you are.  Here’s my list for today, with a leaning toward Christianity, I’d probably have another one tomorrow.

J. Kameron Carter, Race: A Theological Account

Elizabeth A Johnson, She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse

Gilbert Bilezikian, Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says about a Woman’s Place in Church and Family

Delores S. Williams, Sisters in the Wilderness

David Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in the Theology of Mission

Dorothy Bass, Practicing our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People

Tim Wise, White Like Me, Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son

Kwok Pui-Lan, Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology

Sandra Schneiders, The Revelatory Text

Susan Rakoczy, Great Mystics and Social Justice: Walking on the Two Feet of Love

Gustavo Gutierrez, We Drink from our Own Wells

Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination

Anselm Min, The Solidarity of Others in a Divided World: A Postmodern Theology after Postmodernism

Upcoming Conference outside the Evangelical Emergent Radar that looks great:

Christianity 21: Faith in the 21st Century

What do you wish Christians would read?



5 thoughts on “books i wish christians would read

  1. I’m saddened to admit that I don’t know of any of those books but I’m glad for your list and will chase after some of them as soon as I whittle down my current stack.

    But if I could offer a couple suggestions:

    Anything by Anne Lamott but Traveling Mercies for sure,
    and Stumbling Towards Faith by Rene Altson.

    Two books that kicked me out of comfortable, familiar christianity.

    Posted by Randall | April 1, 2009, 2:34 am
  2. looks like a good summer reading list…thanks leah 🙂

    Posted by hopewanders | April 1, 2009, 3:44 pm
  3. thanks randall and kate. randall, i love anne lamott too, but i haven’t heard of the altson book. something to put in the queue!

    Posted by leahklug | April 1, 2009, 4:29 pm
  4. Thank you for this list. Will read them over summer! 🙂

    I’m reading
    The Divine Conspiracy
    Adventures In Missing The Point
    and I just finished a book on prayer.
    So check those out, maybe?

    I found Quest Church by looking for churches around Seattle Pacific University. I hope to attend there in 2011. I was very excited to see a church so close by that is very engaged in the world around it, and I’ll definitely visit if I ever do a campus tour/end up attending there!

    Posted by Chris Metzger | May 7, 2009, 1:08 am
  5. Those sound interesting, Leah. I really enjoy science, and have just finished John Polkinghorne’s “Questions of Truth.” There are probably many comperable books, but this is such a good broad take on physics and theology that I find most Christians lack, and ground on which I wish we could all converse knowledgeably.

    Posted by Adrian Ballow | July 2, 2009, 5:52 am

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About Me

wife, partner, daughter, and sister. traveler on the journey of faith. rage against the machiner. sometimes pastor.


March 2009
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