I love reading! But there might be one thing that excites me more and that is seeing what other people are reading!! I love the rabbit trail it sends me on when I find one book that leads to another book. So I have dedicated an entire blog post on some books that I have read this last year. My list was much LONGER but I figured people would appreciate a smaller, concise list that keeps ones attention. I also plan on doing a book list on self help and racial reconciliation. YAY!
One of the things that has created room for spiritual growth for me is to read authors who are not my denomination. I think sometimes evangelicals think they are going to be the only ones in heaven. That we somehow have the market cornered on who Jesus is. That our heavenly neighbors will all be republican, evangelical, charismatic and white. (ok maybe I’m placing judgment on that last one!) I have been so refreshed to see Jesus in a new way by reading brothers and sisters that express worship differently then I do. Some might have views that are deemed more “liberal” but I have so much to learn from them! WE have so much to learn from each other. The church is big and she is beautiful.
An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor: I fell in love with Barbara Brown Taylors writing immediately! She strings some beautiful words together! This book goes through the spiritual practices and how they can be practiced every day. You will leave changed by the depth and simplicity of this book. You can also watch short videos here of her speaking.
Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey: I found Sarahs blog a couple of years ago. She brings such beauty and truth as she dives into a sometimes “uncomfortable” topic of women in the church. It feels like you’re having coffee with your favorite (smart) girlfriend! I anxiously awaited the release of her first book. And It did not disappoint! For a every women and every man in the church this is a MUST read. It will change the way you view the dirty word “feminist” (I happen to not think it’s a scary word but I am a rebel at heart 😉 ) and send you questioning how scriptures about women are talked about in church. I did the ugly cry through the last chapter.
When We Were On Fire by Addie Zierman: I also found her blog and later picked up her book. She chronicles her life growing up in the evangelical church and her journey into depression. I loved reading her story. If you grew up in evangelical culture circa 1990’s, this will make you laugh and shudder at the same time! I soooooo connected to her doubt and cynicism. And her journey to real faith with imperfect followers. It was also a bit of healing for me as I looked back on my own journey. There is a lot of talk about my generation leaving the Church. Most often than not I think for good reason. So I think her story is so important if we are to continue to grow as Jesus people! The church is battered and bruised but she has such beauty.
The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd: If your heart starts racing when someone talks about feminism. Or rage begins to fill up your body because you think women who are feminist are all going to hell. I would venture to say this is not the book for you! I found this book fascinating and powerful! So much I only got half way through it. I needed to put it down to digest the first part. It’s one of those books I could read over and over again. I see it like a big juicy steak that you might need a lot of time to sit and chew, to get all the goodness out of it. This is a story about her journey into womenhood. Not the one society creates for you. Not the one the church says over you. But the identity that Mother God imparts to us as women.
When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd: I don’t think I can explain how much this book impacted me. It holds a really special place in my heart. I read this book during my first round of depression last year. It changed so much for me. How I viewed God, how I saw myself, and how I viewed transformation. It’s just an amazing book! The spiritual act of waiting is so counter culture and exactly what spiritual transformation is about!
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott: Umm need I say more. This is Anne freakin Lamott people. If you have never read one of her books, I’d say start here. She will make you cry and laugh. Some of her other books that I love are: Bird by Bird and Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. ALL of her books are fantastic. If you like writing, READ BIRD BY BIRD.
Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination, and Spirit by Luci Shaw: This was such a beautiful book to read. Luci Shaw is a poet and her words nourish the body like only a poet can do. I was interested in reading this book because the arts really draw me to the presence of God. But I have often times been disappointed that Christians sometimes like to create art in boxes made of right and wrong. She says, “Faith informs art and art informs faith.” Side note: I am REALLY thankful we are a part of a faith community with AMAZING artist. It’s an incredibly talented bunch. They are painting the world with colors that look like Jesus!
Carry on, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton: I don’t know what to say. Glennon is hilarious! Her transparency is contagious. And her wisdom will disarm you in 2 seconds. You can’t help but it eat up her words! You can check out her TED talk here. She also has a pretty sweet blog.
The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and “Women’s Work” by Kathleen Norris: One thing I love. Liturgy. And one thing I hate. Laundry. This is a small book but when you open it up gold falls out. Seriously! It’s a beautiful book that connects you to God’s presence in the mundane of life. The beautiful repetitive work of laundry and cleaning will feel like a full body prayer to your creator after reading this book.