Suggested Further Readings for MYTH OF A CHRISTIAN RELIGION
Here is a chapter-by-chapter list of suggested further readings for The Myth of a Christian Religion. If you’d prefer to download the readings as a Word document, click here Suggested Readings.
Chapter 1. Giant Jesus
Andrews, D. Christi-Anarchy: Radical Spirituality for a New Millennium (Lion, 1999). Andrews insightfully demonstrates – in his thought and in his life – that the Kingdom of God is centered on living a radically different Christ-like lifestyle that focuses on serving the oppressed while refusing to be co-opted by the “normal” values of the culture.
Frost, M and A. Hirsch, ReJesus (Hendrickson, 2009). A fantastic book that demonstrates that the Church is called to be Jesus to the world. The authors do a splendid job contrasting the wild and untamed Jesus of the Gospels with the boring and unthreatening Jesus of the traditional Christian religion.
Hauerwas, S. Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer in Christian Ethics (University of Notre Dame Press, 1983) A marvelous overview of Hauerwas’ ethics, rooted in his understanding of the unique call of the Kingdom.
McManus, E. An Unstoppable Force: Daring to Become the Church God Had in Mind (Group Publishing, 2001). Presents a compelling vision of what God intends for the Church and how it radically differs from the institution we’ve grown accustomed to in the West.
Thomas a’ Kempis. The Imitation of Christ. Available in many editions, this classic book was written by a 15th-century monk and has become one of the most widely read Christian devotional works in history. As the title indicates, the center of spirituality is imitating the life of Jesus.
Willard, Dallas. The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. San Francisco: HarperOne, 1998. One of the best books I’ve ever read on life in the Kingdom.
Chapter 2: Christ and Caesar
Babcock, M. UnChristian America (Tyndale, 2008). Written by a professor at Liberty University, this book exposes the commonly held fallacy that we can advance the Kingdom by political means. Babcock does an excellent job confronting the myth that America ever was a Christian nation and the related misconception that Christians are called to “take it back” for God by influencing politics.
Boyd, G. God at War (Intervarsity, 1997). Presents a comprehensive exposition of spiritual warfare throughout the Bible.
Boyd, G. The Myth of a Christian Nation (Zondervan, 2006). Contrasts the Kingdom of God with the heavily politicized Church in America. This book is the prequel to The Myth of a Christian Religion.
Claiborne, S. and C. Haw, Jesus for President (Zondervan, 2008). A powerful-yet-entertaining book that beautifully expresses the anti-empire, subversive nature of the Jesus revolution. I wish every American Christian would dare to read this book!
Clapp, R. A Peculiar People: The Church As Culture in a Post-Christian Society (InterVarsity, 1996). A wonderfully written and insightful critique of the Constantinian paradigm of Christianity and eloquent exposition of the church’s call to be a counter-cultural, “peculiar” community centered on Christ.
Camp, L. Mere Discipleship (Brazos, 2003). Possibly the best single book on discipleship I’ve ever read. Among other things, Lee shows that being a true disciple of Jesus entails rebelling against “Christendom” — the Church “militant and triumphant” — which fused church and state.
Eller, V. Christian Anarchy (Wipf and Stock, 1987). An excellent biblical defense of the view that Kingdom people have only one “archy” (power) they are under: Jesus Christ. All other “archys” (governmental authorities) are rendered irrelevant in light of the supremacy of Christ. (By the way, everything this over-looked author ever wrote is well worth reading.)
Ellul, J. Anarchy and Christianity (Eerdmans, 1991). A classic text for Christian anarchists who believe governmental authority is rendered obsolete when one is under the reign of God. (As with Eller, everything this largely ignored writer ever wrote is worth reading — though Ellul is admittedly not the easiest author in the world to follow).
Ellul, J. The False Presence of the Kingdom (Seabury, 1972). A masterpiece that reveals how the Kingdom is lost when followers of Jesus focus on being pragmatic (e.g. what “makes sense” to accomplish “the good”) rather than simply being faithful (how does God command and empower us to live).
Ellul, J. The Presence of the Kingdom (Helmers & Howard, 1989 ). Like much of Ellul’s work, some readers will find this text challenging to read. But it is packed with insight and captures the unique, counter-cultural, humble way Kingdom people are to be used by God to impact the world.
Ellul, J. The Subversion of Christianity (Eerdmans, 1986). Like I said above, everything Ellul wrote is beneficial to followers of Jesus. In this book Ellul argues that the Kingdom is not about ethics, religion or politics but a new form of life centered on Jesus. When Christianity gets fused with ethics, religion or politics it becomes its opposite – which is what the Church by and large has become today. In my opinion, this is the most brilliant Kingdom-motivated attack on the religion of Christianity since Kierkegaard’s Attack On Christendom.
Kierkegaard, S. Attack Upon Christendom, tran. W. Lowrie (Princeton University Press, 1968 ). This collection of essays is the most famous, and arguably the most brilliant, Kingdom motivated attack on Christendom in church history. The irony and insight of this Danish genius, employed to deconstruct the state church of Denmark, is breathtaking.
Kuo, D. Tempting Faith (Free Press, 2006). David Kuo was for three years one of the heads of Bush’s Faith Based Initiative. In this largely biographical book, Kuo shares how he came to realize the dangers of fusing one’s faith with one’s politics.
Lewis, T. ed. Electing Not to Vote (Wipf & Stock, 2008). A very helpful and diverse collection of essays offering arguments as to why American Christians should consider refraining from participating in the political process. Every Christian who thinks that voting is “a Christian duty” needs to read this book!
MacArthur, J. Why Government Can’t Save You (Word Publishing, 2000). I don’t find myself agreeing with John MacArthur often, but in this popular-level book MacArthur gets it mostly right. MacArthur doesn’t grasp the radical social- political dimension of Jesus’ counter-cultural ministry, but he presents a solid biblical case against the widespread evangelical assumption that Christians are supposed to control government as much as possible.
Yoder, J. The Politics of Jesus (Eerdmans, 1972). A classic scholarly work that presents an insightful analysis of the unique way Jesus was a political revolutionary.
Chapter 3: The Revolt Against Idolatry
Boyd, G. Repenting of Religion: Turning from Judgment to the Love of God (Baker, 2004). Makes the case that the center of the Kingdom is the fullness of life we get from God alone. Until we are filled with God’s own abundant life, we will inevitably chase after idols – including the most damaging idol of all, religion.
Boyd, G. Seeing Is Believing: Experience Jesus through Imaginative Prayer (Baker, 2004). Helps readers encounter Jesus in a real, life-giving, transforming way through imaginative prayer. It’s not what you theoretically believe that transforms you, it’s rather what what you experience as true. I and many others have found that practicing imaginative (or “cataphatic”) prayer is the single most helpful way to get our whole life (worth, significance and security) from Christ alone.
Calhoun, A. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: The Practices that Transform Us (InterVarsity, 2005.) A helpful handbook that introduces the reader to over sixty different spiritual disciplines practiced by Christians over the centuries.
Foster, R. Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth (HarperOne, 2002). A contemporary classic in the field of spiritual disciplines. As I repeatedly state in the “What can we do?” section of The Myth of a Christian Religion, regularly practicing the spiritual disciplines is indispensable for getting all our life (worth, signficance, security) from Christ. And unless we’re getting all our life from Christ, we cannot consistently manifest the beauty of the Kingdom and revolt against all that stands against it.
Stephen, E. and D. Shadel. Vessel of Peace: A Guide for Pilgrims of the Spirit (Abingdon, 2007). A beautiful book exploring how true spirituality is centered on freedom from idols. In the process, it exposes the main idols that grip Americans and shows how they damage us.
Willard, D. The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God (HarperOne, 1998). An extremely insightful exploration of what it means to live in the way of Jesus. The basic thesis – and it’s brilliantly simple – is that one can’t consistently confess Jesus is “Lord” unless they’re willing to also confess that his way of living is smart.
Willard, D. Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ (NavPress, 2002. This book is theologically, practically and psychologically profound. One of the best books available for people who are really serious about increasing their capacity to participate in the beauty of God’s self-sacrificial love and be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
Willard, D. The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives (HarperOne, 1999). Obviously, I’m a big fan of Dallas Willard. This work presents a solid overview of the classic disciplines practiced throughout church history that have helped believers get free of the idols of the world and grow in their capacity to experience, enjoy and manifest God’s life.
Chapter 4: The Revolt Against Judgment
Boyd, G. Repenting of Religion; Turning from Judgment to the Love of God (Baker, 2004). Goes into depth on judgment as “the original sin” (eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) and explores how it hinders our ability to receive and reflect God’s love.
Bonhoeffer, D. Ethics. Trans. N. H. Smith (Simon & Shuster, 1995 ). A very difficult but profound theological tome that (among other things) contrasts obedience to Jesus with ethical judgments. This was the work that first began to wake me up to judgment as rooted in the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
Ellul, J. The Ethics of Freedom. Trans. G. W. Bromiley ( Eerdmans, 1976). An insightful but demanding work that fleshes out what it means to live in the Spirit and how this contrasts with living according to Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Ellul, J. The Subversion of Christianity. Trans. G. W. Bromiley ( Eerdmans, 1986). A profound work that (among other things) addresses how radically different the Kingdom of God is from ethical and political judgments.
Chapter 5: The Revolt Against Religion
Andrews, D. Not Religion But Love (Pilgrim, 2001). A very readable, hard hitting, immensely practical book filled with personal anecdotes reflecting what a religionless follower of Jesus looks like in action. Few will read this book and not feel convicted.
Arterburn, S. and Felton, J. More Jesus, Less Religion (Waterbrook, 2000). A nice, therapeuticly orientated book contrasting healthy faith with what the authors call “toxic faith,” exposing the damaging consequences of religion in the process.
Boyd, G. Repenting of Religion (Baker, 2004). Goes into depth on religion as rooted in “the original sin” – eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Argues that much of what passes for “Christianity” actually preaches the fall as though it were salvation.
Camp, L. Mere Discipleship (Brazos, 2003). Camp marvelously explores the discipline of following Jesus by showing how it at every turn must confront Christendom (the religion of Christianity).
Cavey, B. The End of Religion (NavPress, 2007). A very readable and insightful expose on how Jesus subverted the religion of his day and how his followers are called to do the same today.
Gungor, E, Religiously Transmitted Diseases (Nelson, 2006). A readable, entertaining overview of a variety of ways religion compromises authentic Kingdom faith.
Schmelzer, D. Not the Religious Type (Tyndale, 2008). A warm autobiographical account by a former atheist who learned that loving and following Jesus doesn’t require one to become religious – in fact, it rules this out. A very helpful book for western people who have understandably been turned off to Jesus because of the Christian religion.
Chapter 6: The Revolt Against Individualism
Bilezikian, G. Community 101 (Zondervan, 1997. This book is a wonderful little primer on Christian community. It is a great place to begin if you are seeking to catch the vision for Kingdom community.
Bonhoeffer, D. Life Together. Tran. J. Doberstein (HarperSanFransico, 1954). This short, insightful classic reflects the theological foundation for Bonoeffer’s own community of believers living under Nazi rule.
Boren, S. The Relational Way (Touch Publications, 2007). Most books I’ve read on small groups are pragmatic in focus and fail to provide the theological rational for their necessity. Not this one.
Crabb, L. Connecting: Healing Ourselves and Our Relationships (Word, 1997). In this book, noted psychologist and author Larry Crabb explores the ways in which God can use Christian community to bring healing and liberation into the lives of its members. See also his follow-up book, The Safest Place on Earth (Nashville: Nelson, 1999).
Frazee, R. Making Room For Life (Zondervan, 2002). This book is particularly insightful in fleshing out the link between the consumer driven nature of American culture, on the one hand, and our lack of meaningful relationships, on the other.
Henderson, D. M. A Model for Making Disciples (Evangel, 1997) This marvelous book introduces us to the way in which John Wesley’s small group gatherings revolutionized 18th-century Britain and the way in which a similar approach to small communities can produce vibrant disciples in our context today.
Intrater, K. Covenant Relationships (Destiny Image, 1989). The concept of covenant relationship is at the heart of the biblical idea of community. This book helps readers understand the nature and importance of covenant and the indispensable role it plays in Kingdom communities.
McKnight, S. A Community Called Atonement (Abingdon, 2007). For those who are looking for a book that offers a solid theological reflection on Christian community, one that is rooted in, and an expression of, the atoning work of Christ, this is a great place to start.
Miller, W., and G. Sparks. Refrigerator Rights (White River, 2007). This book confronts the problem of western individualism and fleshes out our need — and Scripture’s command — to cultivate relationships in which others are deeply involved in our life (viz. in which they have “refrigerator rights” in our life).
Rutba House, eds. School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism (Cascade Books, 2005). One of the most distinctly Kingdom movements one can find today is the “new monastic movement” in which people are living in community with one another and serving their (usually urban) neighborhoods. This book is a collection of insightful essays on various aspects of monastic communities written by people who have experienced them.
Viola, F. Reimaging Church (David Cook, 2008). While I don’t agree with everything Viola teaches, this book masterfully demonstrates the catastrophic consequences of the traditional, Constantinian model of church as a building where strangers come to meet. Everything the Kingdom revolution is about hangs on disciples being banded together in small groups in which all are empowered to contribute their gifts. (See also Viola’s website, www.HouseChurchResources.org).
Viola, F and G. Barna, Pagan Christianity (Tyndale 2008). The best single source I know of that exposes how thoroughly pagan the traditional and contemporary understanding of the church is. Viola and Barna argue — rightly — that the passivity and impotence of the church today is largely due to this fact. Viola and Barna call us back to a New Testament understanding of Church that is rooted in authentic communities in which believers share life and engage in ministry together.
Chapter 7: The Revolt Against Nationalism
Allen, C. L. The Cruciform Church: Becoming a Cross-Shaped People in a Secular World (Abilene Christian University Press, 1990). An insightful work exploring how the call to take up our cross lies at the heart of the Kingdom of God and how this contradicts the foundational values of the modern secular world.
Boyd, G. The Myth of a Christian Nation (Zondervan, 2006). Explores how nationalism and the Kingdom have always been in conflict and how the Kingdom suffers whenever the Kingdom is aligned with nationalism. This book argues that the contemporary evangelical church is, to a significant extent, guilty of fusing the Christian faith with nationalism.
Camp, L. Mere Discipleship (Brazos, 2004). A short, brilliant work that emphasizes how following Jesus requires that one protect one’s faith from the corrupting influence of nationalism.
Ellul, J. The Subversion of Christianity (Eerdmans, 1986). A profound work that reveals (among other things) how Christianity has been significantly subverted by Christendom’s tendency to identify the Kingdom of God with political, national and social values.
Goldberg, M. Kingdom Coming (W.W. Norton, 2007). A carefully researched and lucidly written book that demonstrates on the basis of history the catastrophic consequences for society when religious and nationalistic zeal get fused, as is happening now with large segments of conservative evangelicalism.
Hauerwas, S. Willimon, W. Resident Aliens: Life in a Christian Colony (Abingdon, 1989). A classic work arguing that the Church is first and foremost called to be a counter-cultural community that refuses to buy into the values and ideals of the broader society it finds itself in.
Hughs, R. Myths Americans Live By (University of Illinois Press, 2004). An important work that exposes foundational nationalistic myths that subtly influence the American psyche.
Jewett, R., Lawrence, J. S. Captain America and the Crusade against Evil (Eerdmans, 2003). An extremely informative historical work revealing how America has from the start had a strong tendency to see itself as the defender of God, truth and righteousness (symbolized by the cartoon figure of “Captain America”) and how this has often adversely affected our domestic and international policies.
Sardar, Z. and Davies, M. Why Do People Hate America? (Icon Books, 2nd ed. 2003). Many of the authors’ claims can certainly be disputed, but I found this book useful in helping to explain why a majority of Americans are puzzled by the animosity many around the globe have toward their country. I recommend it as a tool to help American Kingdom people get free, or stay free, of the myopia of a nationalistically conditioned view of the world.
Chapter 8: The Revolt Against Violence
Bainton, R. Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace (Abingdon Press, 1979). This book has become a classic in the field of Christian non-violence. Bainton demonstrates that the pre-Contantinian Church was generally pacifistic and explores the development of just-war thinking among Christians after Christians came to power in the fourth and fifth centuries.
Battles, M. Blessed Are The Peacemakers (Mercer University Press, 2004). An insightful theological work arguing that all forms of violence are antithetical to the Christian faith. Provides the reader with a well-rounded, comprehensive understanding of non-violent Christian spirituality.
Brimlow, R. What About Hitler? (Brazos, 2006). Addresses the most common objection to pacifism; namely, that violence is justified when confronting evil people such as Hitler. The book also contains a nice overview and critique of just-war theory and an overview of the biblical basis for pacifism.
Driver, J. How Christians Made Peace With War ( Wipf & Stock, 2007). A short, readable exposition on how Christians’ attitude toward war changed radically when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century.
Eller, V. War and Peace (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2003 ). A succinct, witty and insightful overview of war and the Kingdom of God from Genesis to Revelation. Some of Eller’s proposals regarding how to reconcile the “holy war” tradition with the Gospel of peace proclaimed by Jesus are controversial, to say the least. But, as he always does, Eller challenges us to think through all the right issues.
Ellul, J. Violence: Reflections from a Christian Perspective (Seabury, 1969). As with all of Ellul’s work, this book is insightful and at times challenging. Ellul shows how the tendency towards violence is intrinsic to fallen society and how it is antithetical to the Kingdom Jesus inaugurated.
Hays, R., The Moral Vision of the New Testament (HarperSanFrancisco, 1996). An outstanding academic book covering an array of moral topics in the New Testament. It includes a superb (and, in my opinion, irrefutable) section on the New Testament’s ethic of non-violence.
Hornus, J.M, It Is Not Lawful for Me to Fight (Herald, 1980). Excellent survey of early Christian attitudes toward war, violence and the state. Among other things, this book demonstrates how early Christians were often despised for their refusal to fight or pledge allegiance to Rome.
Russell, S. Overcoming Evil God’s Way (Faith Builder’s Resource Group). Provides a marvelous, comprehensive overview of the biblical, theological and historical case for Christians to refuse all forms of violence for any reason. Russell’s expose on the anti-Christ nature of the Constantinian Church that used violence “in Jesus’ name” throughout history is especially powerful.
Tolstoy, L. The Kingdom of God is Within You (University of Nebraska, 1984 . Some of Tolstoy’s theological ideas are “out there,” but his trenchant critique of war and his passionate advocacy of the non-violent way of Jesus is profound.
Trzyna, T. Blessed Are The Pacifists (Herald Press, 2006). A marvelous little book that (among other things) shows that just-war theory is not consistent with Jesus’ teachings in the Beatitudes.
Yoder, J. The Original Revolution: Essays on Christian Pacifism (Herold Press, 1971). Insightful, tightly reasoned, collection of essays on a wide assortment of issues related to the Christian stance of non-violence. This book was one of the works that first inspired me to consider committing to unconditional non-violence.
Yoder, J. What Would You Do? (Herold Press, rev. ed. 1992). The most commonly asked questions of people committed to non-violence is, “What would you do if an attacker threatened a loved one?” – the assumption being that the smart and moral response would of course be to use whatever violence was necessary to stop the attacker. In this short and absolutely brilliant book, Yoder argues that, as a matter of fact, this would not be the smartest or most moral response. Most intriguingly, Yoder argues this not on the basis of biblical authority but strictly on the basis of common sense reasoning.
Chapter 9: The Revolt Against Social Oppression
Bilezikian. G. Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says about a Woman’s Place in Church and Family. (Baker Academic, 2006). This is a very helpful book for those who are wrestling with questions about the Bible’s teachings on women. It makes a compelling case that women can indeed be called by God to the highest levels of leadership and teaching within the church.
Eareckson, J, and S. Jensen, Barrier Free Friendships (Zondervan, 1997). Building on the life of Christ, this work provides insight on how to develop mutually fulfilling relationships with people with disabilities.
Grenz, S. and D. Kjesbo, Women in the Church (Intervarsity, 1995). A first rate biblical and theological defense of women being called to whatever area of ministry God has equipped them in.
Goldman, C. The Gifts of Caregiving (Fairview Press, 2002). Inspiring stories about, and interviews with, caregivers. Each person illustrates the challenges and the blessings of caregiving.
Hubach, S, Same Lake Different Boat (P & R Publishing, 2006). Written by a parent of a son with Downs Syndrome who leads the special needs ministry at her church. Shows how reflecting the character of Christ requires that individuals and churches become intentional about embracing people with special needs and how individuals and churches need what people with special needs bring to the table.
Hyland, J.R. Sexism is a Sin (Viatoris, 1995). Hyland makes a compelling biblical case that sexism is a sin that grieves the heart of God and that the Church of Jesus Christ is called to be a community that is free from it.
Kroeger, R. and C. Kroeger, I Suffer Not a Woman (Baker, 1992). An insightful scholarly treatment of the biblical text that is most often cited to forbid women from the highest levels of leadership in the church (I Timothy 2:11-15).
Nouwen, H. The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey (Doubleday, 1988). In this marvelous book, Nouwen reflects upon his spiritual pilgrimage that took him from being a professor at such notable universities as Notre Dame, Yale, and Harvard to becoming a member of Daybreak, a community near Toronto devoted to the care of people with profound developmental disabilities.
Pierce, R. W., R. M. Groothuis, and G. D. Fee, eds. Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy (InterVarsity, 2004). This is one of the best books available on the topic of women in ministry.
Chapter 10: The Revolt Against Racism
Barndt, J. Dismanting Racism (Augsburg, 1991). I found this book particularly helpful in waking me up to white privilege.
DeYoung, C., Emerson, M. Yancey, G. and Kim, K., United by Faith (Oxford University Press, 2003). An informative overview of how the church has (and has not) responded to racism throughout American history with some helpful, well- researched suggestions regarding how congregations can move forward in racial reconciliation today.
Emerson, M. and Smith, C. Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America (Oxford University Press, 2000). A classic work illustrating the very different ways white and black evangelicals view matters of faith. Among other things, this book exposes the depth to which American evangelicalism is white in its fundamental orientation and how this usually-unacknowledged fact keeps the church tragically segregated.
Gilbreath, E. Reconciliation Blues (InterVarsity, 2006). A beautifully written book from a black Evangelical perspective that insightfully reveals how thoroughly white the American Evangelical movement is – and why white Evangelicals don’t notice it. This is a must read for all white evangelicals who want the church to manifest the “one new humanity” Jesus died to create.
Hines, S. and DeYong, P. Beyond Rhetoric: Reconciliation as a Way of Life (Judson, 2000). An excellent, practical guide on how to move beyond saying one is for reconciliation to actually living in a way that promotes reconciliation.
Lupton, R. Theirs is the Kingdom (HarperSan Francisco, 1989). In poignant vignettes, Lupton (who is white) shares how his own assumptions, attitudes and biases were turned upside-down when he moved into an inner city neighborhood to do ministry. A highly recommended book that demonstrates that reconciliation must be a two-way relationship.
McNeil, B and Richardson, R. The Heart of Racial Justice (InterVarsity, 2004). Offers a biblical, holistic approach to reconciliation. This is one of the few books I know of that captures the role of the fallen Powers in fostering racism.
Sharp, D, No Partiality (InterVarsity, 2002). Though it is quite academic, this is probably the best single analysis of the idolatry of race and racism available. Most impressively, Sharp insightfully integrates the Bible with biology and the social sciences in his analysis of race.
Chapter 11: The Revolt Against Poverty and Greed
Babbit, D. and Babbitt, K. Downscaling (Chicago: Moody, 1993). A practical guide to getting free of the burden of living the American dream.
Foster, R. Freedom of Simplicity (Harper & Row, 1981). A classic text on the biblical call to modest, simple living along with practical steps on how to do this.
Jethani, S. The Divine Commodity (Zondervan, 2009). A truly insightful exposè on the way consumerism has thoroughly corrupted the theology and life of the western Church. I guarantee that this book will open the eyes of many western Christians to just how thoroughly commercialized our the church has become.
Perkins, J. Beyond Charity (Baker, 1993). Written by one of the Kingdom’s greatest contemporary prophets, this book challenges Christians to take responsibility for developing impoverished and racially oppressed communities. Whether or not one is personally called to urban ministry, this book is a must read – for we are all called to care for the poor.
Sider, R. ed. Living More Simply (InterVarsity, 1980). A collection of biblically insightful and practically helpful essays that help readers move toward a more simple lifestyle, freeing up time and resources for a less self-centered way of living.
Sider, R. Rich Christians In An Age of Hunger (Word Publishing, 1997). The classic work on the topic of poverty and wealth from an evangelical perspective. Still the most helpful book in confronting rich, first-world Christians with their Kingdom responsibility to help the poor. My own small group had our world rocked by this book.
Zydek, H. The Revolution (Orlando, Fl: Relevant, 2006). A very helpful collection of essays reviewing practical things Christians can do to address a variety of issues related to poverty. Some essays place too much emphasis on affecting politics, in my opinion, but it’s still a very informative book.
Chapter 12: The Revolt Against the Abuse of Creation
Berry, W. The Unsettling of America (Seirra Club Books, rev. ed. 2001 ). In this classic work on ecology and society, Berry shows how the modern agricultural business model has divorced people from the land and from each other, creating an environmental, social and spiritual crisis in America.
Grandin, T. and C. Johnson, Animals Make Us Human (Houghton Mifflin, 2009). The authors explore the many ways pets help us discover ourselves. Without intending it, I believe Grandin and Johnson provide an insightful look at God’s original design for human-animal relationships.
Hart, J. What Are They Saying About Environmental Theology? (Paulist Press, 2004). For people interested in various theological perspectives on caring for the environment, this is an excellent place to start.
Linsey, A. Animal Theology (University of Illinois Press, 1995). A hard-hitting book that shows how the Christian tradition has tended to neglect God’s call to extend merciful care to animals. The book includes a great, biblically based polemic against the modern “commodification” of animals, as demonstrated most poignantly by the creation of industrial farms.
Scully, M. Dominion (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2003). An eloquently written book that offers the best single expose I know of on how callous we tend to be toward animal suffering. Scully’s review of the Industrial Farm Industry is particularly trenchant. A real eye-opening book! (Warning: I’ve personally known dozens of people who became vegetarian after reading this book.)
Van Dyke, F., D. Mahan, J. Sheldon, R. Brand, Redeeming Creation (InterVarsity, 1996). Provides a solid biblical basis for earth stewardship as well as insightful overviews of aspects of the ecological crisis now facing us.
Webb, S. On God and Dogs (Oxford University Press, 2001). Webb presents a wonderfully balanced, yet powerfully compelling, case that Christians have a responsibility to extend God’s grace to animals.
Chapter 13: The Revolt Against the Abuse of Sex
Bell, R. Sex God (Zondervan, 2007). An insightful and artistic exploration of the ways western culture has desecrated the beauty of God’s design for sex and how this is harming us.
Boyd, G. and A. Larsen. Escaping the Matrix (Baker, 2004 ). Provides a model for taking thoughts captive to Christ that is rooted in Scripture and has proven powerful in helping people get free from strongholds, including sexual sin.
Nouwen, H. Clowning in Rome: Reflections on Solitude, Celibacy, Prayer, and Contemplation (Doubleday, 2000). A book that is packed with profound insights on the blessedness of being single and celibate (as well as on some of the spiritual disciplines).
Shalit, W. Return to Modesty (Free Press, 2000). A truly brilliant expose on the wisdom of traditional teachings on sexual modesty, especially in maintaining the dignity of women. Shalit argues that the sexual revolution that was in part launched to liberate women has actually backfired. She’s right!
Winner, L. Real Sex (Brazos, 2005). A theologically insightful and practically helpful work that contrasts the biblical view of sexuality with the prevailing view of western culture. The single best book I’ve ever read on honoring God with our sexuality.
Chapter 14: The Revolt Against Secularism
Boyd, G. This Sacred Moment (Zondervan, forthcoming ). Explores the central importance of “practicing the presence of God” and helps readers embark on this discipline.
De Caussade, J. The Sacrament of the Present Moment (HarperCollins, trans. 1989 ). A classic work by an 18th century French monk that is very helpful in teaching us how to integrate God into our everyday lives on a moment-by-moment basis. What’s particularly unique about De Caussade, in contrast to Brother Lawrence, Frank Laubach and others who teach the practice of the presence of God, is his remarkable emphasis on responding to God’s promptings on a moment-by-moment basis.
Lawrence (Brother) The Practice of the Presence of God (Whitaker House, 1982). This is the classic text on practicing the presence of God. I recommend that everyone study this short work.
Wakefield, J. Sacred Listening (Baker, 2006). A marvelous, theologically informed, practical guide to the spirituality of Ignatius. It is a demanding work, but will help readers encounter the living God and hear his voice.
Willard, D. Hearing God (InterVarsity, rev. ed. 1999 ). In my opinion, this book is the best available in terms of helping people to discern God’s voice in their lives.