I love books.
I use an app called Libib to track my books and it is, by far, the best way that I have tried to organize myself. (I don’t get a commission on this, btw.) Easy-to-use app with barcode scanner and a website for entering ISBNs or doing manual entry. Automatically imports book descriptions and the search functions look up all fields, so even if your book is about something that isn’t in the title, it will still come up from finding the keywords in the summary.
Anyway, I downloaded a spreadsheet of my library and was curious to know who my most popular authors are. Here is the list, from most to least and honorable mentions. The underlined titles are the ones that I have enjoyed the most from each author.
Eugene Peterson (9)
Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology — Earth & Altar: The Community of Prayer in a Self-Bound Society — Living the Message: Daily Reflections with Eugene Peterson — A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society — Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ — Take and Read — Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers — The Message — Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity — (Note: Peterson gets the nod over Lewis because he also translated THE BIBLE.)
C.S. Lewis (9*)
Chronicles of Narnia *set — God In The Dock: Essays On Theology And Ethics — The Great Divorce — Joyful Christian — Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer — Mere Christianity — The Problem of Pain — Readings for Meditation and Reflection — The Screwtape Letters
Marcus Borg (6)
Jesus: A New Vision: Spirit, Culture, and the Life of Discipleship — Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary — Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (with N.T. Wright — Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith — Reading the Bible Again For the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously But Not Literally — Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power and How They Can Be Restored
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (5)
The Cost of Discipleship — Creation and Fall Temptation: Two Biblical Studies — Ethics — Letters and Papers from Prison — Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community
Walter Brueggemann (5)
The Bible Makes Sense — Cadences of Home: Preaching Among Exiles — Finally Comes The Poet — The Message of the Psalms — The Prophetic Imagination — (Note: I have not read any of these yet)
John Dominic Crossan (5)
The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened In the Years Immediately After the Execution Of Jesus — The Essential Jesus: Original Sayings and Earliest Images — God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now — The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant — In Search of Paul: How Jesus’ Apostle Opposed Rome’s Empire with God’s Kingdom — (Note: I have not read any of these yet)
Henri Nouwen (5)
Creative Ministry — Peacework: Prayer, Resistance, Community — The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming — Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit
Richard Rohr (5)
The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation — Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer — The Great Themes of Scripture: New Testament — The Universal Christ — Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality
N.T. Wright (5)
Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship — The Last Word — Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (with Marcus Borg) — Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense — Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
Rob Bell (4)
Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived — Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality — Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith — What We Talk About When We Talk About God — (Note: I have not read any of these yet)
Greg Boyd (4)
Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology — God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God — Letters From a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father’s Questions about Christianity — Repenting of Religion: Turning from Judgment to the Love of God
Robert McAfee Brown (4)
Making Peace in the Global Village — The Pseudonyms of God — Reclaiming the Bible: Words for the Nineties — Unexpected News: Reading the Bible with Third World Eyes
Richard Foster (4)
Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth — The Challenge of the Disciplined Life: Christian Reflections on Money, Sex, and Power — Freedom of Simplicity — Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home
Stanley Hauerwaus (4)
Dispatches from the Front: Theological Engagements with the Secular — In Good Company: The Church as Polis — The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer In Christian Ethics — Resident Aliens: A Provocative Christian Assessment of Culture and Ministry for People Who Know that Something is Wrong
Lesslie Newbigen (4)
Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture — The Gospel in a Pluralist Society — Truth to Tell: The Gospel as Public Truth — A Walk through the Bible
Honorable Mentions (3)
Bart Ehrman — Gustavo Gutierrez — Paul Hiebert — Tony Jones — Brennan Manning — Brian McClaren — Mark Noll — Christian Piatt — Charles Taber — Paul Tillich — Christopher Wright
This list is ENTIRELY male and almost entirely white. There is more diversity in my next tier (2 books), but that would take too long to really list. A few that are off the top of my head are Nancey Murphy, James Cone, R.S. Sugirtharajah, Diana Butler Bass, Soong-Chan Rah. Also a few repeat authors on books in nonprofit management and social sciences.
These authors span the entire development of my faith. Some are from back in high school (Borg, Bonhoeffer, Lewis, Manning), college and grad school (Boyd, Brown, Gutierrez, Newbigen, Noll, C. Wright), and getting more familiar now with voices within the “progressive” church (Crossan, Rohr).
One was a surprise (Ehrman) because I don’t like his writing very much. Those three must be tucked away somewhere that I don’t see them often enough.
By looking at the list, it helps me see who and what has shaped my thinking about the bible and faith. I can remember where I was and who got me some of these and conversations that were inspired from these ideas.
What would your list look like?
And, of course, if you’re ever thinking about downsizing your shelves, I’m happy to help!