Christianity in a Post-Atheist Age, Clive Marsh (2002)
A lot of books written about contemporary faith have a difficult time contending with post-modernism because it seems like they rely on the modernity constructs for survival, and while this book flirts with that same tendency its approach is a little more novel for introducing questions that arise from a today (even if it was printed 18 years ago).
Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age, Alan Noble (2018)
The author does a fine job describing the landscape of a media-saturated environment. Without getting into material that is too dense, he presents a broad understanding of the sociological landscape of today. When he pivots from this to advancing his priorities as “speaking truth”, however, it finds looks like repackaged evangelicalism, which was a real disappointment.
Everything is Fucked: A Book About Hope, Mark Manson (2019)
Manson raises common existential questions and ways that societies have sought to address them in the irreverent style that has brought him notoriety. This book is interesting in how it does not presume religion to be authoritative guides to answering these questions, unlike most of my other reads. It’s a great look at how non-religious people may think and reminiscent of a lot of conversations I’ve had with people when they find out that I am religious and teach about religion.
Nonviolent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg (2015)
This book was recommended by a friend as a way to improve communication. The book covers communication and almost every type of relationship–the workplace, in close relationships, among friends, with family, etc. I’m still working through it and trying to apply it.
Paul the Progressive? The Compassionate Christian’s Guide to Reclaiming the Apostle as an Ally, Eric Smith (2019)
Reading this one again for our church book study. Smith tries to disentangle the “real Paul” from the baggage the church has put on top of him and present the figure as not a homophobe, misogynist, slave apologist, anti-Semite, or hijacker of the message of Jesus. A great intro for the New Perspective on Paul. My review is here.
Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology, Patrick Cheng (2011)
This is the best book I have read in a long time. Probably every page had something that I underlined or shared with someone. Queer Theology fits me for a lot of reasons and this book does a great introductory job of demonstrating how queer theory brings a new dymanic to how theology is done. Happy to talk about this more in-person.
Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, Rachel Held Evans (2015)
This is my favorite book from RHE. (I skimmed Biblical Womanhood and didn’t connect with Inspired.) She describes her spiritual journey in parallel with the church calendar, which provides a structure to bring her wit, research, and experience into describing the world of the Church in all its complexity. The writing is so personal and conversant that it transports me to when we had lunch once and reminds me why so many people felt a deep connection to her and grieved her passing.
The Violence of Love, Oscar Romero (1998)
This collection of homilies provides a glimpse into the Pastoral heart of Romero. Arranged by subject, each selection provides a quick insight from this giant of faith. A much softer side to Liberation Theology, yet still prophetic.
The Basic Bible Atlas, John Beck (2020)
Maps are pretty. It’s hard to separate the book from its apologetics though–specifically that the events of the Hebrew Scripture (which occupy ¾ of the book) are geographically situated, thus historically accurate, thus scripturally cohesive. No alternate historical theories, geographies, or timelines are presented. Maps are pretty though.