3 Dec 2008

Books in the Stocking & Under the Christmas Tree

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Books, Christmas, Ministry, Preaching

Well it is that time of year again. The mountains are brown. The saguaros are thinner. The coyotes and mountain lions are prowling. And the palm tree in lights has reappeared in Corona commercials. Yep, it can only be Christmas time in the desert. Every year people ask about a couple good books for the minister, elders, or just the reading disciple … and for themselves. It stands to reason that most books are simply junk. Millions of titles are published and promoted every year. The world could probably have been spared most of them. On the other hand there are some worthy titles to emerge every year. The list that follows will be an ensemble of various areas that intersect with life beneath the cross:

1) Christopher J. H. Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. I believe this book deserves the accolade of “book of the year.”

2) Ron Clark, Emerging Elders: Developing Shepherds in God’s Image. Clark’s new book is very good and written from one on the front line of ministry. Full of sound theology and pastoral insight. (Follow the link and click on the “ministry” button)

3) Oskar Skarsaune, In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity. Its been a long time since I’ve read a book as rich about the early church as this engaging work.

4) Jack R. Reese, The Broken Body: Embracing the Peace of Christ in a Fragmented Church. For those who long for the gift of Shalom in our church families.

5) N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope. Title says it all.

6) James K. A. Smith, Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? Taking Derrida, Lyotard and Foucault to Church. It is true … our world has undergone a huge worldview shift. I have not read a better book on PM than Smith’s. Do not be put off by the title for the book is short (a mere 156 pages) and Smith is an outstanding and anything but boring writer. Who’s afraid? No one …

7) John Goldingay, The Psalms. Goldingay’s 3 volume commentary on the Psalms is nothing short of exciting for a serious bible student. Not only are these the most extensive commentaries in English they are actually an exercise in “spiritual” reading.

8) Philip Jenkins, The Lost History of Christianity. Short and eye opening book.

9) Scott McKnight, A Community Called Atonement. Often the church calls for “sound teaching” but often fails to live it. McKnight is one of my favorite biblical scholars … he just happens to be able to write a good sentence too.

10)Donald Miller, Searching for God Knows What? Miller has a unique writing style. If you make it past the first chapter you are in for a real treat. Loved this book.

I have left off my books with John Mark Hicks (Kingdom Come and A Gathered People) but they make good presents too, 😉

Well here are a few titles that have challenged and blessed my life. Perhaps if you get one or two of them for some one special they will be a blessing to them as well.

Bobby Valentine

5 Responses to “Books in the Stocking & Under the Christmas Tree”

  1. nick gill Says:

    I second your recommendation about Christopher Wright’s book being the book of the year. It is becoming as influential in my thinking as anything by the more famous Wright.

    I’ve recommended Clark’s book to my elders.

    Surprised by Hope is pretty great — I’d have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t already listened to most of his lectures where he was testing out his thinking.

    Jenkins’ book is on my bedside table now.

    “A Community Called Atonement” — That is a BRILLIANT title!

  2. WendyC Says:

    “Surprised by Hope” is on my list.

  3. fraizerbaz Says:

    Surprised by Hope was also recommended to me, by someone else, coincidentally.

    (BTW, aren’t the coyotes and mountain lions ALWAYS prowling? Or is that just cougars?)

  4. cwinwc Says:

    Thank you brother for being a source of (as my brother Pat Pugh would say) keeping it real as you share your journey, Scholarship, and with this book list – resources.

    Wright’s book and the book from Clark about elders are at the top of my list.

  5. Cheryl Russell Says:

    Nice. I am very interested in 5, 9, and 10. I am reading a book called “We Are Here Now,” by Pat Keiffert. It is really good. Not your usual spin on what it means to be missional.

    Thanks for the recs!

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