I’ve been reading a lot lately. More than usual. Perhaps even more than ever, except perhaps the month or two after I received the canon of James W. Knox.
Notable, though, is that more than ever in the past nine years of faith, I am reading books not because I know I’m going to agree with just about every word and simply want to reinforce what I already know.
Rather, I am pouring over books which are challenging aspects of my faith which at one point I thought were unshakable, aspects of my faith which I have at times zealously defended against the types of people who would read the books I’m now devouring.
I guess you could call this personal growth. Perhaps “reformation” would be a better word. Some may say “revolution.”
All I know is that my reading list keeps growing, and it seems I can’t read some of these things quickly enough.
This past weekend, I finished up Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola & George Barna, a book recommended to me by Glen. Pagan Christianity is one of several books I ordered a couple of weeks ago.
It’s the first of that batch which I’ve finished, but that didn’t stop an impromptu trip to a bookstore today netting me yet another stack of books, and this stack sees me breaking out a bit further from my comfort zone.
For the curious, the books are
- Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell, which I started reading today. I can already tell that this little volume will challenge my perceptions of just what Christianity is all about. Well, I hope it does, anyway! Thanks, Lorene, for the suggestion!
- The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis, which the back of the book declares to be “a defense of universal values.” The existence of universal meaning & values, perhaps more than anything else, is proof to me that God exists; if I were an atheist, I would be forced by logic to argue that nothing matters, that nothing holds intrinsic value. I’m curious what Lewis can add to my understanding and approach to this topic.
- The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne. As a point of fact, I loved Claiborne’s Jesus for President. When I saw The Irresistible Revolution on the store shelf, I knew I had to read it. I’m also curious how one can be an “ordinary radical”; perhaps it is yet another one of Christianity’s innumerable paradoxes?
- Finally, and most surprisingly to me: The Green Bible: Understand the Bible’s Powerful Message for the Earth (in a translation I ordinarily would never give a second thought to, the NRSV). Essentially, this is little more than your standard Bible, except instead of highlighting the words of Christ in red, verses & passages throughout the book which deal with the earth are highlighted in green. There’s also a “trail guide” after Revelation to allow readers to walk through what the Scriptures teach regarding the earth.
I’m unsure what order I’ll end up reading these in — I still have plenty from my previous recent purchase as well, not to mention shelves full of books that I should sometime read.
If you’ve read any of these books, I’d be interested in your commendations & condemnations thereof; is there one I should give a higher priority to than others?
And given the above books, what are some others that I should look for in the future when I’m ready for more?