Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Essential Reading for Humanity - updated

   A friend of mine once asked me to share the titles of some books that I have read and appreciated. I’ve long held that a small list of books has influenced my life significantly, based on the ways they’ve shaped my thinking, my actions, and by how often I quote them aloud or refer to them in my mind. Here they are, in no particular order, with a note about their publication. I’ve read a few books over the years, but these are the ones I return to most often.

The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck (Arrow Books, 1978)
- I've read the first section over and over again. This book is brilliant. 

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis (originally published in 1945)
- A super story about heaven and hell, salvation, redemption, restoration, the communion of the saints, and how we can live even better on this side of heaven. 

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (originally published in 1942)
- Straight out of hell, this collection of fictitious letters from one demon to his nephew offers a stark look at how we are made and how the forces of evil and wickedness are working against us.

The Will of God by Leslie Weatherhead (originally published in 1944)
- This is so very good. It helps me to put words to both the good and bad of this world and find God's love for us in the midst of both.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary D Chapman (Northfield, 2009)
- I ask every couple I marry to read this before the wedding, but believe every person should know their own love language in order to communicate and thrive in life. 

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when Stakes are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan & Switzler (McGraw-Hill, 2002)
- This book helps to reduce tension and anxiety in order to get more done and be kinder doing it.

Beginning to Pray by Anthony Bloom (Paulist Press, 1970)
- This is a gift; written by an orthodox priest, it offers those who would follow a path toward the love of God. I revisited it a month into sheltering in place during the pandemic, and found it to be as enlightening as previous reads.

Brain Rules (Updated and Expanded) by John Medina (Pear Press, 2014)
- Written by a neuroscientist, this is the layperson's guide to the real science of how our brains work. Every page is filled with stories and truths to apply right away. This book is transforming.

Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr (Jossey-Bass, 2011)
- A deep look into the truth of the Gospel: we are made to rise and fail, win and lose, conquer and fail. It is an affirmation of our wins and triumphs and being exposed as vulnerable. Shouldn't be read until age 35+.

The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller (John Murray Press, 2011)
- This has become the second book I give to every couple I sit with to prepare for their wedding and marriage. I love their approach to marriage - a sacramental gift from heaven intended to grow our faith and trust in God.  

The Holy Bible 
- The true story of the God who made us and is saving us. Start with Mark and then try reading it from beginning to end. You have my permission to skip some lists and genealogies in the Old Testament your first time through.

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