10 books that will stick with me

This is going around Facebook, and I’ve always considered somebody’s bookshelf to be a good reflection of who they are, so I thought I’d throw my response up here as well.  You’re supposed to list 15 books that will stick with you for the rest of your life.  But, being young, I think I’ll keep it to ten and leave some room for the future.  Oh, and the Bible doesn’t count.  Mine are, in the order I read them:

1. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

2. The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

3. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

4. The End of Faith by Sam Harris

5. The Epistle to the Romans by Karl Barth (haven’t finished this yet)

6. The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne

7. The Flight of Peter Fromm by Martin Gardner

8. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

9. Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation by Marc Ellis

10. The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright (also partly unread)

1, 2, and 3  I read in high school and, even though I don’t even agree with some of them anymore, they still represent the foundation of my thought on my own, i.e., separate from what I was learning in church and school.  #4 is, I think, the most substantive challenge to the Christian faith that I’ve read (Dawkins’ The God Delusion was in my expanded list, but if I had to choose I think Harris does a better job).  #5 is my first introduction to major-league theology, and Karl Barth cleared a lot of things up for me and laid a more solid foundation, theologically speaking, than the fundamentalism of Strobel did.  Blue Like Jazz and The Irresistible Revolution have shaped the most the way my Christianity looks, or at least the way I live my Christianity and the convictions I carry about what a life of faith must be and, better, do.

I see both continuity and change in this list: while I have abandoned a narrow-minded fundamentalism, I think my theological instincts retain a pretty healthy conservatism, thanks to Lewis.  I think Wright has largely supplanted him as an apologist and popular theologian for our time, and that’s why he’s made my list even though I haven’t actually read anything of his cover-to-cover.

#9 looks a bit out of place, but it’s reflective of my growing interest in Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations, an issue that, I think, will become even more important in this century than it was in the past, epitomized in the Israeli-Arab conflict—another related, growing interest of mine.

Anyway, I just thought that was cool.

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