Living on the Border of the Holy


L. William Countryman - 1999
    All human beings, knowingly or not, minister as priests to one another. All of us, knowingly or not, receive priestly ministrations from one another. Unless we begin here, we are not likely to understand the confusions and uncertainties and opportunities we have been encountering in the life of the church itself in recent years. We shall be in danger, in fact, of creating makeshift solutions to half-understood problems, easy answers to misleading questions, temporary bandages for institutions that need to be healed from the ground up. - L. William Countryman There is a lot of tension in churches today about whose ministry is primary-that of the laity or of the clergy. L. William Countryman argues that we can only resolve that problem by seeing that we are all priests simply by virtue of being human and living, as we all do, on the mysterious and uncertain border with the Holy. Living on the Border of the Holy offers a way of understanding the priesthood of the whole people of God and the priesthood of the ordained in complementary ways by showing how both are rooted in the fundamental priestly nature of human life. After an exploration of the ministry of both laity and ordained, Countryman concludes by examining the implications of this view of priesthood for churches and for educating those studying for ordination.

Is God Just a Human Invention?: And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists


Sean McDowell - 2010
    From bookstores to bus campaigns, the question of God is up for public debate--and well-known atheists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are leading the charge. While these authors, who have been dubbed "The New Atheists," argue against religion in general, they aim most of their criticisms and complaints at the world's largest religion--Christianity. Why are people reading books that bash God and ridicule faith? And how can Christians respond?The writings of the New Atheists are especially challenging to the emerging generation who are skeptical of authority and have not been given answers to the hows and whys of faith's honest questions. For these readers especially, authors Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow have penned an accessible yet rigorous look at the arguments of the New Atheists. Writing from a distinctively Christian perspective, McDowell and Morrow lay out the facts so that the emerging generation can make up their own mind after considering all the evidence. Divided into two parts--the first addressing the scientific and philosophical challenges to belief in God and the second dealing with the moral and biblical challenges--Is God Just a Human Invention? will respond to each major argument in a way that is balanced, thorough, and easy to understand.McDowell and Morrow believe that the current religious landscape is both an opportunity and a challenge for people of faith. Now is the time to respond.

Choosing Your Faith: In a World of Spiritual Options


Mark Mittelberg - 2008
    Yet, while we hear these pleas, we're already functioning with existing beliefs—even if they are beliefs by default. So how do we choose what to believe—especially in the area of faith? Do we need to choose? In "Choosing Your Faith, " Mark Mittelberg encourages us, as Socrates does, not to lead an unexamined life. He invites us to examine why we believe what we believe. This examination will resonate with Christians and seekers alike.

God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God


Gregory A. Boyd - 2000
    Examining God's foreknowledge of our future decisions, this survey of Scripture's teaching affirms what has been termed as the open view of God.

I Told Me So: The Role of Self-Deception in Christian Living


Gregg A. Ten Elshof - 2009
    / Think youve never deceived yourself? Then this book is really for you. / Socrates famously asserted that the unexamined life is not worth living. But Gregg Ten Elshof shows us that we make all sorts of little deals with ourselves every day in order to stave off examination and remain happily self-deceived. Most provocatively, he suggests this is not all bad While naming its temptations, Ten Elshof also offers a strange celebration of self-deception as a gracious gift. In the tradition of Dallas Willard, I Told Me So is a wonderful example of philosophy serving spiritual discipline. A marvelous, accessible and, above all, wise book. James K. A. Smith / Calvin College / author of The Devil Reads Derrida / In this wise, well-crafted work Ten Elshof helps us to identify, evaluate, and respond to our own self-deceptive strategies, as he probes with occasional self-deprecation and unavoidable humor the bottomless mysteries of the human heart. His reflections on interpersonal self-deception and groupthink are especially helpful. To tell me the truth, Im glad I read this book. You will be too I promise. David Naugle / Dallas Baptist University / author of Reordered Love, Reordered Lives / Ten Elshofs discussions are erudite, biblical, searching, and laced with soul-restoring wisdom. All of this together means that this book is solidly pastoral. What it brings to us is appropriate to individuals, but it especially belongs in the context of small groups and local congregations. Dallas Willard (from the foreword)

Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel


Tony Campolo - 2003
    Do you ever look at how the Christian faith is being lived out in the new millennium and wonder if we’re not doing what we’re supposed to be doing? That we still haven’t quite “gotten it”? That we’ve missed the point regarding many important issues? It’s understandable if we’ve relied on what we’ve been told to believe or what’s widely accepted by the Christian community. But if we truly turned a constructive, critical eye toward our beliefs and vigorously questioned them and their origins, where would we find ourselves? Best-selling authors Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo invite you to do just that. Join them on an adventure—one that’s about uncovering and naming faulty conclusions, suppositions, and assumptions about the Christian faith. In Adventures in Missing the Point, the authors take turns addressing how we’ve missed the point on crucial topics such as: salvation, the Bible, being postmodern, worship, homosexuality, truth, and many more.

The Soul After Death


Seraphim Rose - 1987
    Will take 25-35 days

Interior Freedom


Jacques Philippe - 2002
    Without this discovery we will always be restricted in some way and will never taste true happiness. Author Jacques Philippe develops a simple but important theme: we gain possession of our interior freedom in exact proportion to our growth in faith, hope, and love. He explains that the dynamism between these three theological virtues is the heart of the spiritual life, and he underlines the key role of the virtue of hope in our inner growth. Written in a simple and inviting style, Interior Freedom seeks to liberate the heart and mind to live the true freedom to which God calls each one.

Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development


James W. Fowler - 1981
    James Fowler has asked these questions, and others like them, of nearly six hundred people. He has talked with men, women, and children of all ages, from four to eighty-eight, including Jews, Catholics, Protestants, agnostics, and atheists. In many cases, the interviews became in-depth conversations that provided rare, intimate glimpses into the various ways our lives have meaning and purpose, windows into what this books calls faith. Faith, as approached here, is not necessarily religious, nor is it to be equated with belief. Rather, faith is a person's way of leaning into and making sense of life. More verb that noun, faith is the dynamic system of images, values, and commitments that guide one's life. It is thus universal: everyone who chooses to go on living operated by some basic faith.Building on the contributions of such key thinkers as Piaget, Erikson, and Kohlberg, Fowler draws on a wide range of scholarship, literature, and firsthand research to present expertly and engagingly the six stages that emerge in working out the meaning of our lives--from the intuitive, imitative faith of childhood through conventional and then more independent faith to the universalizing, self-transcending faith of full maturity. Stages of Faith helps us to understand our own pilgrimage of faith, the passages of our own quest for meaning and value.

Making Sense Out of Suffering


Peter Kreeft - 1986
    This account of a real and honest personal quest is both engaging and convincing. Written from a deep well of wisdom derived from experience and careful observation, Making Sense Out of Suffering is a book for empty hearts, not full ones. Read it if you are hungry for insight into the mystery of suffering. A Servant Book.

The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times


Jean-Charles Nault - 2015
    The word "sloth," however, can be misleading, for acedia is not laziness; in fact it can manifest as busyness or activism. Rather, acedia is a gloomy combination of weariness, sadness, and a lack of purposefulness. It robs a person of his capacity for joy and leaves him feeling empty, or void of meaningAbbot Nault says that acedia is the most oppressive of demons. Although its name harkens back to antiquity and the Middle Ages, and seems to have been largely forgotten, acedia is experienced by countless modern people who describe their condition as depression, melancholy, burn-out, or even mid-life crisis.He begins his study of acedia by tracing the wisdom of the Church on the subject from the Desert Fathers to Saint Thomas Aquinas. He shows how acedia afflicts persons in all states of life-- priests, religious, and married or single laymen. He details not only the symptoms and effects of acedia, but also remedies for it.

God Is Not Nice: Rejecting Pop Culture Theology and Discovering the God Worth Living For


Ulrich L. Lehner - 2017
    Lehner reintroduces Christians to the true God—not the polite, easygoing, divine therapist who doesn’t ask much of us, but the Almighty God who is unpredictable, awe-inspiring, and demands our entire lives.  Stripping away the niceties with a sling blade, Lehner shows that God is more strange and beautiful than we imagine, and wants to know and transform us in the most intimate way. With his iconoclastic new book God Is Not Nice, Lehner, one of the most promising young Catholic theologians in America, challenges the God of popular culture and many of our churches and reintroduces the God of the Bible and traditional Christianity. As Lehner writes in the book’s introduction, "We all need the vaccine of the true transforming and mysterious character of God: The God who shows up in burning bushes, speaks through donkeys, drives demons into pigs, throws Saul from his horse, and appears to St. Francis. It’s only this God who has the power to challenge us, change us, and make our lives dangerous. He sweeps us into a great adventure that will make us into different people." This book is not safe. It may startle and annoy many people—including those who purport to teach and preach the Gospel, but are missing it, according to Lehner. God Is Not Nice intends to overthrow all of our popular misconceptions about God, inviting us to ask deeper questions about the nature of our lives and our relationship with him. When you're finished with God Is Not Nice, you may find the idols you constructed in God’s name smashed, replaced with a God who will ask you to live an entirely different life full of hope and transformation.God Is Not Nice has been translated into several foreign languages.

Original Blessing


Matthew Fox - 1983
    Maverick theologian Matthew Fox provides a daring view of historical Christianity and a theologically sound basis for personal discovery of spiritual liberation.In this revolutionary work, Fox shows how Christianity once celebrated beauty, compassion, justice, and provided a path of positive knowledge and ecstatic connection with all creation.

Speaking of Sin


Barbara Brown Taylor - 2000
    She asks, "Why, then, should we speak of sin anymore? The only reason I can think of is because we believe that God means to redeem the world through us. "Abandoning the language of sin will not make sin go away. Human beings will continue to experience alienation, deformation, damnation and death no matter what we call them. Abandoning the language will simply leave us speechless before them, and increase our denial of their presence in our lives. Ironically, it will also weaken the language of grace, since the full impact of forgiveness cannot be felt apart from the full impact of what has been forgiven." Contrary to the prevailing view, Taylor calls sin "a helpful, hopeful word." Naming our sins, she contends, enables us to move from "guilt to grace." In recovering this "lost language of salvation" in our worship and in the fabric of our individual lives, we have an opportunity to "take part in the divine work of redemption."

Toughest People to Love: How to Understand, Lead, and Love the Difficult People in Your Life -- Including Yourself


Chuck DeGroat - 2014
    In this book Chuck DeGroat addresses the flawed nature of people and offers wisdom for leaders of all types in dealing with just about anyone who is difficult to lead and to love.Toughest People to Love explores the basics of how people "tick," encouraging leaders to examine and take care of themselves so that they can better understand and care for others. Based on DeGroat's wealth of experience as a pastor, professor, and therapist, this book -- both wise and practical -- is one that countless leaders will go back to time and again for valuable insights and renewed vision.