Bibliographies and Other Resources

Categories of Resources
   -Becoming a Christian and Living the Christian Life
   -Biblical Studies-General
   -Biblical Studies-The Ten Commandments
   -Biblical Studies-Understanding “The Revelation” for Context and Meaning
   -The Life of Prayer
   -Forgiveness
   -Mission and Cross-Cultural Understanding
   -Spiritual Biography and Autobiography
   -Family Life-Couples
   -Family Life-Midlife
   -Family Life-Parenting
   -Vocation for Christian Adults
   -Dealing with Suffering, Pain and Grief
   -Spirituality and Psychology
   -Novels, Literary Reflections and Short Stories

Becoming a Christian and Living the Christian Life
Knowing Jesus in Your Life. Carol Anderson and Peter G. Summers (1995).

Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People. Dorothy Bass, editor (1998). This book helped me broaden my understanding of the practices of faith that will make a difference in our lives.

Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. Richard Foster (1988).

Mere Christianity. C.S. Lewis.

What’s So Amazing About Grace? Philip Yancey (1997).

The Jesus I Never Knew. Philip Yancey.

Companions in Christ: A Small Group Experience in Spiritual Formation (Upper Room). Scott Dawson Gerrit, Adele J. González, E. Glenn Hinson, Rueben P. Job, Marjorie J. Thompson and Wendy M. Wright. A powerfully transforming experience that will deepen your embrace of the way of Christ, your ability to hear the voice of Christ through scripture and prayer and your response to the call of Christ on your life.

Henri Nouwen’s Return of the Prodigal: A Story of Homecoming (reflections on the Prodigal and Rembrandt's painting of the son and the Father), and In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership.

Life Together: A Discussion of Christian Fellowship. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1954). Published posthumously, Bonhoeffer's reflections on life in the Christian community were forged in the midst of World War II Germany.

The Life You've Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People. John Ortberg (1997, 2002).

Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them. John Ortberg (2003). The challenge of building community within the relationships of the Body of Christ.

Biblical Studies-General
How to Read the Bible for All lts Worth. Gordon Fee, Douglas Stuart (1993). A fine book for all Bible students, and especially good for adults just beginning. The authors help the reader understand the differences between English transla­tions of the Bible and how to distinguish (and why that's important) the different types of literature represented in the Bible.

An Introduction to the New Testament. Raymond Brown (1997). At almost 900 pages, Fr. Brown's depth of introductions and encyclopedic knowledge of the con­text of Jesus and the writers of the New Testament can be a bit intimidating. That is one of the best reasons to take a good look at adding this volume to your collection.

An Introduction to the Old Testament. Walter Brueggemann (2003).

The Bible Jesus Read. Philip Yancey (1999). Writing in the conversational style for which he has become well­known, Yancey helps Christians enter the world of the Old Testament anew at the place of relationship and connectedness between God and God's People.

The People's New Testament Commentary. Fred Craddock, editor (2004). A brand new, one volume commentary.

Finally Comes the Poet. Walter Brueggemann (1990). Who do preachers turn to when they need their imaginations fired with powerful, fresh approaches to the gospel alive in the Old Testament? Brueggemann. He's worth reading and sticking with until you find "daring speech" worthy of your life.

The Act of Bible Reading. Elmer Dyck, editor (1996). A collection of essays by members of the faculty at Regent College in Vancouver, BC, including Eugene Peterson (The Message), Gordon Fee and J.I. Packer (Knowing God), that seek to help the reader understand something of the history, theology, sociology and spirituality of the work of biblical interpretation.

The Books and the Parchments: How We Got Our English Bible. F. F. Bruce (1984). Read this book and you’ll learn how the Bible was transmitted to us down the ages, what it cost those who transmitted it, how the “official” OT and NT lists were agreed upon, about the “lost books” of the Bible, where the chapter and verse notations came from, and more.

Biblical Studies-Handbooks and Dictionaries
An Introduction to the New Testament (Anchor Bible Reference Library). Raymond Brown (1997). Anything Raymond Brown does will be first class and this book is especially so. His knowledge of the Bible and biblical times is encyclopedic.

Abingdon Bible Handbook. Edward P. Blair (1983). Out of print but available “new and used” from Amazon.com at prices beginning at $4.50.

A Theological Word Book of the Bible. Alan Richardson (several editions from 1950 to 1978). Again, an “out of print” classic available from about $3.00 and up. You’ll want as recent an edition as you can find.

HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, Revised Edition. Paul Achtemeier, editor (1996).

The Mercer Dictionary of the Bible (1998). From Mercer University Press, a Georgia Baptist institution.

Biblical Studies-Understanding“The Revelation” for Context and Meaning
Often the final book of the New Testament is read with no thought at all for the context and lives of the original audience. Such study devalues the meaning of their sacrifice through martyrdom and reduces the possibility that today’s audiences will hear the hope and promise in the message of The Revelation. These books will help you recapture the meaning and power that carried John’s churches through a very real, historical time of tribulation.

The Revelation of St. John. G. B. Caird (1966, 1984, 1993). The single best commentary I've found on the English text of Revelation, Caird is deeply conversant with the realities of early Christians and their Jewish and Roman backgrounds. This book is somewhat scholarly, yet very readable.

Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination. Eugene Peterson (1991). By the translator of The Message Bible.

Revelation (Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching series). Eugene M. Boring (1989). Most of the volumes in the Interpretation commentary series are very good and helpful for any adult student of the Bible. (No working knowledge of Greek or Hebrew is assumed by the writers.)

Biblical Studies-The Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments have become a focal point in the "culture wars" but how many people really understand the commandments and their place in shaping our lives as Christians? These three books can help.

The Promise Restored: Rediscovering the 10 Commandments in an Uncertain World. T. Wyatt Watkins (2002). Watkins weaves stories from his family and pastoral experience around a reimagining of the commandments for today. Very readable.

The Truth about God: The Ten Commandments in Christian Life. Stanley M. Hauerwas and William H. Willimon (1999). Hauerwas and Willimon explore the commandments as "a countercultural way of life for a certain people to know a certain God, the God of Jesus Christ. Their function is to produce a people who are, in our daily lives, a sign, a signal, a witness that God has not left the world to its own devices."

The Ten Commandments. William Barclay (1973, 1998). Many people know Barclay through his popular Daily Study Bible series, his other writings, while older in style, are full of little known facts about the context of the biblical writings and clear examples of how these parallel life today.

The Life of Prayer
Richard Foster’s Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (1992) and Prayers from the Heart (1994).

A Place to Pray: Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer. Roberta Bondi (1998).

A Testament of Devotion. Thomas R. Kelly (1996).

A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants. Reuben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck (2nd edition, 1997). An excellent, daily companion to learning to pray, I have used this book for many years. Other editions include A Guide to Prayer for All God's People (1994) and A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God (2003).

Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life. Marjorie J. Thompson (1995).

Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans. James Melvin Washington (1995). An inspiring collection of prayers, poems, hymns and spiritual stories well told.

Guide My Feet: Prayers and Meditations for Our Children. Marion Wright Edelman (2000).

Prayers. Michel Quoist (1963, 1983). A little classic of prayers, translated from the author’s native French.

The Meaning of Prayer. Harry Emerson Fosdick. A classic text from early 20th century.

Forgiveness
Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don't Deserve. Lewis Smedes.

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness. Simon Wiesenthal. "You are a prisoner in a concentration camp. A dying Nazi soldier asks for your forgiveness. What would you do?" Based on Wiesenthal's "real life" experience during World War II.

Mission and Cross-Cultural Understanding
A Church Called Graffiti: Finding Grace on the Lower East Side. Taylor Field (2001). A wonderful account by our friend Taylor of God’s combining of the lives of Graffiti and the Field family.

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World. Tracy Kidder (2004). If you read this book, you will understand much about the past, present and future of Haiti. Paul Farmer works with patients in Haiti and Harvard, but prefers Haiti. His work is changing the treatment of disease among the poor globally.

When Religion Becomes Evil: Five Warning Signs. Charles Kimball (2003). Kimball, professor of religion at Wake Forest, has been an intimate participant in dealing with the results of radical fundamentalism. During the Iran Hostage drama of 1979-80, he was one of two Americans allowed to meet with the American hostages and one of five who met with Iran’s Ayatollah. Helpful in understanding the dangers in all religions when turned toward the radical edges of their faith.

Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land through the Five Books of Moses. Bruce Feiler (2001). Feiler writes more an adventure and reflection than just a travelogue as he rediscovers his (Jewish) faith. His portrayals of the people in the Middle East add to our understanding of their lives.

A History of God. Karen Armstrong (1994). People tend to feel strongly about Armstrong’s writings, either for and against. I found her descriptions of the development of Islam helpful.

Spiritual Biography and Autobiography
The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis. Alan Jacobs (2005). A fine, new book on Lewis giving insight to the context of his life and work.

A Way Out of No Way: The Spiritual Memoirs of Andrew Young. Andrew Young (1996). Former mayor and ambassador Young takes the reader inside his experiences as a young minister who would be shaped by the Civil Rights Movement.

Servants, Misfits and Martyrs: Saints and Their Stories. James C. Howell (Upper Room Books, 1999).

Traveling Mercies. Anne Lamott (2000). Reading of Anne Lamott's spiritual journey at times delights, at times informs, and at times inspires. At times, irreverent but always worth your attention. May be a good read for seekers.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Annie Dillard.

Family Life-Couples
A Prayerbook for Husbands and Wives: Partners in Prayer. Walter Wangerin and Ruthanne Wangerin (2000).

Making Love Last a Lifetime: Biblical Perspectives on Love, Marriage and Sex. Adam Hamilton. (Nashville: Abingdon, 2004.)

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Gary Chapman (1996).

Family Life-Midlife
A Time to Live: Seven Steps of Creative Aging. Robert Raines (1998).

Halftime: From Success to Significance. Bob Buford (1997).

Family Life-Parenting
Guide My Feet: Prayers and Meditations for Our Children. Marion Wright Edelman (2000).

Connecting with Our Children: Guiding Principles for Parents in a Troubled World. Roberta M. Gilbert (1999). Applying the principles of family systems theory, Gilbert helps parents find a new way to respond to increasingly tough situations faced by today’s families.

Does God Know How to Tie Shoes? Nancy White Carlstrom (1993). A book for young children in which a child asks parents about the nature of God.

Created By God: About Human Sexuality for Older Girls and Boys. James Richie (1998).

The 7 Worst Mistakes Parents Do. John C. Friel and Linda D. Friel (1999). You get the point. Very readable.

The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study. Judith Wallerstein (2001). Especially helpful for adult children of divorce. Sometimes an emotional and difficult read. Offers insight from a psychosocial perspective.

Vocation for Christian Adults
I have found these books helpful in considering vocation as a Christian adult and recommend them to you for your own exploration and spiritual growth. The first is more devotional and reflective, the second is a lively piece written by my major professor at Emory on the tensions between vocation and ambition, and the third is a bit more academic and deals with concepts of adult life stages and faith development. The fourth is particularly good for executive-types nearly mid-life.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. (Wiley, 1999, 128 pages)

Brian Mahan, Forgetting Ourselves on Purpose: Vocation and the Ethics of Ambition. (Jossey-Bass, 2002, 240 pages)

James Fowler, Becoming Adult, Becoming Christian: Adult Development and Christian Faith. (New York: HarperCollins, 1984, 154 pages)

Buford, Bob. Halftime: From Success to Significance. (1997)

Dealing with Suffering, Pain and Grief
No book can replace or take away suffering, pain or grief, but the writings of helpful and informed people can provide encouragement and understanding, especially in very dark times.

Pain: the Gift Nobody Wants. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey. (New York: HarperCollins, 1993.)

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs and Communications of the Dying. Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley. (New York: Walker, 1992.) Written by two hospice nurses based on their years of working with terminally ill persons. Though the writers do not claim a particular faith perspective, the work will still be helpful to people of faith.

Tracks of a Fellow Struggler. John Claypool. (Waco: Word, 1974.) Four sermons preached by Claypool during the terminal illness and dying of his young daughter.

A Window to Heaven: When Children See Life in Death. Diane M. Komp, M.D. (Harper Collins/Zondervan, 1992.) A pediatric oncologist at Yale, Komp’s conversion to the life of faith came as she saw the hope of God at work through the lives of the terminally ill children with whom she worked.

The Problem of Pain. C. S. Lewis

Suffering: A Test of Theological Method. Arthur C. McGill. (Louisville: Westminster JKP, 1982.) A classic text only 136 pages long and well worth having, McGill helpfully explores the question of how an omnipotent God can allow suffering and violence to pervade the world through an examination of the true nature of power.

Jesus Christ for Today’s World. Jürgen Moltmann. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1994.) If I were to claim one theologian as most influential in my understanding of what it means to be in Christ and a member of Christ’s body, the Church, I would claim Moltmann. In the theological reflection groups I conducted for physicians in Louisiana, I required the groups to read the chapter entitled "The Passion of Christ and the Pain of God." This is a small (in length) work to be read slowly and reflectively.

Nouwen, Henri J. M. A Letter of Consolation. (New York: Harper and Row,1982.) Written to his father after the death of his mother.

________. Beyond the Mirror: Reflections on Death and Life. (New York: Crossroad, 1990.) Written after Nouwen’s own near-death experience.

________. Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring. (New York: HarperCollins, 1995.)

A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss. Jerry Sittser (Zondervan, 2005)

Psalms of Lament. Ann Weems. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1995. Weems wrote these prayer/poems as part of her private process of recovery from grief, after the sudden death of her 21-year-old son. At the urging of Walter Brueggemann, she published them, to the benefit of the rest of us.

Lament for a Son. Nicholas Wolterstorff. (Eerdmans, 1987)


Spirituality and Psychology
A Soul Under Siege: Surviving Clergy Depression. C. Welton Gaddy. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1991.) Though Welton writes from his experiences of depression as a minister, what he writes will resonate with many high-achieving people.

Gerald May, M.D., was a psychiatrist, spiritual counselor and senior fellow in contemplative theology and psychology at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Bethesda, MD. His keen insights to the blending of Christian spirituality and psychology have helped many people grow through personal difficulty, without falling into the superficial analyses of "pop" psychology.

Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions. (1988)

The Awakened Heart. (1991)

The Dark Night of the Soul: The Connection Between Darkness and Spiritual Growth. (2004)

Novels, Literary Reflections and Short Stories
Cross-Shattered Christ: Meditations on the Seven Last Words. Stanley Hauerwas (2005). A small but not simple book. Read a few pages at a time. Especially right for lenten reflection.

Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith. Kathleen Norris (1999). "… the author who 'writes about religion with the imagination of a poet' (Chicago Tribune)"

Walter Wangerin’s The Book of God: The Bible as Novel, The Manger Is Empty and Ragman—and Other Cries of Faith

Frederick Buechner’s Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC (1993), Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who’s Who (1993), Whistling in the Dark: An ABC Theologized (1993). Though he would become a Presbyterian minister serving in New England, it was his career as a novelist that most influences the nuances and turns of phrase you’ll find in these books. The first two are best. Read with an ear to the “poetry” in the text.

The Chronicles of Narnia. C.S. Lewis. For the whole family. I read these seven books for the first time as a college student and return to them still.

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) and Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country (1948) tell of the struggles of human beings to make sense of the issues of race, injustice, human complicity and life and death in the South (Mockingbird) and in South Africa (Country). That both these books periodically have been on “banned books” lists only confirms their power to challenge and change human beings.

Lying Awake. Mark Salzman (2001). Salzman’s novel tells the story of the struggle of faith of a fictional Carmelite nun, Sister John of the Cross, who faces a crisis as deep as belief itself. No tidy endings here but lots of food for thought and spirit.

   
 
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