Monday, February 16, 2009

Best Books of 2008, part 2

The first part of this post, my fav books of 2008, was posted a few days ago.

Simple Church
This is my favorite leadership/pastor book of the year. There are a couple others that were really good (Breaking the Missional Code, The Big Idea, and Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars), but this one scratched where I was itching. I sometimes feel like we do too much, that we’re overwhelmed with activity in the church. So much so that we don’t engage the culture around us. Maybe it’s just me. The authors make it clear it isn’t just me and point out how the most effective churches in America are simple. Worth looking in to.

The Emotionally Healthy Church
Generally I’d avoid a book with a title like this like the plague. Seems too touchy-feely. Not sure what made me pick this up, but it was a powerful book based on the premise that we can’t be spiritually mature if we’re not emotionally mature. Discipleship involves the transformation of the whole person, which means we need to deal with our emotions. We need to deal with stuff in our past that we’d really rather not deal with. But great fruit awaits in our own lives and in the life of our church. Specifically, health from the top down.

The Problem with Evangelical Theology
This was a tough book to work through, but it was compelling. Ben Witherington III walks through the distinctives of Calvinism, Dispensationalism, and Wesleyanism and points out how they are flawed systems in those very areas where they are most distinct. I’ll need to walk through it again to really grasp the book, but he seems to be a careful exegete and he helped me look at things in categories I hadn’t thought of before. If you like theology, you may enjoy this one.

Honorable Mentions: Better Together by Rick Warren (a great devotional for an introvert like me); unChristian by Kinnaman and Lyons (challenging cultural insights on young adults and Christianity); The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller (the parable of the lost son – from beginning to end).

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