Sunday, January 3, 2010

Best Books of 2009, Part 1

Just to clarify, this is the best books I read in 2009, not the best books published in 2009. I have no idea what they are. I suppose I could say I’m not into ‘chronological snobbery’ as I’ve heard CS Lewis calls it – the idea that the only good ideas (or books) are new ones. It’s more that I’m so far behind in my reading that I’m working through books on my bookshelf that are fairly old. And yet, I still want to read them. So here we go …

I read 38 books last year and it wasn’t a particularly fascinating year of reading. A few of these books are re-reads that I’m going through with our group of interns. Of the 38 books, six distinguished themselves in my mind. There’s no particular standard and these are in no particular order. We’ll do three today, three tomorrow.

Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life
Lupton’s (forgot the first name) was an interesting look at how the church can genuinely combat poverty in urban areas and how everyone, particularly businessmen, can use their gifts to move beyond handouts to genuinely helping people grow and take responsibility for breaking the cycle of poverty. A really short book (just over 100 pages) that is worth the read for those seeking to minister among the poor.

The Dip
Seth Godin’s little book is helpful and will be early reading for all my future interns. He says winners quit all the time. They just quit the right things. And when they find that thing they want to be successful at, they go for it and pay the price, knowing the payoff will be worth it. The key to quitting or succeeding is doing it before the dip … and sticking through the dip if you’re going for it.

No Perfect People Allowed
John Burke talks about how his team has sought to create a church that lives the culture of ‘no perfect people allowed.’ They are looking for people who are far from God, but moving toward Him. He talks about how they create the culture and help people move toward embracing Christ as their hope. I hope to blog it, but this book is so good I’ve loaned it out both my copies – and I’m not buying a third!

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