20 Books Every Christian Should Read… (or How to Get Christians to Argue About Favorite Authors in the Comments Section).

I don’t know who all  reads this but today you’ll need your sarcasm radar on. Once you sift out the unfortunate cynicism I think there may be something useful left.

If anyone knows of any exercise more disheartening than reading all the comments on a popular Christian blog, please don’t tell me because I’ll probably go and do that too.








Lord have mercy.

Maybe it’s just where I’m at these days but I find myself sighing in quiet discouragement more often than usual. Parochial narrow-mindedness reinforced by tribalism and smug self-righteousness (the really good Christians read these books) all justified by the pretense of being a defender of the Truth.

I know because I’ve been there and still visit from time to time on a tourist visa. It’s a land that looks lovely in the postcards but is in reality a cold, barren wasteland. Spiritual vitality cannot survive very long in that place, and never does, despite the rhetoric to the contrary.

Of course some books really are better than others, but I think objectivity in making that call is harder than it seems. What usually happens is someone reputable picks all the books that have spoken the most deeply to them and have corrected the imbalances of their childhood faith, which of course makes sense. These are the books that have opened their eyes to new truths, new treasures. But everyone has different imbalances in the faith they either grew up in or were saved into. And various books from various streams and eras within Christianity (or even outside of it?) may be the needed corrective in other cases.

But who has time for this kind of wishy-washy rubbish? Just give me the ten books I need to read… (in order for me to become the unique representation of Christ that I was designed to be in all of my individuality and with my specific personal history). I guess my point is that only God could give you that list. And not to cling too tightly to anyone’s recommendations, or get too upset when your favorite book or author doesn’t make pastor Joe’s or blogger Jim’s lists.

That being said, everyone should read these five books: …

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