Reflections From Pastor Erik: Seasons of Books

Reading has been proven to keep our minds sharp, make us more empathetic, and improve mental health. With this in mind, here’s a list of books to consider for 2016:

WINTER: Introspection

Making Sense of the Bible, Adam Hamilton, A well-written road map to biblical interpretation for the 21st century.

Life of the Beloved, Henri Nouwen, A short classic by one of my favorite spiritual writers, who explains that to know God is to know that we are beloved by God.

Quiet, Susan Cain, An exploration of how we undervalue introversion in our culture, to our own detriment. Well researched and informative.

Who Stole My Church?, Gordon MacDonald, A novel about a small New England congregation struggling to accept the changes they must undergo in order to thrive.


SPRING: Humanity & Divinity

Clemente, David Maraniss, Yes, it’s about baseball, but it’s also about a man whose compassion and empathy was on display in his life and in his tragic death.

Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Marcus Borg, A look at Historical Jesus scholarship from a leading New Testament scholar.

Love Is An Orientation, Andrew Marin, Marin introduces the issues of LGBT persons without endorsing one side of the debate, instead artfully living in the middle.

The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, A novel about Victoria, who spent her childhood in foster care and is now becoming an adult. Flowers are her primary connection to the world.


SUMMER: Thought-Provoking Stories

I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai, An inspiring story of how education – especially for women – is the greatest threat to global terrorism. And it may be our greatest hope.

The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver, A novel about a rural Kentucky girl who heads west with high hopes, and ends up caring for a three-year-old Native American girl.

Accidental Saints, Nadia Bolz Weber, The newest book from an edgy Lutheran priest that explores how God shows up in the least likely people, challenging her to encounter God’s grace time and time again.

East of Eden, John Steinbeck, If you have time for the long-winded Steinbeck, this classic novel explores the way sins repeat themselves through generations of families.


FALL: Living the Faith

The Question of God, Armand Nicholi, A Harvard Professor constructs a fictional debate between C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud: the worldview of an atheist-turned-believer vs. the worldview of a devout, scientific atheist.

Making Disciples, Ralph Moore, Exploration of evangelism and discipleship as defined by Jesus: personal relationships in smaller groups of people.

No Future Without Forgiveness, Desmond Tutu, The former Archbishop of Capetown tells the story of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission following apartheid.

America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and a Bridge to a New America, Jim Wallis, A leading Christian voice in America offers a prophetic and deeply personal call to action in overcoming the racism so ingrained in American society.