I have some exciting and humbling news to share with friends, supporters, critics, and blog stalkers.
First the news:
After several years of wrestling, praying, and mulling (and very intensely the past few months), Minhee (my wife) and I finally thought it was time for me to work on my first book. And while I’m not an agent kind of person (however much I like Jerry Maguire), the conversations about publishing were intimidating and the learning curve so high that I decided that it would be best to work with a literary agent. And so, I’ve decided to partner with Chris Park for many reasons including the fact that she’s sharp, become my unofficial grammar police, used to work for both publishers and as an editor in her former life, and got bonus points since her husband is a Ph.D candidate in New Testament.
I received this email from one of my blog readers a few weeks ago asking about my thoughts about the “Top 5 most challenging/convicting/mind-bending/face-melting books of all time.”
Do you take requests for posts on your blog? If so…. I know that from time to time you do top 5 stuff, like favorite movies or songs or artists, etc. This isn’t anything novel, but I’d be grateful for a “Top 5 most challenging/convicting/mind-bending/face-melting books of all time.” I guess I’m someone who learns a lot from books and I was just thinking about how I have roughly 5 books that I have read within the last few years that have truly changed the way I perceive myself and the world around me. It would be great to hear what others are reading -not their most favorite or enjoyable books (although this might be the case)- but books that have significantly reoriented the way they live. Maybe, you’ve done something like this before and I just missed it, but if not, something like this would be fun to be a part of.
Asides from the Bible, what would you be on your Top 5 List?
I can’t list 5…I don’t even know know where to begin so I’m just sharing my list of most influential Christians books again. There are so many excellent books that it’s really difficult to condense it into a list of 10. My recommendations are created with an attempt towards the larger picture of Christian discipleship – meaning that I want to balance my list with theology, discipleship, spirituality, bibilical studies, etc.
Nearly every week, someone asks me about my recommendations about what books Christians should be reading. In essence, “what are the must reads?” And so couple weeks ago, I asked YOU for your recommendations and there were some fascinating contributions. In a comical way, it also spurred on a spontaneous and hilarious post about Christian books that should NOT be published.
There are so many excellent books that it’s really difficult to condense it into a list of 10. My recommendations are created with an attempt towards the larger picture of Christian discipleship – meaning that I want to balance my list with theology, discipleship, spirituality, bibilical studies, etc.
Let me also say that nothing is more important than reading, studying, and loving the Scriptures. The Bible is important – especially in a cultural context where so many are prone to sound bytes, podcasts, RSS feeds, and video stimulation. Read your Bible. Having said that, I would recommend these versions: TNIV, NIV, and ESV. In addition to these versions, I would also highly recommend reading The Message by Eugene Peterson to accompany the reading of your Bible. Also, a solid Bible dictionary and a set of Bible commentaries [even a single or 2 volume set] are very important for any and every Christian.
I get numerous emails from both blog readers and folks at my church asking me the following question:
What are the essential books I should be reading as a Christian?
Honestly, I have a hard time coming up with my list because it changes so often and I’m biased towards dead people. So, I’d like to ask you for your help in putting together a list of the 10 Most Essential Books for Christians. You don’t need to give me your entire list but what are couple books that you would absolutely include on anyone’s list?
Because there’s ten, think broadly so that we’re not just thinking about one aspect of Christianity. We should include theology, leadership, spirituality, etc., right?