As I did last year, I thought I would post my favorite books of 2005. (I wasn’t able to read as many books this past year, but I was able to average over a book a week, which was again a goal I had set.) As I looked over the list of books I’ve read, I asked myself which ones have stirred the most thought and helped shape my thinking. Which ones initiated thoughts that continue to swirl around in my mind? There were other books that did some of this, but these books, I think, did this to the greatest degree. I recommend any of them. Here they are, presented in the order in which I read them:
Getting Things Done, by David Allen
Blog entries: getting things done, clear your head
In the midst of a life transition, I figured this year was a good time to tune up my productivity practices. Thought I didn’t fully adopt the routines described in this book, it did lead me to make some changes in how I handle my to-do list etc. I’m finding that old patterns creep back in, but overall my new system is working better for me.
The Shaping of Things to Come, by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch
Blog entries: intro to the shaping of things to come, the shaping of things to come, part one, the shaping of things to come, part two, the shaping of things to come, part three, covenant vs membership, part two
This is a phenomenal book that I consider a must read for anyone in church leadership. It is one of those books that stirs and challenges your thinking whether you agree with everything it has to say or not.
Read With Me Bible
Blog entry: read with me
We got this for our daughter for her third birthday. We’ve read through it twice with her as a bedtime reader. It has sparked countless questions from her about the nature of God and how he works in the world. Great illustrations as well.
Inspire! What Great Leaders Do, by Lance Secretan
Blog entries: inspire!, don’t be a copyfrog, two sides of leadership
This is my favorite leadership book. Secretan describes how leadership is not about driving people to action, but about inspiring them toward a common goal. Somehow, he seems to describe a kind of leadership that properly balances the cause fo the organization with the people who are within it.
The Last Word and the Word After That, by Brian McLaren
I’m surprised to find that I didn’t actually post any of my own thoughts on this book. I appreciate that McLaren is willing to take heat for asking questions unpopular to the Evangelical world. If nothing else, questions that we find threatening should at least help us to strengthen our own views. For the reason, I think the entire trilogy that this is part of is worth a read.
Mealtime Habits of the Messiah, by Conrad Gempf
Blog entries: mealtime habits of the messiah, running to die
I think that we don’t try hard enough to understand Jesus in his historical context in much of our teaching today. Conrad Gempf is a Jesus scholar for the masses who both understands the first century and our own. His writing style is a good example to me of what happens when good exegesis of the Scriptures intersects with good exegesis of our culture.
The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron
Blog entry: the artist’s way
This is as much of a workbook as it is a book, and is designed for you to work through a chapter a week, along with some personal assignments to go with it. It is designed to help you clear your mind to get back in touch with your creative self. Those who aren’t artists, might not appreciate the artist language of the book, but it takes you to a place that all could benefit going.
Mere Discipleship, by Lee Camp
Blog entries: mere discipleship, what does church look like, part five, favorite books of 2004, discipleship vs spirituality, apolitically political, mere discipleship blog, restoring the function, eternal life: now and next, one last thought
I reread this book this year with a friend. The fact that it was one of my favorites last year, as well as the number of blog entries about it, should pretty much say enough about it.
Velvet Elvis, by Rob Bell
I’ve listened to most of Rob Bell’s teaching online over the last few years. Because of that, little of this book was new for me, but it was still a great read. It is useful to have a printed version of some of those teachings so that I can just let them linger on the page as I mull them over.