Great Books I’ve Read in 2011

It seems I’m always reading something and with being on sabbatical for a few months this year, I read even more than normal. There are five books I read that I am still pondering and re-reading because of how significant they were. In no particular order, let me share these books:

1. “Experiencing the Trinity” by Darrell Johnson

This book is short (roughly 100 pages) but packs a punch. It walks through how we were designed as humans to experience the Triune God. Giving a thorough background on the theological, Biblical background of the Trinity, Johnson dives right into passionately, concisely explaining how we can enter into that relationship that God has with Himself. The word that keeps coming to mind as I read and ponder this work is mind-blowing.

2. “Mansions of the Heart” by Thomas Ashbrook

In Mansions, Ashbrook answers so many questions that I’ve had for a long time. The concept behind Mansions of the Heart is that there are seven discernible stages to the spiritual journey. He borrows from the 500 year old work, The Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila, and explains that the goal of our lives is union with God and we get there only as we pass through these seven stages. There are active mansions and passive mansions along the way but the helpful part is that this book gives a roadmap for the journey.

3. “Shattered Dreams” by Larry Crabb

From what I understand, the publishers didn’t like the title of this book but Dr. Crabb persisted and the seemingly negative title made it past the publishers office. So, while a book about “shattered dreams” might seem negative, it is one of the most penetrating, honest challenges to pursue the heart of God that I’ve read in recent years. Crabb writes this early in the book: “The problem sincere Christians have with God often comes down to a wrong understanding of what this life is meant to provide. We naturally and wrongly assume we’re here to experience something God has never promised. More than perhaps ever before in history, we assume we are here for one fundamental reason: to have a good time–if not good circumstances, then at least good feelings.” This serves as the back drop for explaining just what we are here for. In honest, pointed ways, Crabb explains that often God sits by and lets our dreams shatter (which seems bad or cruel or perhaps evil) so that he can give us a better dream … the dream of intimacy with Himself.

4. “Renovation of the Church” by Carlson and Lueken

Renovation is written by two pastors of a church in California that moved from a “production oriented” approach to church to a spiritual formation approach. Great, encouraging read for those who believe the church can be so much more than what we often see in Western culture. The church that is described in the book went from over 2000 in weekly attendance to about 700. However, far from being a tale of how to “crash” a church, its all about how to move a church deeper into God’s purposes for our formation into the likeness of Christ.

5. “The Way of the Heart” by Henri Nouwen

Borrowing from an ancient story about a monk’s call to a life of solitude in the desert, Nouwen explains the way that our heart connects with the Father. Through solitude, silence, and prayer, our souls can become still enough to enjoy the life of God and walk with Him closely. Even though a short book, it is packed with great insight and challenge.

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~ by Ted Wueste on October 20, 2011.

2 Responses to “Great Books I’ve Read in 2011”

  1. I will read #1 this week. Thanks for sharing it with me.

  2. LOVE…Mansions of the Heart!! I

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