Reading About Community

Some of you are aware that this last week I started a self imposed reading discipline to undergird my desire to understand more fully why, from a faith perspective, community is important.  I have a stack of books a mile high in front of me and recommendations coming in every day.  Some of them are faith oriented, some are secular.  I am still looking for books that deal with community and faith historically, as well as theologically and practically.  I am also looking for books that discuss community models today and in the past – monastic communities, intentional communities and even virtual communities.  I also want to look at books on community organization as well as those on community within organizations.  So if you have any other suggestions of must read books I would love to hear from you.  It’s a good thing that I am an avid and fast reader.

As you look over the list you may notice that many of the links are to  That is because often I could not find a good review or description elsewhere.  However if you plan to purchase these books I would highly recommend doing so from a local independent bookstore or from the author directly.

I started this week with a couple of very stimulating books

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leadership Organizations Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom is a very important book about the power of decentralization within organizations. I have also read Organic Community and The Search to Belong by Joseph Myers which both talk about how to shape an environment in which community can emerge naturally.  Now I am into Created for Community: Connecting Christian Belief with Christian Living by Stanly Grenz.

Next on my list are

Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block

The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons and Other Hangouts at the Heart of Community, Ray Oldenburg

Better Together: Restoring the American Community, Robert Putnam and Lewis Feldstein

The Becoming of G-d, Ian Mobsby

The Consuming Passion: Christianity and the Consumer Culture, Edited by Rodney Clapp

Community Organizing in a Diverse Society, by Felix Rivera and John Erlich

Church After Christendom, Stuart Murray

StormFront: The Good News of God, Brownson, Dietterich, Harvey and West

The Forgotten Ways, Alan Hirsh

Water from a Deep Well, Gerald L Sittser

Making Room: Discovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition, Christine Pohl

Dissident Discipleship by David Augsburger

Journey Inward/Journey Outward by Elizabeth O’Connor

A Different Drum: Community Making and Peace by M. Scott Peck

When Love Bends Down: Images of Christ Who Meetss Us Where We Are, Michael Lodahl

Authentic Relationships: Discover the Lost Art of One Anothering: Wayne & Clay Jacobsen

Followed by books that describe various communities

Communities: The Story and Spirituality of Twelve European Communities, Jeanne Hinton

Fire, Salt and Peace: Intentional Christian Communities Alive in North America, David Jenzen

Celtic Christain Communities: Live the Tradition, Ian Bradley

Then I plan to revisit some of the old classics or at least what I think of as classics as well as books on the monastic traditions that still have so much to offer as we reflect on the place of Christian community today.

Community and Growth, by Jean Vanier

Reaching Out, by Henri Nouwen

Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life, Nouwen, McNeill & Morrison

The Community of the King, Howard Snyder

Companions to the Poor , Viv Grigg

Restoring At Risk Communities: Doing It Togetehr and Doing It Right, John Perkins

4 Responses

  1. Wow, and I thought I read a lot. Good luck on plowing thru your pile of books. Community has so many facets — creating it, sustaining it, utilizing community for good, group dynamics, history of communities, closed communities, open ones, etc. So, a lot of ways to go. I found the writing of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, to have very interesting perspectives on community. Nhat Hanh writes about the decision-making process in a Buddhist monastic community, which I found interesting. So, add an activist Buddhist to your reading list! -Chuck

  2. Chuck,
    Thanks for the suggestion it is not one that I know and I am always looking for new perspectives

  3. are there any critical reviews on howard snyder’s
    book the community of the king

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