Ten Books That Changed My Faith


Sarah Bessey - books that changed my faith

Sarah Bessey – books that changed my faith

Sarah Bessey is currently running a series of posts on Ten Books A Day for a Week. I particularly enjoyed her Sunday post Ten Books That Changed my FaithSarah and I have obviously been influenced by some of the same books but I thought that I would put together my own list. To be honest it would be easier to list 10 authors that have influenced me because choosing one book from people such as Wlater Brueggemann, C.S. Lewis, John Stott and Henri Nouwen is impossible. However I have done my best.

Living Towards a Vision: Biblical reflections on Shalom. Walter Brueggemann. I love all of Bruggemann’s books but this was the one that started me grappling with a faith that not only embraced all of life for me as an individual but also God’s concern for the renewal and restoration of all creation.

Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. As for so many other evangelical Christians, this was the first book that opened my eyes to a rich array of spiritual disciplines that i had never encountered before.

Rich Christians In An Age of Hunger by Ron Sider. I read the original version of this book just after I had worked in the refugee camps on the Thai Cambodian border in 1985. I had been exposed to depths of poverty I never realized existed. it turned my faith upside down. This book helped turn it right side up again challenging me to put concern for others and particularly the marginalized at the centre of my faith.

Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life by Henri Nouwen, Donald McNeill and Douglas Morrison. This was the first Nouwen book that I read, this time after working with Haitian refugees in the Dominican Republic. It is not always easy to act compassionately we we work with people in need. This book helped shape my responses.

One Thousand Gifts: by Ann Voskamp. The power of gratitude is a revolutionary discovery that has transformed my life over the last few of years and this is the book that has most helped me learn that perspective.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. This is a Christian classic that was very influential in shaping my faith in my early days as a Christian.

Basic Christianity by John Stott. This was another of the classic books that shaped my early faith giving me a solid foundation in scripture and the principles of faith.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. This may seem like a strange book to have shaped my Christian faith but I read it in the mid 1960s not long after I became a Christian and the concerns it raised about pesticides and pollution radically impacted me and initiated my concerns for the environment which gradually became an important part of my Christian world view and advocacy.

What’s Right with Feminism by Elaine Storkey. This was the first book I read that made me feel that being a Christian woman did not make me a second class citizen. It gave me the confidence to pursue what God had called me to be and to do.

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by N.T. Wright. Again here is an author who has deeply influenced my life and it is hard to choose which book has influenced me the most, but I think this one is at the top of the list. So I thought that I would end with a quote from the book

Our task as image-bearing, God-loving, Christ-shaped, Spirit-filled Christians, following Christ and shaping our world, is to announce redemption to a world that has discovered its fallenness, to announce healing to a world that has discovered its brokenness, to proclaim love and trust to a world that knows only exploitation, fear and suspicion… 

6 Responses

  1. Christine – thank you for this fabulous list! We share many favorites! (And I loved Sarah’s list too… in fact it was scary how close my list might be to her’s). Anyway, I am just finishing Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, and have indeed started my own list of 1000 gratitudes because of it. She has moved me deeply. I’m preaching a sermon on this very topic in a few weeks (any ideas for me on that?!) I love spiritual memoir’s like she writes. Thank you, thank you, for sharing this, Christine. I wish I had a whole summer to simply read… although I still wouldn’t have enough time to read all I have on my current list. oh my!

  2. I have read quite a few of these, too, Christine. That “Rich Christians” one still stays with me, and I struggle with it, taking one step forward and two steps back. I need to re-read it again. I hadn’t heard of “What’s Right With Feminism” – will add that to my queue right now. Thanks for joining in! Love snooping your bookshelves.

    • I am enjoying your series – a great way to interact with each other. I should mention that Whats Right with Feminism is a little outdated now. The other book that has really influenced me in this area is After Eden: Facing the Challenge of Gender Reconciliation edited by Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen published in 1993 – great historical as well as theological content

  3. So many books, so little time. Thanks for a great list. I’m familiar with most of the authors, but not all of the books.

  4. Lewis, Foster, Sider, Nouwen… we share a lot of authors, Christine. Nice post and thanks.

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