Now that summer is upon us, hopefully you have settled into a slower pace and are finding moments to relax. My hope for you is that you’ll be able to take some time to read a good book at the beach, in the mountains or just in the back yard. With that in mind, I want to recommend a few books that I will be reading and want to invite you to join me. And then, let’s get together, maybe have a cup of coffee or lemonade and talk about how they spoke to you.
What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything by Rob Bell
So if you know anything about me, you know that I read everything that Rob Bell writes. He’s one of my favorites and is always compelling. In his latest release Rob goes deep into the Bible to show how it is more revelatory, revolutionary, and relevant than we ever imagined—and offers a cogent argument for why we need to look at it in a fresh, new way. As one reviewer writes, “it's a quick, easy read. Easy, that is, until he says or asks something about how you view The Bible in a way that twists your brain in brand new ways.”
Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott
Another of my favorites is Anne Lamott. She’s an incredible writer that has the ability to make you laugh and make you cry. Sometimes in the same sentence. Her latest is a powerful exploration of mercy and how we can embrace it. Full of Lamott’s trademark honesty, humor and forthrightness, I’m told this book is profound and caring, funny and wise—a hopeful book of hands-on spirituality.
Moses: In the Footsteps of the Reluctant Prophet by Adam Hamilton
I read just about everything that Adam writes. Which is a lot; he’s quite prolific. In his latest, he retraces the life of Moses from his modest birth and rescue as a baby to the courts of Pharaoh, from herding flocks in Midian to leading his people out of Egypt. By looking at this reluctant prophet who grew in his relationship with God and by the end of life had successfully fulfilled the role he was given, he invites us to look at our own reluctance and how we might become more bold in our faith and lives. (Spoiler alert: I see a future sermon series in this!)
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
After the sudden death of her husband, Sandberg, COO of Facebook, felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,’” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.” Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build.
Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God After Experiencing a Hurtful Church by Carol Howard Merritt
Raised as a conservative Christian, minister and author Carol Howard Merritt discovered that the traditional institutions she grew up in inflicted great pain and suffering on others. Though she loved the spirituality the church provided, she knew that, because of sexism, homophobia, and manipulative religious politics, established religious institutions weren’t always holy or safe. In this book she offers an effective plan to help those suffering from wounds inflicted by the church find spiritual healing and a renewed sense of faith.
The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs by Peter Enn
Enns offers a model of vibrant faith that views skepticism not as a loss of belief, but as an opportunity to deepen religious conviction with courage and confidence. This is not just an intellectual conviction, he contends, but a more profound kind of knowing that only true faith can provide.
That’s what will be on my nightstand this summer. What about you? If you have recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them!