Saturday, February 9, 2013

Books that Influenced my Christian Walk

There have been many books throughout the years that have profoundly affected my walk with Christ in one way or another.  I realize there is a lot of personal preference when it comes to books.  Other people have read some of these books and gotten nothing out of them.  I have read books other people have raved about and didn't feel anything at all.  So, take these with a grain of salt!  These are some books that have changed me: my theology, how I view God, how I view myself, etc.

1.  "The Ragamufin Gospel"
by Brennan Manning

 Oh my, this was the cream of the crop for me.  If you're a "good girl" like me, or a perfectionist like me, or someone who struggles with feeling the urge to perform for God (again, like me) then you need to read this.  Nothing made me understand true grace better than this book.

2.  "Chronicles of Narnia" 
by C.S. Lewis
I wasn't a big fantasy genre fan growing up so I didn't even read these until I was in college.  Oh, the things I was missing out on!!  I love stories, so these spoke to me more than they probably do the average person.  It absolutely amazed me (especially in "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and in "The Last Battle") what an amazingly accurate portrait of the gospel these stories painted.  "The Silver Chair" is my favorite.

Side note:  I was very upset when the movies came out and Lucy was not a blond (she was in the books).  I love Georgie Henley and think she did a good job, but she's not blond!

3.  "Captivating"
John and Stasi Eldredge

Yep, I rode this bandwagon in college.  John Eldredge's books were flying off the shelves in my early 20's and I read (and loved) every one of them.  I have a poet's heart so I could identify with John's writing style, which I've heard can be a little too much for some people.  This was a great read for me at the time when I was single and longing to be pursued because the book speaks to that ache of a woman's heart really well.  I wonder how I would respond to it if I read it now; perhaps I need to test that?

4.  "Blue Like Jazz"
by Donald Miller

I know a lot of people have issues with Donald Miller, and with this book, but for me it was really essential to get me out of my cultural theology and into actual theology.  If you grew up in the Bible Belt, you need to read this.  I grew up in a "You can't be a Christian and not be a Republican" culture, and this book really helped me break beyond the religious-ness of "Christianity", especially the Southern kind.  "Blue Like Jazz" was really influential in helping me grasp what following Christ really looked like.

5.  "One Thousand Gifts"
by Ann Voskamp

I read this book this past summer and while it was a little hard to get into at first, I am so glad I stuck with it.  She totally changed my heart and transformed my mind in regards to gratitude.  A fantastic read that I highly recommend, especially to women as we so easily fall prey to comparing ourselves and our lives to others.

6.  "Disappointment with God"
by Philip Yancey

If you haven't been disappointed with God at least once in your life, I challenge that you are either A) in denial, or B) not really walking with God.  This book helped me heal and see God for who He is, and not just who I imagined Him to be.  Great, great read.


  1. Those first two are keystones for me too!! I adore them both. Ragamuffin is still a book I gift A LOT, especially to peeps who've been disillusioned by the church or people who want to read more about what Christianity looks like when it's lived in a positive way. BLJ is fab too, of course. I think I liked A MILLION MILES even better. Did you read that one? It could have just been the season I read it, but I thought it was his best so far. Weirdly, I can't connect at all to Voskamp. I think I'm the only woman who doesn't, so it's clearly just me. But I read it and feel like it was lots of pretty words put together that never really said anything. And didn't even make sense. I should love that, because I do love poetic writing, but that much of it made me lose my place over and over again. I didn't connect with it at all. Maybe I'm just in a season where I'm leaning toward practical encouragement, even if it's not as artsy in presentation. Like, Ragamuffin and BLJ - that's my favorite kind of blend. Gorgeous writing that still comes full circle and makes a point.

  2. I didn't read "A Million Miles"; I'll have to check that out. Yeah, I had a really hard time getting into Voskamp even though, like you, I'm a poet and would have thought that would have been easy. It wasn't until I was half way through it that I started to get things out of it, and I'm not sure it's one I would read again. Have you read "Fresh Wind Fresh Fire" by Jim Cymbala? Really good book--no fluff. :)