Some of the books that helped shape me. What harm ever came from reading a book?
  1. The Bible
    We like to think we've advanced beyond the era when the scriptures were only transcribed in Latin, available only to those in power to read and interpret, but have we? In an age of unlimited information literally at our fingertips, far too many Christians, and non-Christians alike, rely on the web and voices with predisposed bias when it comes to what the Bible says, and it's history. Do yourself a favor and actually read the Bible for yourself, in context, before offering commentary.
  2. The Qur'an
    Even more than the Bible, the Qur'an is likely the most misunderstood book in the western world. Everyone I know has an opinion on it, but I know few who have actually read it. Instead of doing the work ourselves to find out what the book says, we rely on Google, Wikipedia, and what others say, with no sourcing or fact-checking - just blind faith. Yet we then accuse Muslims, and those who defend them, of blind faith.
  3. Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell
    THE book that forced me to examine my faith and question why I believed the things I believed. Over the years, Bell has been a lightning rod for controversy amongst Christians, and I haven't always agreed with his exegesis in later works, but this book likely did more to strengthen my faith in Christ than any other work outside the Bible. Proof positive that doubt is not the opposite of faith; rather, doubt shows a desire to question, learn, and grow.
  4. Radical Reformission, Mark Driscoll
    Along with Rob Bell, Driscoll's first book forced me to ask tough questions of myself, and my faith. If you're a Christian, and comfortable where you're at, I would recommend staying far, far away from Radical Reformission. Some of the scenarios are dated, but the idea that the message drives the methods still resonates.
  5. Searching For God Knows What, Donald Miller
    This, not Blue Like Jazz, made me fall in love with Donald Miller's writing. While my faith in Christ never wavered, I had difficulty reconciling my belief with many of the teachings I'd heard most of my life. It was refreshing to know I wasn't the only one who had questions, and even explanations that didn't fit into the dogmatic views I had put so much faith in.
  6. UnChristian, David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons
    Although the statistics and research presented are nearly 10 years old by now, UnChristian paints an eye opening picture for Christians of how the world outside our bubble views our faith, actions, words, and ultimately us. I read this at a time when the majority of the people in my life were like-minded Christians, so it was painfully uncomfortable at times, and forced me to chip away even harder at the "Christian" cocoon I had built for myself.
  7. The Grace of God, Andy Stanley
    If God is love, why does he allow injustice, suffering, war, famine, etc.? If you haven't asked this question yourself, you've had it asked of you. For years, that question kept ringing in my head, and kept me pushing for answers. While my search for answers came through scriptural study, I've found no better work on that question than Stanley's book. Clear scriptural exegesis, presenting a narrative of a loving God who is with us not only in the best of times, but also the worst.
  8. A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, Donald Miller
    After the success of Blue Like Jazz, Miller was approached about turning the book into a movie, and was tasked with writing the screenplay himself. Easy work, right? Apparently not. Miller was told that while his book was relatable, and a great read, his story, and life, was rather boring - at least not interesting enough to hold an audience's attention for 2 hours. Therein lies the big question of A Million Miles...; are you living a story worth telling?
  9. Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain
    I've been a fan of Bourdain for years, and had read Kitchen Confidential once before, but it wasn't until the second time around that it really made sense. Bourdain shows you don't have to be the most talented to succeed; punctuality, hard work, passion, a good attitude, being prepared, and being coachable are all traits that will take you further than talent alone. It's a philosophy that applies not only in the kitchen, but every field and facet of life.