Over the last several years I’ve wrestled with many parts of my faith. There is an element of faith that is inevitable in that when you first start walking with the Lord you must take people at their word. In a way you must imitate other people’s faith as you learn for yourself what the Bible says and what various parts of the Christian life should look like.
There is an entire movement right now in our Christian world of people deconstructing their faith. Much of deconstruction occurs on the heels of abuse and trauma, and there is much at stake when it comes to reconstructing a belief system that is yours and one you can trust.
It’s natural to question one’s faith.
It’s natural to ask questions.
It’s natural to wonder and postulate and theorize in place of concrete evidence or facts.
But in our current climate and culture, it can be hard to do.
I’ll be honest a lot of what I believed ten years ago doesn’t pass mustard for me now. My beliefs on the church, the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost), the trinity, leadership, male and female roles both in the home and the church, gifts of the Spirit, and so much more have been put under the microscope of study in my own life and where I started, or even thought I’d end up, is not where I am today.
And I’m not done yet.
I’m still digging, questioning, and discovering what it means to live a truly Christ-like life, and reading is one of the primary ways I’m seeking to learn more and grow beyond my current way of thinking.
A few weeks ago my husband asked me to put a book list together for him. He wanted to know what books I consider must-reads for him, and it got me to thinking about how my recommended reading list has changed so much in the last five years. I put a must-read Christian women’s reading list together once, and as I reviewed it in preparation for this post, I was amazed how few of those books carried over (actually, none of them did).
I don’t know if I can make a timeless list of books that every Christian should read, but I will say that I carry a list of books in my head that I believe every Christian should read right now.
Right now, meaning, in this day, at this time, in this current political, social, and emotional climate that we are seeking to live faithfully and reasonably into as Christians.
The landscape for Christianity is changing, and the way we once did things is no longer the way we can continue doing them. Sure, there are things that will go forth into this new era, but I think as Christians we need to all deconstruct our faith in some ways. We need to go back to the basics and consider if we truly understand what we believe, why we believe it, and how we can communicate what we believe in love.
Additionally, I think we need community, healthy, Christ-centered community like never before. But we can’t have healthy communities without healthy people who make up those communities.
So here’s a book list I recommend for Christians walking into 2022.
It’s not an exhaustive list, and I’m sure it has holes.
Actually I know it does because there’s still so much I want to sort out in my own faith.
But it’s a list that has shaped my faith and perspective in recent years, and I think you could benefit from reading at least one or two of these in 2022.
These are books that have challenged my thinking, transformed my vision, and helped me to root deeply in the gospel of Jesus Christ as the only hill worth dying on.
I think you’ll find this list refreshing, but also challenging. So here goes.
Recommended Christian Reading List for 2022
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Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better by Brant Hansen
The idea that we are not entitled to our anger is a pretty radical idea. Brant Hansen makes the case that “righteous anger” is a myth, a myth that we should reconsider quickly as Christians. I picked up this book at the start of 2019 because I wanted to grow in “being less sensitive.” This book certainly challenged my way of thinking, and in the end this is my most recommended book when someone asks, “What book should I read next?” Few other books will challenge your way of thinking more than this one.
Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God by Rankin Wilbourne
To experience why the gospel is good news and answer life’s most foundational questions about identity, destiny, and purpose, we must understand what it means to be united to Christ. Nothing is more practical for living the Christian life than understanding what it means to be united with with Christ, to be in Him. The recovery of this reality provides the anchor and engine for your life with God – for apart from a rooted identity in Christ you can do nothing.
Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by Hannah Anderson
This book was not at all what I expected when I picked it up in 2019. It is part theology of the incarnation and part stroll through nature. It’s a poignant book about cultivating humility in your life, but I guarantee you that it’s not what you are expecting a book on humility to be about. I’ve read several books on humility over the years; none compare to Humble Roots in my opinion. A close runner up though, and a bonus offering for this list, would be Humility by Andrew Murray.
Secrets of the Secret Place by Bob Sorge
This book has one purpose: to fuel your passion for the secret place with God. I plan to actually re-read this one regularly. Divided into 52 short chapters, it can serve as a companion to your devotional life. It’s the perfect introduction to the spiritual disciplines, but it will also fuel the most devoted, long-time Christian’s spiritual life as well. It’s my number one recommendation to anyone getting started in the Christian faith.
Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas
Can I tell you a secret? I have a really hard time “feeling close to God” on Sunday mornings. I have always struggled with worship services, fellowship halls, and all the mainstream ways people claim to connect with God and others. For a long time I felt a little bit like a fish out of water, or at the very least like maybe there was something wrong with me. Reading Sacred Pathways helped me realize that I just connect with God differently than the American way of doing church. If you want to strip away the frustration of a one-size-fits-all spirituality and discover a path of worship that frees you to be you, then this book will be a refreshing read. Another good one, if you don’t “fit the mold” would be Bandersnatch by Erika Morrison. She offers some unique perspective on connecting with God unconventionally.
Until Unity by Francis Chan
The politically charged atmosphere we live in, plus the extreme individualistic thinking of the western world has wrecked havoc on the unity Christ came to give us. If unity is so important to the heart of God, why is the Church one of the most divided groups on earth? How many social media posts have you seen today of leaders calling out other leaders? What about Christians calling out other Christians? We claim we’re doing this to “preserve the gospel” to “speak the truth,” but I submit that we’ve come a long, long way from what God desires for His children. While many believe doctrine is at the root of the disunity we see in the church, Francis argues that the real problem is the absence of our love for each other that’s truly the cause. This is what desperately needs to change. This book can be a hard read, but if you read it after you read Unoffendable, you’ll be okay.
I almost left this book off the list. Not because it’s not worth reading. It totally is! I just debated whether to include it here because it’s pretty niche. Not everyone has the ability, desire, or drive to build discipleship programs at the local church level. However, I do think this is a really important book that we all need to read and consider how we can be a part of building deep relationships around the Word within our local church body. It’s one of the best books on discipleship I’ve read so far.
Join the 2022 Intentional By Grace Reading Challenge
Want to challenge yourself to read more in 2022? I have created the 2022 Intentional By Grace Reading Challenge to help you do just that – challenge you and help you create a better reading life for your Christian growth.
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What books would you add to this list for 2022?
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