The Best of 2011: Books

I read a book a week this last year and out of all the books that I read that were published in 2011 I have picked my favorites for best books of the year. I’ve arranged them, here, in order. For more information on any of them check out the reviews (image via Paste Magazine).

1) Tempted and Tried by Russell D. Moore

Russ Moore is easily one the best theological writers I have ever read. With a keen eye for word play, and sharp wit he writes about deep theology in a practical and engaging way. This book strikes a blow at the heart of temptation and sin by exposing the lies, leading us to Biblical help, and getting us beyond ourselves to see the person and work of Jesus. I benefited greatly from this book, especially the chapter “Slaughter House Drive,” and have already taken to using it in counseling sessions.

2) The Deep Things of God by Fred Sanders

This is theology proper for the Christian hipster! It dives deep into the mysteries of God and lets them be mysterious without devolving into subjectivity. Sanders is a gifted writer as well, making apt analogies and comparisions, and using humor often to refocus the reader’s attention. By re-engaging the Christian community with a Biblical/historical doctrine of the Trinity, Sanders has done the church a great service.

3) The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight

I loved McKnight’s full-gospel picture. I have my quibbles with the book, but he does a tremendous job of reminding us that the gospel is bigger than the get-out-of-hell type that the church has created. I have already found the book useful in my own thought this year and am sure it will continue to be a resource in years to come.

4) Brains on Fire by Robbin Phillips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church, and Spike Jones

I don’t read a lot of business books so the fact that this one made my list must mean it said something special. In fact it did. I was impressed with the manner in which these authors point readers beyond pragmatic plans and strategies and urge us all to become engaged with real people in real life. It’s a book about developing a movement not based on advertising and social media, but rooted in community. It’s a lesson the church should already know, but this book can help to remind us of what we seem to have forgotten.

5) Barefoot Church by Brandon Hatmaker

Some books captivate you from page one and this is one of those books. Brandon Hatmaker’s personal story is both compelling and insightful. There are lessons to be learned and he does a great job of communicating them. A church that is committed to service is a barefoot church, a church that sees its call as something other than being the holy huddle of the converted masses is a barefoot church. I was thrilled to see this message being promoted in a book that is at once challenging and yet affirming of the church.

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