Recommended Reading

Skin- Ted Dekker
Genre: Thriller/Horror

A radically countercultural story, Skin asks the question “what is beauty?” Far more than a philosophical question, it’s a matter of life and death when a serial killer blazes into Summerville, Nevada. What makes the beautiful ugly and the ugly beautiful? The answer will shock–and haunt–you long after the last page of Skin.

The Great Divorce- C.S. Lewis
Genre: Fiction/Allegory

A traveler finds himself on a bus from Hell to Heaven, and the story that ensues finds the main character exploring just what the nature of spiritual choices can lead to. Lewis is arguably one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century, and crafts together and interesting, thought-provoking tale of Heaven, Hell and the space between.

The Unlikely Disciple- Kevin Roose
Genre: Journalism/Culture

Kevin didn't know what to expect, as he packed up his belongings and started driving. Leaving the familiar, the secular liberal bastion known as Brown University, and heading in for a semester at "America's Holiest University", all he wanted was the inside scoop. Kevin got more than he bargained for...
The Unlikely Disciple is a highly entertaining read, filled with humor, and laced with sobering realities. Roose writes of stereotypes being shattered, and presents an unapologetic account of his time as a 'sinner' amongst the 'saints.'

Soul Cravings- Erwin McManus
Genre: Lifestyle/Christianity

Erwin McManus is accused by many of being irreligious, but I find his material very interesting. Driven by a love of adventure stories Soul Cravings paints a picture of a humanity that seeks excitement. He postulates that our souls are in need of satisfying as we tell the stories we were designed to tell. Very compelling read.

Crazy Love- Francis Chan
Genre: Lifestyle/Christianity

Chan goes to great lengths in this book to describe the God who is Love, the God who is passionately in love with the human race, yet is continually spurned. It's a challenging, yet refreshing read, with very strong implications for those aspiring to live a life in pursuit of the teachings of Jesus.

Mere Christianity- C.S. Lewis
Genre: Theology/Christianity

What are the bare bones, key elements of the Christian faith? When it is stripped down to its core what are the key ingredients of this ancient faith? C.S. Lewis, one of the great thinkers of the twentieth century and arguably one of Christianity's most prominent contenders attempts to answer these questions. A challenging read, but if you can get into it highly worthwhile!

Arena: Karen Hancock
Genre: Sci-fi/Fiction

Arena is an allegorical sci-fi thriller. When I first picked up this book it went slowly for the first few chapters, but after that I couldn't put it down! Karen Hancock tells a great story packed with action, adventure, love and altruism. I would highly recommend taking a step into the Arena!

Blue Like Jazz (Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality) - Donald Miller
Genre: Lifestyle/Christianity

This book isn't like your grandma's Christianity, and for that I am grateful.
This book was probably the single most influential piece of reading that I undertook early on in my faith. Don addresses a lot of questions a new believer may have from his own personal experiences with faith. His writing is very accessible and laced with bits of humor throughout, which makes this book a very enjoyable read. It isn't the typical take on "Christianity" as one may know it

The Cross and the Switchblade- Rev. David Wilkerson
Genre: Non-fiction

This book was recommended to me by a friend, and several family members. When I finally sat down and took some time to read it, I understood why. A compelling story of a rural "hick town" preacher whose heart breaks for youth caught up in gang violence in New York. Leaving the known, Wilkerson takes a step of faith and travels to New York to share a message of love with the youngsters. What happens after changed his life, and theirs, forever.

The Case for Christ- Lee Strobel
Genre: Informative/ Christianity

Much of my resistance to Christianity, in my earlier years, was the idea that it was a religion of nonsense. That no one in their right mind could substantiate the preposterous claims of a ridiculous middle eastern faith. It just seemed to lack anything intellectual. Upon doing some more reading, and maturing a little bit, I found that there actually is quite a lot of evidence for God, and Christianity. That this faith can indeed be logically defended. The Case for Christ is a compelling look into the person of Jesus, by a former agnostic. Strobel takes a journalistic approach to unravel the case for Christ, and ends up finding the evidence in favor of this Jesus.

Jesus Wants to Save Christians- Rob Bell
Genre: Perspective/ Christianity

This book is fantastic! It correlates the covenant between God and his people in Exodus with the purpose of Jesus. It brings with it very important implications for our role in the world today. Takes a couple chapters to get into, but once you are in it is astounding to see the parallels between the Old and New Testaments. A masterfully crafted story, which is still being told by the Creator of all.

Love Wins- Rob Bell
Genre: Perspective/ Christianity

In the early months of 2011 an uproar began in some prominent Christian circles. The reason? This book. Rob Bell was denounced and branded a heritic by some "Orthodox Christian leaders" such as blogger Justin Taylor of the Gospel Coalition, John Piper, and Dr. Albert Mohler. Much of the criticism came before the book even released. So naturally, I bought my own copy. I couldn't put it down! Love Wins addresses the concepts of heaven and hell, and if/ how Christians should live today if these ideas are true.
I took away two things from this book:
1) A better understanding what it means when someone says that "God is love."
2) That people are people, and can make a big deal out of nothing, which is exactly what happened with this "controversial" book.

Sex God- Rob Bell
Genre: Perspective/ Christianity

There is a lot to be said about sex in today's society. You see it in TV, movies, hear it in songs, see it on the news even... but what often is omitted is what role God desires in sexuality. This book was a breath of fresh air, and introduced me to some interesting perspectives about the interconnections between sexuality and spirituality.

The 5 Love Languages- Gary Chapman
Genre: Relationships

The 5 Love Languages speculates that there are 5 primary catagories through which humans give, and recieve love. Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Giving Gifts, and Physical Touch. A person has a primary love language, but there can be several ways in which one feels loved. Conflict in relationships often comes when one partner is speaking a different "language" than the other. No matter how vehemently a person who speaks only English may be trying to tell another that they love them, if the other only speaks Chinese the words will make no sense to them. That's kind of how it is with the love languages. It was actually a very revealing book, not only for romantic relationships, but relationships in general.

The Shack- William Paul Young
Genre: Fiction

A compelling story off loss, heartache, and the possibilities of forgiveness and new beginnings. When Mackenzie's youngest daughter Missy is abducted by the notorious "Little Ladykiller." Though they give their best efforts to the search and rescue mission, all that is managed to be recovered of Missy is her bloodied clothing in an abandoned shack. Her heartbroken father descends into depression, and the story picks up four years later, when he receives a letter in his mailbox inviting him back to the very place that haunts him. The Shack.

Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith- Rob Bell
Genre: Perspective/ Christian

Velvet Elvis is another book that has shaped quite a lot of my views on Christianity and its implications for living a life in pursuit of Jesus Christ. Incredibly easy read, and very profound as well.