Sunday, December 20, 2009

Best Books of 2009: Christianity and Culture

The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment (2007) - Tim Challies

Tim Challies takes the reader on a full-scale, yet highly readable journey through all aspects of biblical spiritual discernment: its definition, uses, practices, and yes, even its dangers. Each well-constructed chapter builds on a solid foundation of Scripture. I’ve encountered very few books this concise and yet this thorough. Challies is an excellent writer who has given Christians a book we really can’t afford not to read.

Why We’re Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be (2008) - Kevin DeYoung & Ted Kluck

Maybe you haven’t heard the term “emergent,” but you’ve probably heard of some of its people. Names like Rob Bell (author of Velvet Elvis), Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz), Brian McLaren (The Secret Message of Jesus) and others crop up in discussions of emergent leaders. Authors Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck are not emergent and although they see much good in the movement, they also see much danger. For anyone who wants to know what the emergent church is all about, or for anyone who wants to engage the culture in a biblical manner, Why We’re Not Emergent is an excellent book.

The Sacredness of Questioning Everything (2009) - David Dark

Nobody writes on Christianity and culture quite like David Dark. According to Dark, when religion refuses to tolerate questions, “it obstructs our ability to think, empathize, and live lives of authenticity and genuine engagement.” Dark’s works are always challenging, yet always rewarding.

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God (2008) - Francis Chan

“Because when you’re wildly in love with someone, it changes everything.” Christianity isn’t about a list of do’s and don’ts. It’s about a passionate relationship with God. If you sometimes feel that you’ve lost that relationship or that it’s not what it used to be, Crazy Love is for you. It’s a book you’ll want to read again and again.

Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters (2009) - Timothy Keller

God has given us so many good things. The problem comes when we turn those good things into idols. Keller takes a biblical look at our culture’s idols and why they are so destructive to our walk with God.

The Fine Line: Re-envisioning the Gap between Christ and Culture (2008) - Kary Oberbrunner

We often see two extremes in the church: Christians who withdraw completely from the culture around them and Christians who embrace every aspect of the culture with no discernment whatsoever. Oberbrunner calls Christians to be relevant to the culture by walking the fine line between the two extremes.

unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity...and Why It Matters (2007) - David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons

Christianity has an image problem. A study of sixteen to twenty-nine-year-old nonbelievers (or unChristians) reveals that most feel Christians no longer represent what Jesus had in mind. “Find out why these negative perceptions exist, learn how to reverse them in a Christlike manner, and discover practical examples of how Christians can positively contribute to culture.”

Next time, it'll be one of these:

General and Speculative Fiction

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