My wife asked me back in November for any Xmas requests. I gave her my Amazon.com wish list. I've been adding to it for a couple years now. I haven't bought any books lately because of a lack of time and a lack of funds. So the list has grown to almost a dozen books.
To be honest, I haven't done much extra-Biblical reading lately. That is probably a good thing, as most of the books out there are probably drivel - especially the books written for those in ecclesiastical leadership. Even if I'm no longer in the role of a pastor, those are probably the books I'd read anyways.
With a lack of new books to read, I've recently revisited those few books which have been most influential on me. Three to be exact.
Radical Reformission - by Mark Driscoll
Revolution - by George Barna
Confessions of a Reformission Rev. - by Mark Driscoll
Radical Reformission showed me the kind of Christian that I wanted to be - or was meant to be.
Confessions showed me the type of Pastor I'd most likely be were I given the chance to lead others spiritually.
And Revolution showed me that there is indeed life outside of the church bubble, a life of faith and Christian Living. I've been lax to mention this book too much for fear that its namesake might misconstrue certain motivations behind the namesake of this blog. NO, THIS BLOG ISN'T ABOUT LEAVING THE CHURCH BEHIND AND STARTING OUT ON A MISSIONAL HOUSE CHURCH LIFESTYLE FORSAKING ORGANIZED RELIGION.
Nonetheless, the book did indeed have a profound impact on me and still does to this day. Barna has a unique way of using his "research" (he is the premier pollster of religious matters in the U.S.) to necessitate the writing of his books. In other words, he argues that the statistics speak for themselves - and he is just the messenger of the story that those statistics tell. In the case of Revolution, the story (and the statistics) tell of a sub culture of Christians who have left and are leaving the Church in order to pursue a vibrant, active, healthy Christian lifestyle on their own.
Because of this, two Barna books were on my list - Pagan Christianity and Revolutionary Parenting. Pagan Christianity is a book he authored with Frank Viola about the Pagan roots of what we call the "modern church" Pagan roots of: preaching, worship, buildings, pastors, ordered worship, church business practices and models, etc. It is an incendiary book that goes a little too far into the rabbit hole of "the Organized Church is putting a stranglehold on the modern Christian which makes a healthy relationship with Jesus almost an impossibility." Nonetheless, I'd like to read Pagan Christianity, and I have read parts of it while sitting in Borders.
Revolutionary Parenting is a book that I actually received from my wife (thank you very much) and I will devote a subsequent post to it's review. Being a new parent, and a fan of the book, Revolution, I thought it would be an appropriate read at this juncture.
Driscoll's first two books were groundbreaking for me. Radical influenced me as a Christian, and Confessions influenced me as a pastor. Having been out of a leadership role, spiritually, for some time, Confessions doesn't hold the same grip on me as it did - neither does any other ecclesiastical book for that matter. When you're not in the thick of it, what's the point in reading about it?
I think I've read Radical Reformission at least half a dozen times by now. Surely a record for me. I've reread favorite books from time to time, but none of them that many times for sure. This book is what turned me on to Driscoll in the first place. He thinks like I think. He talks like I talk. Just about everything he says connects with me in some way - even when I disagree with him, or especially when he is convicting me of sin and making me feel bad about it - which Driscoll does quite often, especially in his preaching. Let's face it, as a man, a father, and a husband - I AM A PATHETIC FAILURE. And Driscoll specializes in showing men when they are Pathetic Failures. So this hits home with me quite often.
I've neglected to purchase any of Driscoll's subsequent books for a few reasons:
- He's become an internationally popular preacher/pastor. He could write a book about pooping, get it published, and sell thousands. Just because he starts putting out a bunch of books, doesn't mean that they'll have the impact of those first two.
- He has basically been publishing book versions of his Sermon Series - admittedly. I've already listened to the sermons, do I really need to read the book too? Is this just a ploy to capitalize on his popularity?
- Most authors, like musicians, proceed to push out more of the same, never offering something new or worthwhile. This is one of the reasons I like Rick Warren. Having written Purpose Driven Church and Purpose Driven Life, he really hasn't written anything since. I like that about him. He could have easily made millions by writing subsequent books like Purpose Driven Potato Salad, Purpose Driven Parenting, and Purpose Driven Ping Pong. But he didn't.
Driscoll's language, interpretation, and way of thinking appeal to me so much, though, that I couldn't stay away from his books forever. So I added them to my wish list.
And my wife got me one for Xmas - Religion Saves. I will also post my review of that book as well.
I know that I haven't written much lately - too busy, too distracted, too whatever. Maybe that will change. Maybe not. Either way, I'm making up for it this New Year's Eve. Unloading on my trusty blog all that is weighing me down.