Here are my favorite reads from 2015 – not books released in 2015 but favorites among ones I read:
- David Bentley Hart – The Experience of god: Being, Consciousness, Bliss – Hart is one of my favorite authors and I think this is his best book and probably makes it into my top ten books of all time. It is not as difficult as some of his previous works but it will still stretch you. This book changed how I think and talk about God. I think every Christian pastor, or anyone interested in theology, ought to read this.
- Napolean: A Life by Andrew Roberts – This is a fantastic, gripping bio of one of the great men who ever lived. As I read I was visibly angry when Napolean invaded Russia, knowing how it would end up. I recall stalking around the house, asking how he could make such a mistake! If you like bios, read this one.
- On Social Justice by Basil the Great – This book, along with John Chrysostom’s On Wealth and Poverty both challenged and disturbed me. There is value in these books that are centuries old, value that goes far above what is marketed as Christian literature today. Both of these books will make you think about money and how to serve Jesus in the world today.
- The Cappadocian Fathers – Speaking of reading old books, I thoroughly enjoyed reading works on the Trinity from the Cappadocian Fathers: Basil the Great (On the Holy Spirit), Gregory Nazianzus (Five Theological Orations) and Gregory of Nyssa (The Great Catechism). Classic works of Christian thinking on the Christian Trinitarian understanding of God.
- Johnny Cash: A Life by Robert Hilburn – Everything I used to know about Cash came from the movie Walk the Line. This book greatly expanded my understanding, and admiration, for Cash. That admiration is not naive, the man had all sorts of issues throughout his life. If you like Johnny Cash or bios, check this one out.
- Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis – Pope Francis took the world by storm and, apart from all the hype, his first book (encyclical) is fantastic. Along with this, I also appreciated his second book On Care for Our Common Home as well as Pope Benedict’s God is Love.
- Who’ Afraid of Relativism by James KA Smith – Smith is also one of my favorite authors and I think this book, like many of his others, is a must-read.
- Empire of Liberty by Gordon Wood – Wood tells the story of America from 1789 through 1815. I found myself admiring Hamilton and learning a lot here.
- God Behaving Badly by David Lamb – Lamb is an Old Testament scholar whose first book seeks to help Christians understand how the God portrayed in the Old Testament, who comes across so mean, is the real and true God Christians worship.
- Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans – Evans is a wonderful writer and her memoir on walking away from, and then returning to church is a great read.