After I posted this and this I got messages from a number of people asking for books to help them navigate through a changing faith. Here are five books that have helped me a lot as I rediscovered my faith and the church.
1. Donald Miller – Searching For God Knows What.
This book helped me rediscover the joy of relational faith and helped me lose my tick-box, behaviour based faith. It taught me to embrace story, experience and emotion as part of my faith.
‘I began to wonder if what we were doing it evangelical circles had more to do with redeeming ourselves to culture than it did with showing Jesus to a hurting world, a world literally filled with outcasts.‘
This book is where it all started for me. I started to engage with my questions. That was ten years ago.
2. Rob Bell – Velvet Elvis
This book came out when every evangelical youth pastor was still showing their youth group a Nooma DVD 1 week in every 4 because they ran out of time to prepare a talk. It was also long before people rejected Rob’s books without reading them.
‘The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God.‘
Look out for the section about springs and bricks. It’s so wonderfully releasing.
3. AJ Levine et al. – Annotated Jewish New Testament
As I rediscovered my faith, I found it helpful to read a translation of the Bible that I wasn’t used to. I read this, alongside the version which I chose. It is so illuminating to see stories behind the stories which we know so well within our Christian context, that have deep meaning within Jewish history which we may have missed.
4. Pete Enns – The Sin Of Certainty
The thing which I found hardest as I reconstructed my faith was accepting the fact that faith is not about certainty but instead it is about belief. This is an excellent help in that process. I often felt weakened when I could no longer say things with certainty without being dishonest.
‘When we reach the point where things simply make no sense, when our thinking about God and life no longer line up, when any sense of certainty is gone, and when we can find no reason to trust God but we still do, well that is what trust looks like at its brightest – when all else is dark.‘
You should also read his other books.
5. Rachel Held Evans – Searching for Sunday
Her legacy in my life is that without her writing I would have left the church for good. This book helped to save my relationship with the church. Rachel showed me a way back and gave me the hope that it could be okay again.
‘Imagine if every church became a place where everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable. Imagine if every church became a place where we told one another the truth. We might just create sanctuary.‘
I’m sure there are many more. Let me know which have helped you find your way.