Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Faith Forming Books
At Highrock Brookline we are currently going through a sermon series on the Book of John and throughout the series we are asking the question "Who is Jesus?" Our goal is to enter into the experience of those 1st century men and women who were experiencing Jesus for the first time: hearing his teaching, seeing his miracles, and making their own decisions about his identity. And as we enter into their experience we are asking the same questions ourselves. Was he madman or Messiah, magician or miracle worker, lunatic or Lord?
However, I realize that one of the additional issues we face in the 21st century is not only asking the question "Is Jesus God?" but asking an even more fundamental question than that..."Is there a God at all?"
So, during my sermon this week, I mentioned three books that have been helpful to me as I have asked that question. Personally, my questions and doubts have rarely centered around Jesus and more often have centered around the question of God. And the three books pictured above have been formative in my own journey of faith.
"Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis is at the forefront of that formation. Lewis' own faith journey began as an attempt to provide an airtight case for atheism and ended with him on his knees "the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England". Lewis' explanation of a universal moral law is the foundation of both his faith and the book and remains one of the great Christian apologetics.
"Total Truth" by Nancy Pearcey is a LONG book but a good one. Its basic premise is that Christianity (at least Western Christianity) is captive to culture rather than having captured culture. Pearcey does a nice deconstruction and lays out a case that if the Christian faith is truth then it is Total Truth and must not be relegated to a personal, privatized faith. Rather, it must infiltrate every part of our world.
"The Language of God" by Francis Collins is one of my favorites. Personally, my biggest doubts about faith have come around the issue of science and our origins and so Collins' book has been a wonderful gift to me. Collins was the lead scientist on the Human Genome Project and writes with a sense of intelligent awe that is inspiring to me as the reader.
If you are someone with genuine questions, not so much about Jesus, but about God, I would recommend any and all of these books. But start with Mere Christianity! :)