Read and reflect throughout Lent
As they move into the season of Lent, many United Methodists will begin more frequent and extensive reading and study of Scripture. Many will also use these 40 days for other reading to feed their spirit, bring reflection or stretch theologically.
When Interpreter magazine asked readers to recommend books for Lenten reading, the suggestions ranged from classics such as A Year with C. S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works (Harper) to William P. Young's best-selling novel The Shack (Windblown Media), which continues to spark discussion around themes such as forgiveness, redemption, the Trinity and justice.
Henri J. M. Nouwen was the author named most often. One person said Lent and Easter Wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen, compiled by Judy Bauer (Liguori), "will challenge the reader to truly take hold of the Season of Lent in a personal way. Users of this 40-day experience will never be the same if they follow its directions completely." Readers also recommended Show Me the Way: Readings for Each Day of Lent and Return of the Prodigal Son: A Homecoming.
Here are more of the books recommended by Interpreter readers. Some will inspire you; others will intrigue you. Some may annoy or even anger you, but others have found them meaningful.
- The Awkward Season: Prayers for Lent by Pamela Hawkins
- Calmly Plotting the Resurrection: Lenten Reflections for Individuals and Groups by Donna E. Schaper
- Eastertide: Prayers for Lent and Easter from The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle (Out of Print)
- Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God: The Practice of Centering Prayer by David J. Muyskens
- Growing the Soul: Meditations from My Garden by Delia Halverson (Out of print)
- Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems
- Lent and Easter Wisdom from St. Ignatius of Loyola, (compiled by James L. Connor, S.J.)
- Lent and Easter Wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen, (compiled by Judy Bauer)
- Listening at Golgotha: Jesus' Last Words From The Cross by Peter Storey
- Prayers for a Privileged People by Walter Brueggemann
- Praying with Our Hands: 21 Practices of Embodied Prayer from the World's Spiritual Traditions by Jon M. Sweeney and Jennifer J. Wilson
- Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness by Nan C. Merrill
- Show Me the Way; Readings for Each Day of Lent by Henri J.M. Nouwen
- Turn My Heart: A Sacred Journey from Brokenness to Healing (GIA Publications), Susan Briehl and Marty Haugen.
- The Upper Room Devotional
Group or Individual Study
- 24 Hours That Changed the World by Adam Hamilton
- A Skeleton in God's Closet by Paul L. Maier
- Gospeled Lives: Encounters with Jesus by John Indermark
- They Like Jesus But Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations by Dan Kimball
- Unbinding the Gospel: Real Life Evangelism by Martha Grace Reese
- Wilderness Wanderings: A Lenten Pilgrimage by Marilyn Brown Oden (Out of Print)
- A Year with C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works by C. S. Lewis
- Always We Begin Again: The Benedictine Way of Living by John McQuiston II
- Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices by Brian D. McLaren
- For the Time Being by Annie Dillard
- Holy the Firm by Annie Dillard
- How Can I Let Go If I Don't Know I'm Holding On? Setting Our Souls Free by Linda Douty
- If God Is Love: Rediscovering Grace in an Ungracious World by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland
- Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr.
- The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man by Abraham Josua Heschel
- The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming by Henri J.M. Nouwen
- The Saints’ Guide to Happiness: Practical Lessons in the Life of the Spirit by Robert Ellsberg
- Called to Be Church: The Book of Acts for a New Day by Anthony Robinson and Robert Wall
- Peculiar Treasures, a Biblical Who's Who by Frederick Buechner
- The Gift of Hospitality by Delia Halverson (out of print)
- Faithful Witnesses by John Edward Nuessle (out of print)
- Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection and the Mission of the Church by N. T. Wright
- The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World by Miroslav Volf
- The Faces of Jesus: A Life Story by Frederick Buechner
- The New Creation: John Wesley’s Theology for Today by Theodore Runyon
- The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus' Final Days in Jerusalem by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
- The Shack by William P. Young
- When God Is Silent by Barbara Brown Taylor
- Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus by Mike Slaughter
- Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises and a Revolution of Hope by Brian D. McLaren
- UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity and Why It Matters by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons.
- Blessed are the Peacemakers: Christ’s Teachings about Love, Compassion & Forgiveness by Wendell Berry
- Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves by Kevin Bales
- The American Empire and the Commonwealth of God: A Political, Economic, Religious Statement by David Ray Griffin, John B. Cobb, Jr., Richard A. Falk and Catherine Keller
- The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne
- To the Mountaintop: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Sacred Mission to Save America: 1955-1968 by Stewart Burns
- Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris
- American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation by Jon Meacham
- Founding Faith: Providence, Politics and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America by Steven Waldman
- Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman
- Jim and Casper Go To Church by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper
- Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
- Mary Magdalene: A Biography by Bruce Chilton
- Night by Elie Wiesel
- One Nation under God: The History of Prayer in America by James P. Moore Jr.
- Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
- Why People Do Bad Things in the Name of Religion by Richard E. Wentz
Updated from original article that appeared in Interpreter Magazine, Jan-Feb. 2009.