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A Book List for Spiritual Questions

What do you do with questions about faith? We believe that asking questions leads to deeper understanding. The following is a list of books that have been helpful to some of our contributors in processing through questions of faith. This is not an exhaustive list, but is a primer for inquiring minds (and the list is still expanding)!

(We've added our own subtitles in parantheses.)

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

(A smart guy tells us why he's a Christian)

In Mere Christianity, author C.S. Lewis (writer of the Narnia Chronicles and other 20th-century classics) leads readers through his reasoning for moving from being an atheist, to being a theist, and ultimately a Christian theist. This is widely considered a Christian classic.

Simply Christian by N.T. Wright

(Mere Christianity for the 21st Century)

Wright, a renowned New Testament scholar, closely connects theology to our human experience. He begins the book with recognizing the common human feeling that not everything is right with the world and moves into painting a picture of how Christianity is on mission to set the world to rights.

Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor

(For those scared of questions, and the dark...)

Taylor is the kind of writer who makes other writers feel inadequate: Her words are beautiful. In Learning to Walk in the Dark, she lends her beautiful words to an exploration of darkness--not just physical darkness, but the darkness that comes with feelings of loss, alienation, and uncertainty. For those feeling left in the dark by questions of faith, this is a great read.

The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight

(Context matters)

What do we do with the Bible? McKnight provides a lens for addressing the Bible: a lens that helps to bring contextual understanding to difficult passages in the Bible. When we bring the context in which books of the Bible were written into our interpretive consideration, we will begin to see the Bible as a story of understanding, rather than a list of rules.

Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White by Adam Hamilton

(Why are certain topics so touchy for Christians?)

Hamilton begins in admitting that he does not expect the reader to agree with everything he says. Instead of trying to make convincing arguments to bring readers into his particular point of view, Hamilton invites readers to consider why they believe what they believe and if there might be validity to opposing views.

Out of Every Tribe and Nation by Justo Gonzalez

(Really, context matters)

How has your context shaped your understanding of faith? Let's face it, a lot of our theology is shaped by European white men (look at this list!). Justo Gonzalez looks at the theology of creation, salvation, the Word, and the church from different ethnic perspectives—ultimately inviting all of us to consider how we are "the whole people of God."

Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant? By Preston Jones

(An intellectual debate with punk-rock flare)

Preston Jones is a history professor at a Christian college. Greg Graffin is a zoologist, frontman for the punk rock band Bad Religion, and an atheist. The two had a cordial email debate about their diverging beliefs. The course of their debate offers insight on many questions that skeptical minds ask: "Is religion irrational? Do we have morality without religion? How do you make sense of suffering in the world?"

In God's Time by Craig Hill

(For questions about the end of the world)

Hill leads readers through the Bible's "apocalyptic" texts—those books and verses that seemingly deal with the end of the world. He offers a history of understanding and leads readers back to an understanding of the intent in which apocalyptic texts were written (remember: context matters). In doing so, we are offered a broad understanding of the future through a Christian perspective.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. And, in fact, we hope to keep adding to it. Offer your thoughts in reply through social media: Facebook, Twiiter, Instagram.

Do you have faith community to help you process through your questions? We'd love to help you find. Check out our Find-a-Church feature or email us here at Rethink Church!

[First posted February 8, 2018]

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