My Reading/Listening List

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If this way of thinking about Christianity resonates with you, I recommend you have a  read and listen to some of the following. They have all really influenced my thinking.

Things to read:

Brian McLaren: A New Kind of Christian trilogy, A New Kind of Christianity, The Secret Message of Jesus, The Great Spiritual Migration, Everything Must Change (and everything else he’s written)

N. T. Wright: Surprised by Hope, For Everyone Bible study guides, The Day the Revolution Began

Marcus Borg: The Heart of Christianity, Speaking Christian, The First Paul (with John Dominic Crossan), The Meaning of Jesus (with N. T. Wright)

Peter Rollins: How (not) to Speak of God

Diana Butler Bass: Grounded

Rob Bell: What Is The Bible?, Love Wins, Velvet Elvis, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, What We Talk About When We Talk About God

Mike McHargue: Finding God in the Waves: how I lost my faith and found it again through science

Rachel Held Evans: Searching for Sunday

Donald Miller: Blue Like Jazz

Things to listen to:

The Liturgists Podcast

The Robcast

Nomad Podcast

4 thoughts on “My Reading/Listening List

  1. John says:

    Hey, I noticed the title directly references Mike Mchargue on the ‘Sin’ episode of The Liturgists. So I wasn’t surprised to see the breakdown following a similar theme to that episode, and naturally found the podcast and books on your recommended.
    Nice work.


  2. Mark Brown says:

    Your reading list looks like my own! One addition I might suggest …. Fr. Richard Rhor. His work and words open a world of old (…2nd and 3rd century) Christian tradition and thought that amazed me and blew me away…. my “heresy” of feeling that faith lives only in the unknown, never in the known… is not heresy at all! It’s grounded in tradition all but forgotten and actively “hushed” because it doesn’t mesh well with the church/religious “business model.” Which was Jesus’s problem back in the day!

    I’ve spent years pursuing (…or digarding!) the surety we want but never know, whether believe or atheist. I’ve written volumes of personal observations, as I’m sure you have.

    One item I wrote some time back brings all those esoteric and thoughtful rumination down to earth, down to where Jesus lived.
    I make a habit of reading this each day, every morning. It’s like putting on my spiritual glasses so as not to be led off the road by some imaginary distraction. I offer it below:


    In the quiet of the morning I am often moved to tears. I am not a monk on an isolated mountain top in Nepal living an ascetic life of self denial and poverty. I have never experienced the cruel poverty of an India ghetto or orphanage housing the desolation and despair of hopelessness testified to by Mother Theresa. I have never faced the horror of an executioners knife in the moments before death at the hand a radical Jihadist. I have never stood in horror watching the imminent hanging and burning of a wife or child at the hands of a white Christian mob reveling in some fantasized revenge for an imagined crime. I have never felt painful hunger. I have not dealt with the imminent death of a life partner or child at the ravages of cancer. I have yet to face the pain of being left fully alone in a world that didn’t care.

    I have not been asked to experience any of such. But I have experienced the loss of my family to divorce. I have also tasted the sweetness of restoration of that family and more through the gift of a loving wife I never deserved nor could have ever imagined. I’ve seen a child go through the pain of a broken marriage themselves. I saw a son carried away to prison, a tortured saint suffering the ravages of addiction. I have watched with pride the joys of those same children bringing beautiful grandkids to life. I have shared their joy of many, many amazing successes and accomplishments.

    With so much have I been blessed and of so much horror and pain have I been spared. I have never really been without much of the best life has to offer. I’ve even been gifted with the look of oblivious, loving gratitude I see every morning in the loving eyes of my little dog, rescued from an animal shelter. So painfully lost, and somehow now found. Some blessings are small yet so immense and profound.

    Such sensations and feelings, whether experienced, imagined or faced with horror in slumbering nightmares are what life is about. It’s what life is.

    I cannot help but wonder how different I might feel, think or be had some things been different, whether radically or only slightly. I’ll never know. I can only wonder.

    But, wondering or not, I’m left with who I am and all the well thought out reasons and rationalizations for why I think what I think and why I am what I am. It all makes sense. I have all my reasons. But it could have all been so very, very different. Even tragically different, but I was spared. I don’t know why, but I know I was.

    When I meet or hear about someone else, someone terribly lost or mixed up in their head by dragons unknown. Someone pushed or yielding to some powerful but perverted passion or bigotry or fear. Maybe tainted by hate, scarred by pain or caught in the heated frenzy of a murderous mob. Or hopelessly and helplessly taking their own life, or even others, in their desperation for some inner peace or the accommodation of some inner horror. No matter how horrific the setting. No matter how depraved. No matter how unimaginable or unforgivable the act, deep down I know, that person could have been me, if but for just a few small things that might have been different in my life.

    I’ll never know for sure. But, it could have been me. How can I judge or condemn. I’ve been spared much pain and evil and blessed with unearned good. Who I am and why I act or think the way I do, is based on an imaginary construct that extends well beyond the realities I’ve actually experienced. It could all collapse instantly in the presence of some yet unanticipated horror. Or it may not. I can only guess. I will never know that hidden person in my soul. Would it be a devil or a saint? I can only wonder.

    I cannot judge nor condemn anyone with any more certainty than I can know my own hidden self, which is with no certainty at all. I cannot know what all lies hidden there.

    God, deliver me from evil. God, spare me the false certainty of my own righteousness, that one worst evil that we would all want so desperately. It’s from that imagined and invented saint that comes the cruelest evil of all, my disdain for you. Oh, God, spare me that evil.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gail Kent says:

    I suggest you add books by John Shelby Spong. He is a retired Episcopal bishop and a very prolific writer, having written 25 books on Progressive Christianity. He has influenced my thinking profoundly.


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