Books of the Year 2010

Here are the 2010 nominations for Books of the Year at the Jesus Creed blog. The awards are given early this year so folks can use this list for Christmas presents. My favorite Christmas present is a book, but I have to admit my family quit buying books for me for Christmas years ago. (So I sneak one under the shelf “To Scot from Scot.”)

I decided to choose one top Book of the Year, and had a number to choose from but this year’s book was very clear:

The best book of the year award goes to The Paraclete Psalter: A Four-Week Cycle for Daily Prayer .

Tom Wright’s After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters was yet one more outstanding book written by Tom. Full of help for the church, laced up with clever prose, and rock-solid in history and theology.

Two books about ministry to young adults have altered my own thinking. Christian Smith’s Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults and Kenda Creasy Dean’s Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church .

Alongside these two books, but also from a social scientific approach, is Brad Wright’s Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media.

And from a slightly different angle, kudos go to Gabe Lyons for The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America. Gabe maps the characteristics of the younger generation of Christians.

A book that takes Smith, Dean, Wright and Lyons into the larger picture is James Davison Hunter’s To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World.

I don’t list commentaries in our Books of the Year, but when it comes to Bible resources, I have to give the nod to William Simmons, Peoples of the New Testament World: An Illustrated Guide.

Pastors, a must-read from 2010 is Eugene Peterson’s Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ.

For church life, I have to give an award to James Bryan Smith’s Good and Beautiful series: The Good and Beautiful Community: Following the Spirit, Extending Grace, Demonstrating Love (The Apprentice) .

Finally, if you are looking for a Christmas book this Advent, Jana Riess’s collection of Bonhoeffer is your book: God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas.

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  • Clay Knick

    Once again, thanks for all the recommendations. Keep them coming. This is one of the things I love about Jesus Creed.
    I can’t agree more about Smith’s three books. All of them are excellent and he has another one (rather brief) coming out soon from IVP.

  • I couldn’t agree with you more on this list…the Peterson book is part of a MUST HAVE series of books for anyone serious about spiritual formation. Practice Resurrection isn’t even the strongest of the books in the series (in my opinion) and it STILL “rocks”. Anyway, good stuff Scot! One I’m big on is “Untamed” by Alan Hirsch and his wife, Deb. Good missional thoughts on the pragmatic, applicable side of the equation…not just more missional theory.

  • John Bishop

    @Robin: what Peterson book do you think is the strongest in the series? Just finished “Eat This Book,” and enjoyed it.

  • Great choices, Scot. But how about a History category?

  • scotmcknight

    John Got a suggestion? (I assume you mean modern history.)

  • Ana Mullan

    Thanks Scot! I am so pleased that you agree with me about some books! The Psalter is not only a beautiful book in itself, wonderful as a present but so refreshing and encouraging. I must confess I am still trying to creat the rythm that is suggested to be able to get the most out of it, it is a little gem.
    I am on my second read of The Good and Beautiful life, it has transformed my life and my understanding of Jesus and his message, looking forward to read the third one, which Sean my husband says, it is excellent.

  • CJW

    Suggestions for history:
    • Rodney Stark – God’s Battalions, &
    • C.E. Hill – Who chose the gospels?
    Alas, no modern history from me.

  • Jason Lee

    Scot: What in particular altered your thinking in Smith’s Souls in Transition?

  • Almost Christian is just a wonderful piece of VERY relevant scholarship. I would agree with several of the other suggestions on this list, though I would be tempted to include Hannah’s Child, Defending Constantine, and Christianity the First Three Thousand Years.

  • Scot McKnight


    He showed that the numbers of young adults/faith/church attendance are not as apocalyptically frightful as many have been suggesting.

  • Thanks, Scot, for these helpful recommendations. I always appreciate your thoughtful highlighting of current books as a fellow bibliophile.

    In response to John Bishop’s question about which is the best of Peterson’s recent spiritual theology series, I would heartily vote for “The Jesus Way.” Very meaningful, biblical and thoroughly challenging.