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.