I thought I would join in on the fun of ranking the Top Books of 2009. My only qualifications for this list are that I had to complete the entire book somewhere between January 1 and December 31, 2009 (even though we’re just short of it being December 31), and the book didn’t have to be published in 2009, I just had to read it in 2009. For this list I am excluding my book, Love is an Orientation, as well as the Bible, because I’m a tad biased towards each.
This year I completed a total of 35 books, encompassing 9,528 pages. Those are both personal records.
Here’s my Top Books of 2009 Ranked by Category. For each book I will give the most impactful thing I took from them:
1. Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith by Marvin Wilson
Barukh Attah Adonai: Blessed are you O’ Lord in all things—good, bad, breathe and the all encompassing presence that literally privileges us with each second of every day.
2. The Rise of Christianity by Rodney Stark
The inverted growth of Christianity to the population’s decline—it was because as the population declined through the rapid plagues that spread, Christians were the only one’s going towards those dying because they only knew one way to live out their faith: serving the needy and outcasts at all costs.
1. The Monkey and The Fish by Dave Gibbons
The cultural understanding of Jesus’ words when he said the two greatest commandments are to love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself, literally meant to love the Lord your God with everything you have and in doing so, go and find the person most unlike yourself and relentlessly pursue them in Christ’s love.
2. With Justice For All by John Perkins
Biblical reconciliation is the understanding that Jesus came to reconcile God-to-human, and human-to-human.
1. The Next Evangelicalism by Soong-Chan Rah
If you’re a white Christian leader and have not learned under the feet of a minority, you can’t effectively minister in a 21st century context. If it weren’t for the culturally and ethnically minority Christians, Western Protestantism would be declining just as fast as the other Christian denominations. This book is not for White Western Christians who are faint of heart.
2. Myth and Meaning: Cracking the Code of Culture by Claude Levi-Strauss
It is innate in humans to continuously divide and sub-divide a construct in their head until they are left at a base level, with the only option as a ‘yes or no’. This is the way humanity is able to even begin to wrap their minds around life’s confusing and divergent happenings.
1. The Shack by Paul Young
What a powerful depiction of the Trinity and what it means to let pain go to God in such a fashion that pushes the bounds of our Western-based understandings and boxes that we put on our Creator.
2. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Another fun quasi-religious murder mystery.
1. The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight
Best book I’ve ever read describing how to read and interpret the Bible—this approach takes care of the “Blue Parakeet” passages: those difficult passages that seem to stand alone and cause drama.
2. The Greatest Words Ever Spoken by Steven Scott
This book takes all of the words the Bible records Jesus speaking and categorizes them into numerous sections to be directly quoted and referenced by topic.
1. The Guinea Pig Diaries by AJ Jacobs
I laughed out loud at least a dozen times reading Jacob’s crazy fun human experiments. Enough said.
2. Vindicated by Jose Canseco
Who knew this guy was right about absolutely everything! Every single player he mentioned in his first book was eventually caught cheating with steroids. No one believed him years ago, and now this book is Canseco’s proof of vindication. Every page is a cocky pat on his own back—and he deserves every one of them for the ridicule he faced when no one believed him.
Have any of you read any of these books? What did you think? Do you agree or disagree with my list? Was there anything I left off or should put on my 2010 reading list?
Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!