40 at 40: Books I wish I would have written, but others have written (much!) better

Have you ever come upon a book that reads like something you wish you would have penned?  There is something incredible about that great moment of resonating in a deep way with an author.  And then, as you read, it dawns on you how glad you are that God is in charge, and that the book was written by someone else (as it becomes extraordinarily obvious that a book of this quality and depth required an author who was much more wise!).  Just a few of those for me include:

Eric Johnson’s Foundations of Soul Careperhaps the best introduction, to date, of the complicated relationship between psychology and theology through the years.

James KA Smith’s Desiring the Kingdomthe first in the series of Smith’s “cultural liturgies” series, with a view of human beings as homo liturgicus, creatures who are not merely shaped by ideas but by desire.

Robert Webber’s The Divine Embrace – the late Bob Webber’s wonderful journey through the narrative of Christian spirituality throughout the centuries, which (as Webber does so well) identifies the extremes and paves a beautiful middle way.

M. Craig Barnes The Pastor as Minor Poeta short book that casts a vision for a pastoral life of poetic depth and imagination, challenging ministers to see the subtexts in the complicated lives of parishioners (as well as their own lives).

Iain Matthew’s The Impact of God: Soundings from St. John of the CrossI’ve been hooked on the writings of the 16th century Carmelite mystic John of the Cross since studying abroad in the 90’s.  Matthew’s work treats St. John topically, and puts words to the spiritual valleys and mountains we all experience.  A work of psychology and spirituality.

Happy reading.

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