So here are my answers.
1. Total number of books I own or have owned:
I love books and like to go to my mother’s house and look at all the books, rare books etc she has. BUT I do not personally own many books. I only have a few dozen maybe 50 books that are mine in my house where I live. I own another home and in the attic there are say 250 books or so. I do like to go to book stores and look at books but I might buy only a few books a year. I went many years without reading much of anything as I found reading to interfere with actual ministry and prayer. For me at least.
2. Last book I bought:
Sermon on the Mount by Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard.
I am preaching through the Sermon on the Mount and thought I should have some inspiration. I like the Lloyd-Jones far more than the Dallas Willard. I also bought all the Celebrate Recovery Stuff too that I use to make worksheets of questions for sermon based small groups.
3. Last book I read:
The 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions and the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The Big Book is both a great discipleship manual and a great biography. Before that I really enjoyed “Proper Confidence” by Leslie Newbiggen. Just a note: I read some of the 12 and 12 this morning and tend to read Big Book pretty regularly. If you know how to decipher the Big Book, I think it is a fantasitc application of the Sermon on the Mount.
4. Five books that mean a lot to me:
The Little Flowers of Saint Francis- Brother Leo
I am a bit of a Francis devotee. I love the rules and the mirror of perfection and the Little Flowers and any biography that emphasizes Francis as a Reformer and evangelist.
Romans – Lloyd-Jones
Lloyd-Jones has had a big influence on me. I have read a great deal of his sermons. He led me to expository preaching, a love for biography, and reformed theology. I recommend especially the book on Romans 8 especially verses 14-16. Great use of biography
Stride Toward Freedom – Martin Luther King
This is the autobiographical story of the Montgomery bus boycott. My wife and I read this during our engagement and it filled our hearts with prayers and tears. It is a great story of courage and faith by a beautiful people.
On Religious Affections – Jonathan Edwards
I read this when I was really in a low point of my ministry. For me, these great reformed works help me understand the true goals of discipleship. Here is a great theologian and a great pastor asking hard questions about how to discern a genuine work of grace. I have seen destructive enthusiasm in my life and have been blessed by reading the wisdom of the great reformed minds of the past. These books challenge all of us to think deeply about the authenticity of our spiritual experience and relationship with God.
Alcoholics Anonymous (also known as "The Big Book")
Simply the greatest discipleship program I have ever read. Also, ranks as one of the greatest interpretations of the Sermon on the Mount. Filled with a heart of total surrender from cover to cover. The Oxford Groups from which the 12 Steps came were extreme Methodists and the program was developed during the height of modernism. I love it. Bill W. was a great evangelist to the poorest of the poor.
Total Surrender – Mother Teresa
Another life of contemplation worked out amongst the poorest of the poor.
5. Two major books when I was a kid:
The Autobiography of Malcolm X - This work culminated my youthful worldview in college (as a pagan). Prior to this book I would say my biggest influences would have been Grapes of Wrath and the music of Bob Marley. Big influences as a youth.
Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man – Joyce. I think my early readings of Joyce (I read Ulysses in high school too) got me into this awareness of my inner world. Just walking down the street reveals an infinite world of experience. Describing inner experience is key to good preaching and helping others enter into the honesty necessary for an authentic spiritual life. Joyce turned me onto the idea of describing and letting flow the inner life onto the page or into a sermon or out any creative process.
People I want to tag:
mar13 at I12know