Today, I posed the following question on Twitter: “What is the most formative book you ever read (other than the Bible)? And why was/is it so impactful?” I received many interesting replies from a bewildering diversity of texts. Here are those replies edited only by the addition of italics to book titles:
Stephen J. Graham: “Other than the Bible?!?!! When God writes another book I’ll read one!”
Levi Breederland: “It’s a tough question! Maybe Mere Christianity? That was the first thing I read when I took the initiative to learn more about what I believed… which eventually lead me to become Catholic.”
Darkwing Duck: Little Fuzzy.
Spencer Mead: Confessions by Saint Augustine
Stephanie Fehr: In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen, Prodigal God by Timothy Keller, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero and currently With by Skye Jethani. Each were incredibly impactful when I read them… like I needed that message at that time.
Dale Tuggy: The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard. Helped me to see the profundity of Jesus’s teachings and the centrality of the biblical idea of God’s Kingdom.
Frank Strohschein: The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out– B. Manning. Because Grace is the Good News, in spite of ourselves!
Stephen Graham (again): “Serious answer: Faith & Rationality (Plantinga, Wolterstorff et al ) It opened my mind to a whole new epistemology of religious beliefs I was formerly blind to and forever changed how I think about the rationality of theism.”
Doug Carpenter: Six Hours One Friday.
Josh Jacobs: The Screwtape Letters because it was the first Lewis book I read. With each letter I remember saying…”That’s exactly how I experience the spiritual battle! How did he know!”
Matthew Bodnarek: “A toss up between Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, and Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ.”
Capturing Christianity: Probably God, Freedom, and Evil. It opened my mind to analytic philosophy and the power it yields in tearing down arguments. I remember reading it on a plane and having my mind blown page after page.
Brent Waggoner: “Probably A More Christlike God, by Brad Jersak or The Bible Tells Me So by Pete Enns. It gave me permission to really question.”
Scott Broussard: “The Myth of Sisyphus. Taught about perseverance, even when you know you can’t win. To find value in the struggle itself, not just the outcome.”
John Shrader: The Power of Myth – the interview with Joseph Campbell. While his conclusions are a tad… wooey sounding, it was helpful to me in seeing connective tissue of story telling around the world. We tell many similar stories.”
Friendly Beard: “In my relatively young reading life I’d have to say The Pursuit of God by A.W Tozer. It opened my eyes and soul to true thirst for God and how that plays out with each moment and every decision.”
Blue Collar Apologist: The Metaphysics, Aristotle.
Crunchy Frog: “Lord of the Rings. Taught me about fear and courage, perseverance and faithfulness, beauty and wisdom. I read it for the first time when I was 11, didn’t understand all of it but immediately felt it had depths I needed to discover…”
Plato’s Cave-Diver: “Maybe Consciousness Explained by Daniel Dennett. Read it as a text for a Phil of Mind course and it broadened my understanding more than any other book I can think of, and drove me to pursue Philosophy as a minor.”