This isn’t the list of the best books I read in 2018, but the books that challenged or influenced the way I think. Even if I didn’t agree with all of their conclusions, they stimulated my thinking. I could tell these books were influential for me if I brought them up in conversation, went over their contents more than once, or actually changed the way I lived.
10. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams: Life without God is absurd, and this is the world of Douglas Adams. This book is bit like a humorous version of Ecclesiastes, except that Adams doesn’t recognize the irony of it all.
9. Five Views of the Church and Politics (IVP): This book provided me with key paradigms to understanding how different traditions have understood the relationship between church and politics.
8. The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission by Christopher Wright: This book, along with the podcasts being published by The Bible Project, have given me a deeper understanding of how the Bible fits together as a whole.
7. American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900 by H.W. Brands:It helps to see things in historical perspective. Class warfare and political corruption are nothing new. We’ll get through this (well, probably).
6. Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age by Alan Noble: Noble invites us to examine the ways in which our message, and the way we share it, can help people understand the gospel.
5. The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor by Mark Schatzker: You won’t see food in the same way again. Also, I think the quote “The chicken situation is dire!” will stick in my head for a while.
4. Small Church Essentials by Karl Vaters: Big churches and small churches are different, and that’s Ok. This book made me more critical of advice given specifically with big churches in mind, and more comfortable with my own small church.
3. Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics by William Lane Craig:This book gave me some great tools for apologetics and strengthened my faith.
2. American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales: Nancy Jo Sales effectively shows the dangers of social media, especially for girls, and the corrosive effects of porn and hook-up culture.
1. Becoming a Welcome Church By Thom Rainer: This book didn’t only change the way I think, but it drove me to pursue a few specific changes in our church.