I am feeling anxious because books that change faith are nothing to handle lightly. Faith feels about as solid as water, but just as glorious to be submerged in. Like Sarah I am sharing books that changed my faith - not all are favourites or even books I would recommend, but they are books that shifted what is holy ground for me.
I do not often lend this book out. It feels slightly dangerous to me, as it so rocked my happy little, Beth Moore bible study doing, been a Christian my whole life, world on several fronts. I found myself alternating between saying 'Yes, yes!' and 'What the what!!' Several of Brian's questions left me with ideas that were impossible to assimilate with where my faith was at the time. But Brian also leaves you with questions and hope that are gracious and loving. He is the real deal, a passionate lover of G-d and the church. I truly appreciate how he leaves you dreaming of a better tomorrow.
This book several years ago now, was the first to really open my eyes to my part (my nation's part, my social status' part, my church's part) in social justice issues and to really think how Jesus would want me to love others on a broader scale. This book blew my happy middle class mind and I pray I don't stop being uncomfortable when I think about injustices until they are all healed by the love of God. (Also Jesus for President.)
While this book may not be faith shifting for everyone - it certainly was for me. I feel in love with the idea of not just throwing my prayers out there - towards God but instead lifting them up to him in relationship and listening to hear what was said back. It was my first experience of the idea of listening prayer and although I don't always feel I can trust myself to discern what is God and what isn't, I have experienced grace filled moments of communing with God inspired by this book.
Even though I would never have classified myself as an evangelist, Carl shares in this book his pure love of Jesus. Carl is a master at leaving behind Christian labels (having lived much of his life in the middle east) and just sharing stories about Jesus and seeing what transpires from there. As someone who loves stories I appreciate the freedom this book gave me to not feel that I couldn't talk about Jesus without offending. (Runner up - Tea With Hezbollah by Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis - amazing stories found there.)
Sometimes I am still not sure if prayer makes a difference, but this book gave me lots of food for thought and inspired me to have a more active prayer life - even if it only makes a difference for me. Any question I ever had about prayer was tackled by Yancey in this volume. I appreciate that he shares stories and doesn't come across as knowing it all (because how could we). He leaves lots of room for questions and growth, while depicting prayer as a thing of beauty.
Not only did this book change my faith, it is a book I love and reread sections of all the time. Several of L'Engle's books, but this one in particular gave me a relationship with the mysterious part of God and my faith. I have appreciated being able to embrace the unknown, that God is bigger and more beautiful than I can ever imagine and these things were inspired by L'Engle. Her chapter on the transfiguration nearly blew my ever-loving mind with its beauty in pointing out the holiness of that event. I think I underlined most of this book. (Also any of L'Engle's books but especially A Wrinkle in Time.)
Anne Lamott - beautiful, wise, gracious, real. She shares her faith and stories in Traveling Mercies in such an everyday, yet poignant way. Right beside daily details are pieces of the holy, which is just the way life is. Her honesty in sharing her struggles with faith and otherwise, coinciding with her belief in the loving nature of God soothes my soul.
In this book Donald Miller shares about his experience in trying to make a movie about his life and the changes that process instigated. I couldn't help but be inspired by Donald Miller sharing his own and other's journeys, to dream more about living a beautiful story with God.
And with that I end my list at eight. I have read many, many faith books over the years, but these are the ones that sit the most with me now at this current chapter in my growth. I have also backed off reading so many faith books in the past few years but am feeling in a place where I want to start adding to my list again. In both her original post and the comments on Sarah's post, there are many which have piqued my interest and been added to my want to read list. I feel excited to be at a time of hope and transition for the church as a whole and how relationship with God is lived out in day-to-day life.