As usual, all the best book lists are out. My hope is that the intended readers of this post, members at Kaleo Church, will find a couple books that will help them better love Jesus, cultivate their imagination, and increase their hope as they eagerly await the Day of Christ’s return. If this is the first time you are encountering my favorite books list, I am in no way claiming that these are the best books of 2021. No, these are merely the ones that were my favorite that I read in 2021. Enjoy!
Favorite Theology Book
Providence by John Piper
To be honest, I haven’t enjoyed a Piper book this much in a long time. However, the way he traces different themes throughout the entirety of the Scriptures, made my love for Biblical Theology mesh with the beautiful, mysterious, and inescapable theme of providence. Although the book’s size is intimidating, I found it an enjoyable read with small chapters. Overall, this book helped me trust God in all the chaos that seems to come and go in my life.
FAVORITE FICTION BOOK/SERIES
The Way of Kings by Branden Sanderson
A few friends recommended this series to me. There are currently four books with more to come. I immediately got lost in the series. The writing is superb, the character development is unmatched, and the story is insanely good. The books are quite large in size, and the audio books are lengthy to say the least. Either route you choose, this series will not disappoint.
FAVORITE KIDS BOOK
The Story of God with Us by Kenneth Padgett and Shay Gregorie
This beautiful book was gifted to my daughters from some friends. The wording and story are a beautiful overview of God’s presence with his people from Genesis to Revelation. The artwork by Aedan Peterson is stunning to say the least. From beginning to end this book has brought joy to our family (myself especially) and truly is a work of art.
FAVORITE COUNSELING BOOK
Redeeming Power: Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church by Diane Langberg
If one was to look at the use of power in the church and conclude that it looks nothing like the way Jesus used power, you can bet that church is has much to learn. That is Langberg’s premise throughout the book. I found this to be a helpful book when assessing my own leadership in the church as well as trying to make sense of so many awful stories being exposed in Evangelicalism. I would caution readers to be careful of presupposing that Langberg’s stories are universal to all local churches. If one can read this as a tale of caution, but also be thankful that their church is not like this, it can be quite a helpful book.
A Burning in My Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene Peterson by Winn Collier
If you know me, you know that Peterson’s call for pastors to have a steady and faithful ministry over the long-haul has become a daily exercise/resting for me. When I finally got my hands on this biography, I was immediately reminded of and immersed in the ways of Jesus that were demonstrated in Eugene’s life. I laughed, wept, and had renewed vigor and conviction in following Jesus in a way that makes much of him in everyday, ordinary life.
FAVORITE BOOK ON PASTORAL MINISTRY
Searching for Grace: A Weary Leader, A Wise Mentor, and Seven Healing Conversations for a Parched Soul by Scotty Smith and Russ Masterson
This was an unexpected gem. For the past year I have been working in depth with a therapist regarding decades of trauma (childhood, rejection, Army, and ministry). This book was so dang refreshing. I laughed and cried as I read these conversations between 2 pastors dealing with trauma, ministry, and the ways of Jesus. I have passed it on to quite a few people. Pastor or not, this is medicine for the soul.
FAVORITE BOOK FOR UNDERSTANDING CULTURE
The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman
I know, I know! Everyone and their mother gave this book of the year at the end of 2020. It’s that good. Even more so, I’m going to argue it’s even more important. Trueman traces how we got to our current view of sexuality as a political and identity thing. There were multiple times where I was so fascinated by how he traces these sexual identities back to the philosophical movements of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that my jaw was wide open…literally. As this cultural narrative persists and one’s acceptance or denial of these sexual identities became an identifier of your moral accomplishments or failures, I highly suggest letting Trueman walk you through a host of help. I will return to this over and over through the years.
Well folks, that’s it for my favorite books of 2021. There were a lot more books I really enjoyed but these were the cream of the crop. Enjoy!