My sister Dixie, a missionary to the Balkans (who you can support here), recently suggested that I give her a list of books to read. Such a request, naturally, I could not by any means refuse. But I figured such a list might be of use for others, as well, so I'm putting it here. The broader target audience for these recommendations would be generally thoughtful Christians who preferably love Tolkien. I have not given this list a specific order, but the stuff at the very top is the most important since, naturally, I thought of the most important stuff first.
- Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis: Lewis' absolute best novel, in it he retells the old myth of Cupid and Psyche with one critical alteration that suits it to several of his favorite themes. I can neither express the effect the book produces nor praise it highly enough. Readers unfamiliar with Lewis' work may want to first read The Four Loves, at least, but The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters are also very helpful background.
- The End of Our Exploring by Matthew Lee Anderson: I quite like Matthew Lee Anderson, and his contributions to the Mere Orthodoxy blog and the Mere Fidelity podcast are always helpful. In The End of Our Exploring, he tackles the topics of doubt and questioning in a mode particularly suited to the situation of Millennial (or, to a slightly lesser extent, Gen Z) evangelicals (or "ex-vangelicals"). Required reading for anyone under 40 who either has seen countless peers grow up and abandon Christianity or is growing up and considering abandoning Christianity themselves.
- The New Storytellers by Alastair Roberts: This is a short ebook on the way that certain popular Christian influencers, especially Millennial women, make creative use of the personal narrative, but often for less than helpful ends. Could almost be seen as an episode of _How Stuff Works _about the former ministry of Rachel Held Evans. It's not published, so it's only available as a download on Roberts' website.
- The Ball and the Cross by G. K. Chesterton: This one is more for fun than other kinds of value, but it's still worth mentioning. The plot: a Catholic and an atheist get into an argument and decide to duel to the death, but no one else agrees that religion is important enough for all that, so they flee together from everyone who would discourage them as they attempt to sort out the most important questions of the universe. A more serious entry from Chesterton:
- The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton: Try to imagine the book of Job rewritten as a farce set in late 19th century England involving an anarchist terrorism conspiracy. If you can't do that, read The Man Who Was Thursday to find out how Chesterton is able to be profound in such a comic and enigmatic romp.
- A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament by Peter Leithart: As a general rule, I recommend this to any and everyone who reads the Old Testament ever in their lives. It's pretty accessible and extraordinarily valuable.
- The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis: As I have mentioned innumerable times, this book is critical for reading the movements of the present era. From grammar to natural law to technocrats ruining everything, this reveals and all but prophesies the doom against humanity at work in modern man's largest cultural projects.
Heirs Together: A Theology of the Sexes by Alastair Roberts:lol jk, he'd have to finish it first