Knee Deep in Seminary

Seminary has already changed my mind about many things (the death penalty, meditation, body image, the importance of podcasts, etc.) even so, I still don’t drink coffee. I do not believe seminary is for everyone; sometimes I wonder if I belong here. But everyone, Christians especially, should do whatever they can to purse theological education (even if this looks like reading a chapter of a borrowed book during nap time.)

I thought you might like to glance at what books caught my attention during my first semester of seminary. Maybe you’ll find something to add to your shelf in 2018.

These five books have been the most impactful to me in 2017. In no particular order:

Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith

I enjoyed this book because it covered a broad range of issues relevant to anyone. It’s a good introduction to the conflict between evangelical Christianity and the environment, women, race, peoples of other faiths, and members of the LGBTQ community. This text also highlights the importance of corporate and individual confession and lament. (Each chapter is brief, so I encourage you to pick up other books that dive deeper into the individual points.)

Waking Up White

Speaking of diving deeper, this author rushes in with full force and reveals how she has been shaped by an American system that favors the white community over any other ethnic group. Many of her childhood and college memories resonated with me and my personal experiences as a white person. This book is important in beginning to understand racial reconciliation.

Divided By Faith

If you’re curious about the macro perspective of the evangelical church’s response to racial reconciliation, this is a fascinating read. This book is written as a result of a research project. I feel this text is a must read for anyone who works in the local church, whether you’re the front door volunteer or the senior pastor.

Body & Soul: Human Nature & the Crisis in Ethics

You’ll have to trust me if you decide to pick this up. The first few chapters are heavy with academic language/vocabulary, but they are extremely important to truly understand the debate of personhood, abortion, IVF treatments, and cloning, which are discussed in the second half of the book. This book deepened my faith immensely.

Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices for Everyday Life

(This book was one of my favorite Christmas presents in 2016, but I finished reading it last January so I happily thought to include it in this list.) Maybe you did not grow up in the church, or perhaps you are most familiar with a non-liturgical Christian community, either way – – this book is incredible. Written by a female Anglican priest (hello!), she points out how everyday routines can become expressions of worship/prayer to God. Beautiful book. Easy, easy read. Buy two copies, you’ll want to share.

I didn’t get a chance to read many books in 2017 (quality over quantity?), but if you’re interested in seeing a complete list, click here to visit my year in books.

Do you have any book suggestions for 2018?

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