Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Some book recommendations for Jeanne

In the comments section of the last post, AuntieJeanne had asked for some book recommendations on the subject - loosly - of "is there a God, and who the heck is he?"

Well, I thought about it, and I came up with kind of a reading list. Let's call it the Who Is God Reading List.

Here goes:

First, there's a book called The Bible that is pretty good. =]
Seriously, though, I would be neglectful if I didn't mention the obvious cornerstone of knowledge about God.
However, I would specifically recommend a translation called The Message by Eugene Peterson. It is an excellent translation of the Bible into an enjoyably readable narrative. It is not as word-for-word accurate as most other true translations, but very good for reading, as opposed to studying.
I would also suggest starting with the book of Luke. I like this because you can then immediately move on to the book of Acts, and get the wide sweep of early Christianity all from the same original author. It's a great introduction to Jesus, and interesting history as well.

Next, in keeping with the theme of an introduction to Jesus, I would recommend Joshua by Joseph Girzone. It is fiction, but a refreshing re-introduction into the humanity of Jesus. Girzone paints a picture of a man I would want to hang out with, to follow, to be friends with. I came away with an image of Jesus as no longer carved from marble, but flesh and blood.

Along the lines of dealing with questions and struggles about faith, I would highly recommend anything by Philip Yancey. He is so real and honest in his writings, it's amazing that his books sell so well! His most recent book is Rumors of Another World : What on Earth Are We Missing? A great place to start reading his work.

And last, on the issue of simply does God exist, I would recommend two books. First, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis is a great setting-forth of the sensibleness of the basic underpinnings of Christianity. Second, The Fingerprint of God by Hugh Ross is a refreshing look at the scientific reasonableness of our faith. He is an astrophysicist that has dedicated his life to showing the scientific reasonableness of the events laid down in the Bible - especially the creation story in Genesis.

Well, I think that's all for now. This list should keep you busy for a week or two!

Let me know what you all think, and if you have some other suggestions for Jeanne.

3 comments:

AuntieJeanne 5:28 PM, August 31, 2005  

Wow, thanks for the recommendations! At least now I have someplace to start. My local library has the books by C.S. Lewis and a couple by Philip Yancey (not the one you mentioned though), so I will probably start witho those. I'd like to read The Bible. Believe it or not, I've never read it all the way through because I couldn't get past the "thees" and "thous" but the Peterson translation sounds like it's just what I need. So I'll probably order that online.

Have you ever read the books by Joyce Meyer? I see her on TV all the time and a lot of what she says makes sense to me. Just wondering what you think.

THANKS!!!

Professor Steve 9:48 PM, September 04, 2005  

Jeanne,

Thanks for your comments. I hope you like the Message - I have found it to be the most readable translation around. As far as Joyce Meyer is concerned, I know very little about her. She is from what is called the Charismatic branch of Protestant Christianity. Charismatics tend to believe that the more miraculous manifestations of God's work are more common and expected than do the branch of Protestanism that I am a part of - Evangelicalism. We tend to be a bit more reserved in our public forms of worship. All this is pretty much "inside baseball" stuff - the bottom line at this point is that she serves Jesus, and preaches from the Bible.

I am also not very familiar with Joel Osteen, so can't make any strong pronoucements about him, either.

I would have to ultimately come down to this: the most important thing we can do, as those who are choosing to serve and follow God, is to learn about Him. The best place to do this, is in the Bible. Start there. Then, judge preachers, teachers, whoever, by the standard of the words of the Bible. If anyone is teaching/preaching things that go against the words of the Bible, be very cautious. At one point in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul even says that if he ever preaches a message different than the one already given, don't believe him.

Get The Message, read Luke and Acts. See how Joel and Joyce measure up. You should have no problem evaluating them, or any other preacher/teacher.

Wow, what a long response!

Hope it helps.

Old woman 10:15 PM, September 07, 2005  

Prof Steve - I can't stand the suspense!!! PLEASE let us know about the "other time" God very obviously stepped into your life! (of course, I shouldn't talk, I don't blog at all anymore, but do plan to get started again soon). thanks!! Carole

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