As 2012 comes to and an end, it’s time to roll out the top 5 list of the best books I read this year. I read around 30 books this year, I did book reviews on this blog for about half of them, but here’s the short list of the books that provided the most value to my development and
1. Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran – Nothing spoke to my reality, leadership context, and general academic interests in servanthood and the ethics of leadership. It explores the leadership of the U.S. efforts after the most recent Iraqi War. But I’ve told people who work in majority/minority, cross-cultural, or other power laden contexts that it really is a must read case study of servant leadership…or lack thereof. It inspired my “Green Zone Leadership” Blog Series which you can access through the above link.
2. Prodigal God by Timothy Keller – Incredible study and reflection on the parable of the Prodigal Son with its true and counter cultural implications for seeing and living out the Gospel.
3. Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depressed Challenged a PResident and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk – Powerful biography of Lincoln with a view to his journey of mental and emotional health. A must read for folks with melancholy tendencies.
4. Art and the Bible by Francis Schaeffer – Written a few decades ago, makes me shake my head that the Church had such things written 40 years ago and still struggles mightily with its thinking about contextualization, meaning, humanity, Scripture, and God. Was relatively short, but very refreshing to read through.
5. The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith – This book doesn’t bring a lot of closure to it, but it speaks to some of the larger challenges and problems Christians face as it relates to Hermeneutics and how philosophical presuppositions related to communication and inspiration of Scripture impact the study of Scripture and the formation of doctrine. It’s a valuable discussion and explains a lot of church and Christian dysfunction in my mind.
Honorable mention: The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight, Tolkien and Lewis: The Gift of Friendship, Moneyball, The Faces of Jesus: A Life Story by Frederick Buechner, with a guilty pleasure of “The Mark of Athena” by Rick Riordan.
For my past “Best books read” lists check the links below: