For some time I have been trying to work out some blog posts about “Books Every Christian Should Read” or “The Most Important Spiritual Writings of the Past Century” but the more I work on it, the more ridiculous it sounds. I believe that you should read what interests you. That’s how you find the really great books. So, instead of a list of books that I feel ought to be read, I am dedicating a couple of posts to books that have impacted me spiritually. I would absolutely love any feedback you have about books that have shaped you. I’m always looking for a good read….
If I had to only pick one book that has impacted my in ministry and in my personal life, “The Life of the Beloved” by Henri Nouwen would be near the top of the list. It is a short and straight forward book that comes in the form of Nouwen passing on advice to a younger man. Nouwen contends that the fact that we are loved by God is the core truth of our existence. It’s what gives us hope, courage, and allows us to receive mercy and forgiveness. The only way that we are able to have a meaningful relationship in life is to first know that we are deeply loved by an unchangeable God. Who I am isn’t defined by my successes or failures or by any of my behaviors or belongings. I am defined by the God who created me, and He loves me completely. “The Life of the Beloved” is a wonderful book, but so are several others by Nouwen, who taught at Yale and Notre Dame before leaving to serve disabled people at the L’Arche community in Toronto. “In the Name of Jesus” and “Reaching Out” are among those I would recommend.