June 2015 Book Recommendations

My reading the last month has included a number of texts published this year (2015), including (5) Religion in the Oval Office: The Religious Lives of American Presidents by Gary Scott Smith (Oxford University Press) (5) Contemporary Churches: Spiritual Transformation of Congregations by Louis F. Kavar (Louis F. Kavar) (4.5) My Church is NOT Dying: Episcopalians in the 21st Century by Greg Garrett (Morehouse Publishing) (4) Walking with Jesus: A Way Forward for the Church by Pope Read More …

May 2015 Book Recommendations

This month my reading list included many volumes that challenged my thinking and expanded my knowledge. Shown below are my ratings for the new volumes (those published in 2015): (5+) Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert Putnam (Simon & Schuster) (5) How to Read the Bible by Harvey Cox (HarperOne) (4.5) The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade by Philip Jenkins (HarperOne) (4.5) Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving and Finding the Church  by Read More …

Review: Did God Kill Jesus?

Meet the Author I have quoted Tony Jones on this blog a few times (Proposed Inaugural Benedictions, The Future of Seminary Education, and Incarnational Christian) over the years.  Tony is is an ordained minister in the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches with a Ph.D. from Princeton Seminary (2011) best known for his role in helping launch what has become known as the emergent church movement.  Currently he serves as theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Read More …

April 2015 Book Recommendations

Over the last few weeks several pastors have told me that they have a growing list of things they plan to do after Easter, including catching up on their reading.  Whether or not you have slowed your reading pace during Lent, I encourage you to consider reading one or more of the following books.  As has been my custom for around a year, my ratings are given on a scale of 1 to 5. (5) One Nation Under Gods: A New American History by Peter Manseau (Little, Brown, and Company, Read More …

Top 10 Faith Enriching Books

Since launching this blog in 2009, I have reviewed over 150 books and recommended nearly 100 more.  Starting in 2010, I have published annual lists of my top books published each year (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014). Each year, I have concluded alphabetical top ten lists with the two books that had the greatest impact on my own faith journey during that year.  Together these ten volumes create a list of my Top 10 Recently Published Faith Enriching Books: Diana Butler Read More …

End of Year Book Recommendations

While I already posted my December book recommendations and my Top 10 Books of 2014, neither list includes a few books that I read in the waning days of 2014.  The best from that group follow (rated on a scale of 1-5). (5) Pray: Prayers for People Who Say They Can't by Donna Schaper (2014) (4.5) All Whom God Has Joined: Resources for Clergy & Same-Gender Loving Couples by Leanne McCall Tigert and Maren Tirabassi (2010) (4) Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Read More …

Top 10 Books of 2014

Since 2010, I have published an annual list of my top ten books published that year (each list contains a link to a book review for each book mentioned): 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.   My top ten books for 2014 (in alphabetical order by author’s last name) are   Marcus Borg Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most Walter Brueggemann Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now Amy-Jill Levine Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Read More …

December Book Recommedations

During the last month I managed to work through a good deal of what was left on my list of books I hoped to read by the end of the year.  Ratings (on a scale of 1 to 5) follow. (5+) Churchless: Understanding Today's Unchurched and How to Connect with Them by Barna Group with George Barna and David Kinnaman as editors (2014) (5) Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World by Eugene Cho (2014) (5) Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways Read More …

November Book Recommendations

This past month I had the pleasure of reading several good books, including (5) The Lost Way: How Two Forgotten Gospels Are Rewriting the Story of Christian Origins by Stephen J. Patterson (2014) (4.5) City of God: Faith in the Streets by Sara Miles (2014) (4.5) Forward Together: A Moral Message for the Nation by William J. Barber II (2014) (4) Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church by Scot McKnight (2014) (4) Pastors Sound Off: Causes We Can't Keep Read More …

October Book Recommendations

This month's list features a few well known authors alongside others worth getting to know.  All but the lowest rated book below are ones I heartily recommend to those engaged in lay and pastoral leadership roles in communities of faith focused on following the way of Jesus. (5+) Changing Faith: The Dynamics and Consequences of Americans' Shifting Religious Identities by Darren Sherkat (2014) (5) The Mainliner's Survival Guide to the Post-Denominational World by Derek Penwell Read More …