Mid-Year Top 10

As we head into summer, I thought I’d share with you the top ten books I’ve read so far in 2017:


10.  42 Faith, by Ed Henry- A unique biography that looks at the peculiar role Jackie Robinson’s faith (along with Branch Rickey, the man who signed him to the Brooklyn Dodgers) played in sustaining the first African American Major League baseball player. 

9. Sabbath as Resistance, Walter Brueggaemann- I’ve long loved his writings, but this short book on the importance of the Sabbath shows us how we can go to war with the consumer and capitalistic spirit of our western culture. 

8. Dream With Me, John Perkins- I had the privilege of endorsing this book, and when I got my advance copy I immediately went to the chapter chronicling the death of his son Spencer.  I’ve never heard “pops” (as I call Dr. Perkins) talk about this, and finally and painfully he does.  This is just a glimpse into the vulnerability of this work.

7. The Blood of Emmett Till- Timothy B. Tyson- It was the decision to have the open casket of this tortured teenager that sparked the Civil Rights Movement.  But it was the lie of the white woman that began the whole journey.  She now comes forward and confesses her deceit.  What a read.

6. Elmer Gantry, Sinclair Lewis- I’m indebted to the preaching faculty at Gordon Conwell for turning me onto this book.  It’s hard to believe this novel was released in the 1920s, because it’s tragically still relevant today.  Every preacher must read this as it outlines the spirit of professionalism that tempts us all.

5. The Fire This Time, Jesmyn Ward- Released on the fiftieth anniversary of James Baldwin’s work, The Fire Next Time, this collection of essays offers the best book on race I’ve read in the last five years.

4. The Crucifixion, Fleming Rutledge- Most comprehensive book on the cross I’ve ever read.  I will be returning to this book for the balance of my ministry.

3. Becoming Ms. Burton, Susan Burton- A painful true tale of an inner city woman who is sexually abused, beaten, becomes a prostitute and does several stints in jail, only to “break free” and become a vessel of hope in the age of mass incarceration.  This redemptive tale follows the likes of A Piece of Cake, and other such works. 

2. Lectures to My Students, Charles Spurgeon- Why am I just now reading this?  Phenomenal.

1. Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell- I read this when it first came out and then promptly got rid of it, along with 5,000 or so of my other books when we moved to NYC.  I missed this work so much I bought and read it again.