Thanks To Dewey & His Decimals: My Best Books

This weekend (and this morning) I got all nerdy and organized at the same time. I know. Multi-tasking. Who knew I was capable?

With a little help from Dewey and his decimals I got to see what I’ve spent so much of life learning about and what’s been ignored. Until I got all those books lined up by number I had no idea.

Fiction? I’ve got nothin’. Unless the Book Of Mormon counts.

Science? Only a stack of WIRED magazines.

So what is filling my bookshelf?

I know you’ve been asking yourself for what seems like eons now, “Hey, hair boy, what are the best books on your shelf?”

Well, I’ll tell you. And how they got there.

The Beatitudes:

I spent more than three years reading every book I could find on the beatitudes. Obsess much? Don’t mind if I do! Turns out I only kept 28 of them because, well, there are some really crappy books on the beatitudes out there (I want my money back, John McArthur). The best books I have on the beatitudes are:

The Kingdom Of God/Heaven:

The beatitudes begin and end with the phrase “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” One obsession led to another. The best stuff I’ve read on the “kingdom” is:

War & Peace:

There’s a pretty good consensus about the meaning of all the beatitudes except one: “Blessed are the peace makers…” American writers before World War I are more likely to have thought “peace making” was at least partly about avoiding war. After WWI in America the consensus changed dramatically. That made me wonder if theology shapes our lives as much as our lives shape our theology. Here’s the best stuff I own on the subject of “peace:”

Following Jesus (Discipleship)

The biggest criticism against Christian non-violence is that it’s just not practical. And it isn’t. But why do I think following Jesus is supposed to be practical? The best stuff I’ve read on following Jesus versus pragmatism is:

Poverty, Injustice & Mercy Showing

Poverty and God’s concern for the poor and marginalized is woven throughout scripture. I don’t know how I didn’t see it sooner than my thirties. Better late than never right? I eventually had to understand it and figure out what God wanted me to do about it, if anything. The best stuff I have on the subject is:

Intimacy With God

Ideally, there’s a lot of action in the Christian life. But, I’ve learned the hard way, there has to be dedicated times of stillness and focussed devotion too. And this focus and dedication has to somehow leak out of the dedicated times and flow underneath everything I’m doing and thinking and feeling all the time. Somehow. That’s not easy for me. My best teachers on the subject of intimacy have been older wiser Christians talking to me face to face. But these books have been helpful too:

Then I have some random favorites too that aren’t part of any group of books on my shelves.

Your turn: What’s the best stuff on your bookshelf?