Here I am stealing Aric’s stolen idea, but I liked it and thought it was interesting to see what made the cut. These are definitely not all overtly theological, but that’s just honesty. A lot of things that influence my theology don’t come from that field at all, and a lot of theology I’ve read doesn’t influence my theology at all. I didn’t number them because I didn’t want to get bogged down in trying to compare.
Japanese Death Poems by Yoel Hoffman
-a Zen master can say in seventeen syllables what most theologians can’t say in seventeen volumes
The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
-I led a little contemplative worship service around the Tao Te Ching once and I thought what came of it was pretty profound
Blessing the Boats by Lucille Cliffton
-one of the best poets alive, period
Cleansing the Doors of Perception by Huston Smith
-an entre into the chemistry of religious experience
The Bhagavad Gita
–also used in a contemplative service – its old school like the OT, yo
The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman
-he makes it seem effortless
J.B. by Archibald MacLeish
-a play in verse about Job, and MacLeish’s case for being an atheist. Precludes easy answers
God of the Oppressed by James H. Cone
-God is Black. Enough said
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
-not theology, you say? Wrong.
The Powers That Be by Walter Wink
-probably the most influential ‘real’ theologian in my life
The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
-for all those exclusivists out there
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
-at one point in my life, this book was a lifeline
Marked by Steve Ross
-a graphic novel of the Gospel of Mark that’s almost as good as the original
The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts
-Alan Watts is amazing, and became moreso over time. He died before he could complete this
Quantum Theology by Diarmiud O’Murchu
-quantum mechanics as a metaphor for theological reflection, anyone?
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
-LeGuin can go deeper than Gaiman, and in fewer words. This was my first encounter with her
A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr.
-I was told by one of my professors that every human being should read this once a year
Tales of Good and Evil, Help and Harm by Philip J. Hallie
-again, an antidote for easy answerism
–the Gospel of Siddharta Gautama, aka the Buddha
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Actually writing about how you construct theology out of all that is beyond the scope of this post.
(These may be subject to change as I reflect more – case in point, I realized I couldn’t leave out Huston Smith’s book)