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Updated by Clint Schnekloth on May 16, 2014
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Gracious Books for Skeptical Inquirers

Christians who open space for authentic conversation often end up wishing they had some go-to resources to recommend to friends who are interested but skeptical, open yet doubting. These are great books that can help.

My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer

Eight years ago, Christian Wiman, a well-known poet and the editor of Poetry magazine, wrote a now-famous essay about having faith in the face of death. My Bright Abyss, composed in the difficult years since and completed in the wake of a bone marrow transplant, is a moving meditation on what a viable contemporary faith—responsive not only to modern thought and science but also to religious tradition—might look like.

Joyful, sorrowful, and beautifully written, My Bright Abyss is destined to become a spiritual classic, useful not only to believers but to anyone whose experience of life and art seems at times to overbrim its boundaries. How do we answer this “burn of being”? Wiman asks. What might it mean for our lives—and for our deaths—if we acknowledge the “insistent, persistent ghost” that some of us call God?

Reading the Bible Again For the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously But Not Literally: Marcus J. Borg: 97800606091...

Reading the Bible Again for the First Time is Marcus Borg's follow-up to Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. Like his earlier book, this one is written for lay people whose faith has been frustrated by their misapprehension that fundamentalism's claim to be the one true faith is valid.

Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion: Sara Miles: 9780345495792: Books

Where is it written that literary women must move to coastal California (if they don't already live there), become Episcopalians and write conversion memoirs? Miles, like recent memoirists Diana Butler Bass, Nora Gallagher and Lindsey Crittenden, loves Jesus and detests the religious right, though she is also critical of "the sappy, Jesus-and-cookies tone of mild-mannered liberal Christianity."

Christ of the Celts: The Healing of Creation

Diagnosing the human soul with a longing for peace in the face of fear and fragmentation nurtured by global political forces and fundamentalisms, Newell offers the ancient traditions of Celtic Christianity as a way forward in healing humankind and the earth.An international retreat leader who is the former warden of Scotland's Iona abbey, the author of Listening for the Heartbeat of God argues we discover unity as we become connected to one another and allow ourselves to be surprised by the Presence that is within creation and within the human soul.

Jesus Wants to Save Christians: Learning to Read a Dangerous Book: Rob Bell, Don Golden: 9780062125828: B...

"Bell and Golden deliver a tough message the American church needs to hear." (Christianity Today)"Bell is at the forefront of a rethinking of Christianity in America." (Time magazine)"One of the country's most influential evangelical pastors." (New York Times)"One of the nation's rock-star-popular young pastors."

What Christianity Is Not: An Exercise in Negative Theology

What really is Christianity? If all the religious packaging in which it is wrapped were removed, what would remain? These were Bonhoeffer's questions, and they must be ours today--even more urgently! For in many quarters Christianity is being so narrowly identified with some of its parts, cultural associations, and past ambitions that like all militant religion, it represents a threat to the planetary future.

We may no longer speak clearly of the essence of Christianity, as von Harnack and other nineteenth-century thinkers did; but perhaps we may still have a sufficiently shared sense of the kerygmatic core of this faith to be able, in the face of these misrepresentations of it, to say what Christianity is not.

The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible: Scot McKnight: 9780310331667: Books

Infused with common sense and seasoned with candor, the latest work from McKnight (The Jesus Creed), religious studies professor at North Park College, takes a stand in controversial territory by bravely asking the question: how is it that even Christians who claim to be led by an authoritative Bible read it so differently?

A Prayer Journal: Flannery O'Connor, W. A. Sessions: 9780374236915: Books

Those familiar with O'Connor's oeuvre know that her strong Roman Catholic faith informs all her work. This is one reason that her recently discovered prayer journal, penned while she attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1947 and 1948, is such a significant find.

We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation

This book offers everything you need to explore what a difference an honest, living, growing faith can make in our world today. It also puts tools in your hands to create a life-changing learning community in any home, restaurant, or other welcoming space.

Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today

"When I think about how many people have been turned off to the Christian faith because of how they mis-read and mis-understand the Bible, I can only say, 'Thank you Jesus for this book!' It's going to help a lot of people."