I don't know how many times through the years I have been asked variations of the same question: "What is your favorite book?" Or, "What books have had the most significant impact on your life?" It is a really tough question. One I've never had a really good answer for. So I decided to spend some time thinking about that. And since I've always felt like it was impossible to pick just one, I decided to give a top ten. And even that makes me sad about all the books I had to leave out. Nevertheless, here's what I came up with:
The Sacred Romance: They say timing is everything and this book came into my life when a deep shift in how I see and experience God was just beginning to happen. It certainly helped that shift in a major way.
The Road to Daybreak: Although this spot in the list should actually say "any book by Henri Nouwen," it is this one, early on, that impacted my life and journey the most.
A Testament of Devotion: At a time in when I was longing for more in my relationship with Jesus, this book was an incredible companion and guide. As soon as I read the first few pages I knew that this book was speaking with a voice I had been missing, and yearning for, all of my life.
Disciplines for the Inner Life: This book provided a rhythm and a structure to my time with God that significantly shaped and formed who I am today. I have used it over and over and over again through the years, and each time it is still fresh and new.
A Traveler Toward the Dawn: The journey of an ordinary man who had an extraordinary life with God. I can't tell you how many times I have read this book through the years, yet each time it has meet me right in the midst of wherever I found myself in my journey with Jesus.
Between the Dreaming and the Coming True: This book was the beginning of a dear and wonderful friendship, as well as another significant shift in the depth and quality of my life with God. It offered the addition of yet another significant voice in my life that would deeply impact my soul, as well as my practice. Like Nouwen, I would say that any book by Robert Benson could fit in this line, but since I read this one first it will always be near and dear to my heart.
The Book of Hours: Never has a poet spoken as clearly and deeply to my heart and soul as Rainer Maria Rilke. His work is both incredibly beautiful and wonderfully accessible.
The Chronicles of Narnia: How someone could be brilliant enough to write such imaginative stories that tell us the Deeper Story of our hearts and souls is simply beyond me. Every time I read them again they just do something magical in my heart and soul.
Everything Belongs: Richard Rohr's understanding of the dynamics of the spiritual life are uncanny. Every time I read this book it somehow finds a way to penetrate me even deeper.
The Pastor: If you have ever read Eugene Peterson, or heard him speak, you quickly realize that he "gets it." He has a wisdom and an understanding of the dynamics of spiritual life and ministry that could only have come through years and years of both doing ministry and being with Jesus. He is able to see through all of our well constructed arguments defending the busyness and hurry of our lives and is able to speak clearly and prophetically about our need to slow down, make space, and listen to the voice of our God. This is an important book for our day and our culture.