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25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Essential Spiritual Classics (A Renovare Resource) Paperback – September 13, 2011

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From the Back Cover

For more than twenty years Renovaré has pioneered the use of spiritual classics for deepening our lives of discipleship. Their highly praised compendiums Devotional Classics and Spiritual Classics have sold 500,000 copies. Now they have put together a prestigious editorial board and polled respected Christian leaders and thinkers from a variety of Christian traditions, including Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant, to present the twenty-five most spiritually influential and important books for Christians to read.

There are books that should be shaping the church, our faith, and our engagement in the world. From timeless classics like The Imitation of Christ to unexpected selections like Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, 25 Books Every Christian Should Read provides historical background for each work and explains its importance for modern Christians, while including selected readings from every book to get you started. In addition, each chapter ends with discussion questions to the work for use in small groups or for personal reflection. 25 Books Every Christian Should Read is a pivotal resource for the future of Christianity, an invitation into the fullness and richness of the Christian tradition.

About the Author

Renovaré (from the Latin meaning "to renew") is an intrachurch movement committed to the renewal of the church of Jesus Christ in all its multifaceted manifestations. Founded by bestselling author and well-known speaker Richard J. Foster, Renovaré is Christian in commitment, international in scope, and ecumenical in breadth.

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Product Details

  • Series: A Renovare Resource
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Original edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060841435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060841430
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (www.cac.org) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he also serves as Academic Dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation. Fr. Richard's teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy--practices of contemplation and lived kenosis (self-emptying), expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized.

Fr. Richard is author of numerous books, including Everything Belongs, Adam's Return, The Naked Now, Breathing Under Water, Falling Upward, Immortal Diamond, and Eager to Love.

He has been a featured essayist on NPR's "This I Believe," a guest of Mehmet Oz on the Oprah and Friends radio show, and a guest of Oprah Winfrey on Super Soul Sunday. Fr. Richard was one of several spiritual leaders featured in the 2006 documentary film ONE: The Movie and was included in Watkins' Spiritual 100 List for 2013. He has given presentations with spiritual leaders such as Rob Bell, Cynthia Bourgeault, Joan Chittister, Shane Claiborne, James Finley, Laurence Freeman, Thomas Keating, Ronald Rolheiser, Jim Wallis, and the Dalai Lama.

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Christianity is a treasure trove of wisdom. But, as the book of Proverbs tells us, wisdom must be sought. And, again as in the book of Proverbs, it is helpful when we are supplied with father and mother figures who would point us the way, who would instruct us in wisdom so that we might learn, develop, prosper, and grow. 25 Books Every Christian Should Read is a guide, compiled by wise and thoughtful Christian leaders, who seek to introduce us to those who have helped countless Christians be spiritually formed in the way of Jesus.

The structure of 25 Books is simple. After a word of introduction concerning methodology and the layout of each chapter, as well as a helpful, critical exposition concerning the logic of how and why each work is selected, 25 Books proceeds chronologically from Athanasius to Henri Nouwen, providing historical background for each work or its author, a justification for why that work is essential, guidelines for reading the selection, an excerpt, and discussion or reflection questions that can be used by individuals or small groups.

The selections that are included are all strong recommendations--I have read 12 of the 25 books from start to finish myself, and am familiar with the other 13 selections, having read parts or quotations from each in other works. The books also reflect a diversity across the Christian tradition. There are books compiled by Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox. There are theologians (Calvin) and philosophers (Pascal) and practitioners (Brother Lawrence). There is both story (Bunyan, Dostoevsky) and poetry (Dante, Gerard Manley Hopkins). There are men and women (Teresa of Avila, Julian or Norwich), though more men than women, not including the anonymous texts.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book reviews 25 important Christian books (according to the folks at Renovare') that will change your life. In the foreword Chris Webb asks, "Are there any definitive books every Christian should read, other than the Bible itself?" Then he goes on to answer that questions from the viewpoint of the staff at Renovare'. They feel that Christians need to be well read in their Bible, memorize scripture, study scripture and apply scripture. But they also feel that Christians need to be well read in the "Classics" of Christian thought as presented in the writings of wise saints, poets, thinkers and the early church fathers.

As such they have put this first book together to highlight what they feel are the 25 most important texts for us to read in conjunction with our Bible. The book will introduce you to each of the 25 books, their authors and give you a biography of that author and a synopsis of the book itself. They include excerpts from the books to whet your appetite for what you will find when you get your hands on the actual book.

Here is a sampling of the great Christian thinkers that they write about; St. Athanasius, St. Augustine, Thomas a Kempis, Brother Lawrence, G.K. Chesteron, etc. etc. This book lives up to one of the main claims in the introduction. It serves as a handbook to have beside you as you read the great works by these authors. It gives you good information and help in knowing what it is you are about to delve into.

One other point to make, the committee wants to make it perfectly clear that these books will change your life. BUT, they are not just easy reads. They are books that you must dig into, you must read and read again to catch the truths contain in them. They are scholarly works that demand attentive reading.
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Format: Paperback

`Pray constantly' (1 Thess. 5:17). The devout Russian peasant-author of The Way of a Pilgrim added: `These words made a deep impression on me, and I started thinking of how it could be possible to pray without ceasing when the practical necessities of life demand so much attention'.

But a busy American professor, Thomas Kelly (A Testament of Devotion) says it can be done: `I find that a life of little whispered words of adoration, of praise, of prayer, of worship can be breathed all through the day. One can have a very busy day, outwardly speaking, and yet be steadily in the holy Presence'.

Perhaps C S Lewis (Mere Christianity) offers the best summary of this paradox: `Christ sometimes describes the Christian way as very hard (taking up one's cross), sometimes as very easy ("my yoke is easy and my burden light").'

25 Books Every Christian Should Read provides some excellent wisdom about both `contemplation' and `action'. Actually there are three lists here:

(1) The main one, with a chapter devoted to each. The 25 authors of these spiritual classics consist of 20 DWM's (Dead White Males), two Dead White Females, two of unknown gender and `Various' [1]

(2) Embedded in each chapter is a list of the five-or-so choices of various well-known contemporary (American) authors.

(3) Then we have some good recommendations of the `Best Contemporary Authors' [2]

The spiritual classics missing from all three lists make for an interesting list in itself: Scottish scholar/preacher James Stewart gets one vote (A Man in Christ) but his contemporary English scholar/preacher W E Sangster doesn't rate a mention: which I've found is common on the American side of the Atlantic.
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