2021 Book Round Up

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t’s time for a book roundup, of course. So no recipe blog backstory–just my list of favorite books from 2021. According to Goodreads, I (slightly) exceeded my goal of 42 books! (This doesn’t necessarily mean the book I list released in 2021–just that that’s when I read it.)

  1. A Church Called Tov, Scot McKnight and Laura Barringer.

What a book for its time. As we all drowned in the Ravi story, yet another story of power abused, I began to wonder–what is the answer to halting this cycle? It doesn’t do any good to remove these men (and sometimes women) from power. We need to figure out why it happens and, more importantly, why we allow and even create circumstances ripe for it to happen. Then I picked up this book immediately after asking those questions, and there it was. The answer I was saying someone needed to write. Isn’t it great when things happen like that? Must read for all church leaders.

2. Dear White Peacemakers, Osheta Moore

Moore pulls no punches yet manages to write with such love and understanding of white people who aren’t “there” yet. Her stance that everyone is beloved pulls readers into wanting to learn how to bridge those seeming unbridgeable divides. Hers is an incredibly accessible book for those looking for something to give a white person who needs a “beginners guide” to racial issues. A group study is also a great idea!

3. Jesus and John Wayne, Kristen Kobes DuMez

There’s been enough said about this one that I needn’t add much more. Suffice it to say it explains so very much of how we got where we are today in the church. Voted most likely to get thrown across the room several times before you finish it. For good reasons.

4. On the Spectrum, Daniel Bowman

My new son-in-law put this on his Christmas list and I bought it. I read the intro and was captivated by the professor’s beautiful writing. So, of course, I got myself a copy. The author makes a case for learning about people on the autism spectrum from those people first (nothing about us without us), and his writing makes the case for him. I learned so much and fell in love with the unique gifts, and challenges, that come with being on the spectrum. You simply can’t learn this from anyone who hasn’t experienced it themselves.

5. The Making of Biblical Womanhood, Beth Allison Barr

Is complementarianism/patriarchy historic Christianity? Dr. Barr has a surprise answer for us. We’re listening to the historians this year, and I am here for it. How else will we know how to navigate the future?

6. A Rhythm of Prayer, Sarah Bessey et al is an incredible devotional read. The power and beauty of these prayers is breathtaking.

7. 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager: Making the Most of Your Conversations and Connections, Kara Powell and Brad Griffin

As an expert on next-gen conversations, I loved this look into what teens really want to know from all of us. The amazing thing was how the 3 questions fell so neatly into the 3 big ideas I teach out of the creation story: We’re created to relate to our Creator, to live in community, and to work toward a purpose. Funny–it’s almost like the longings into our hearts are matched by the plans of God. Great practical book on talking with, listening to, and understanding younger generations.

And to round out a top ten of sorts, I’ll list my favorite 3 fiction books this year. I made it a goal to read ten classic novels I’d never read. These rose to the top for me, even though some were rough to read. The best novels are at times, and then after you put them down, you can’t stop pondering them.

  1. Beloved, Toni Morrison
  2. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
  3. North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Do you have suggestions for me for 2022? I already have a half dozen on board, but I’m always interested in suggestions!

(So many more that were very good books. Here’s the full list of what I read this year. I’d heartily recommend almost all of them.)